Dept seeks feedback on gun ownership changes

Dept seeks feedback on gun ownership changes

The Department of Provincial Administration (DoPA) is sounding out the public on a bill seeking to absolve people in possession of illegal firearms as long as they register with officials.

In a letter signed by the director-general, Manrat Rattanasukon, provincial governors are to seek feedback on the bill, which would require those who possess illegal weapons and cartridges to have them registered with the nearest military unit without facing punishment.

The change was proposed following the child day care centre massacre in Nong Bua Lam Phu on Oct 6, which claimed 37 lives, 23 of them small children, and injured at least 10 more. The gunman, a former police officer, also killed his wife and her three-year-old son before taking his own life.

In the aftermath of the mass killing, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed to step up gun control laws and adopt stricter measures in issuing and renewing licences.

According to the DoPA, the registrar will make a record of the firearms and cartridges brought in and issue them with registration numbers, necessary for proceeding to the next step which is for the owners to apply for a licence to possess, carry or use them.

The registrar would run a check on the history of the firearms which may have been used in a crime.

The department has instructed provincial offices nationwide to notify state officials and the public about hearings in their respective areas.