Editorial: Is it safe to own a gun?
The spate of armed robbery we are seeing in recent years, and its resultant brutal killing of victims, were alien to Ghanaian society in the 1960s and 70s. Those were the days when one could sleep leaving his or her door open without any fear of being attacked by armed robbers. But the story is not the same today, as one may be inviting trouble should he/she sleep and leave the door open.
This unfortunate development could be attributed to population explosion and the struggle to ends meet. The various military interventions in the country’s political history, which resulted in powerful weapons falling into wrong hands, can also not be discounted in the equation.
In an attempt to protect themselves and their properties from attacks by these robbers, some Ghanaians have acquired guns, which they are keeping safely in their homes.
Much as this is not a bad idea, The Chronicle does not think it is solution to the fear of armed robbery attacks. The solution, to us, at The Chronicle, lies in the hands of the police and the military.
If these state security agencies, especially the police, are not well equipped, the citizenry have every right to put pressure on the government of the day to do the needful – resource them to execute their constitutional mandate, instead of individuals owning guns to protect themselves. The Chronicle is making these suggestions because it appears to us that not all the people who have been licensed to own guns know how to handle the deadly weapon.
The fact that one has been licensed to own a gun makes the person believes that he or she is on top of the world and can misbehave anyhow. In the 1990s, a popular Ghanaian musician then, Nana Akwasi Agyeman, alias Geeman, shot and killed a taxi driver under the least provocation at Dome, a suburb of Accra, because he had access to a licensed gun. The young musician had to spend years of his productive life in prison until President Kufuor pardoned him at the tail end of his administration.
Just yesterday, the Daily Graphic reported that another young man and property owner, Victor Stephen Nana Kankam, had shot and killed his tenant over an disagreement in their tenancy agreement. The victim of his senseless act is said to be a musician and was named as Benjamin Okyere.
The Chronicle is not pre-determining the case, but should Kankam be found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, he is going to spend the rest of his life in captivity.
Like Geeman’s case, Kankam could have avoided this punishment if he had exercised a little bit of restraint, no matter the level of provocation. Again, if he did not own a gun, the landlord and his tenant could have properly resorted to an exchange of blows, which, in our view, would have been met with lesser punishment, should he be found guilty in court.
The two cases we have cited should serve as a deterrent to those who are contemplating owning a gun they cannot properly handle. If we are afraid of robbers, the best thing to do is to invest in modern gadgets that would enable you gain access to the police in record time, instead of resorting to owning a gun.
Of course, we are not against those who feel they have what it takes to own a gun in their homes. But we insist caution must be exercised in all cases.