Firearms Ordinance to be drastically amended

  • Revisions to fines, punishments, registration/obtaining/categories/ownership/use

The regulations in the Firearms Ordinance as amended are to be drastically revised to suit present times, The Morning learnt.

The Firearms Ordinance, No. 33 of 1916, was last amended by the Firearms (Amendment) Act, No. 22 of 1996.

Sources told The Morning that the Firearms Ordinance would undergo a number of amendments pertaining to several areas, so as to “update” the Ordinance to address requirements that have arisen in current times.

The areas to be revised deal with matters pertaining to fines, punishments, the methodology of registering and obtaining firearms, the categories of firearms, and amendments regarding the firearms held by the Tri-Forces, and those used for sporting events.

On 29 March 2021, the Cabinet approved the proposal submitted by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Minister of Defence to draft a Bill with all the relevant amendments.

The Morning learnt that discussions are currently underway with Attorney General Dappula de Livera and representatives of the Tri-Forces regarding this matter.

In 2017, the previous United National Front-led Government also decided to amend the Firearms Ordinance due to timely requirements. The official committee appointed in 2017 identified a number of areas that needed amendments, including the issuance of firearms for the protection of crops, and the formalisation of penalties.

In February this year (2021), Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage stated in Parliament that farmers with more than one acre of farmland will be issued licenses for firearms for the protection of crops.

The current Ordinance regulates areas such as the licensing of firearms, importation, sale, transfer, manufacture, repair and possession.