The terror at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, where Islamic militants killed 67 defenseless people is over, Reuters reported early this afternoon. Emerging as a surprise hero is a former British Marine who, armed with a handgun, rescued 100 terrorized shoppers, returning dozens of times into the mall, according to Mail Online.
How he came to be armed is open for question, and his continued anonymity “for security reasons” leads to fair speculation that he is an operative for the British government working with the military and the Kenyans “in tracking UK citizens involved with hardline Islamists in Somalia and Yemen.”
In any case, the hapless victims had no similar response options, as Kenyan law effectively assured the “al Shabaab militants” a guaranteed unarmed victim pool. That's because Kenya provides a veritable wish list of what so-called “gun safety” groups, masking their ultimate goal of a total ban on private ownership of firearms, represent as “common sense gun laws.”
Per GunPolicy.org, a project of the Sydney School of Public Health that “promotes the public health model of firearm injury prevention, as adopted by the United Nations Programme of Action on illicit small arms”:
The regulation of guns in Kenya is categorised as restrictive.
“In Kenya, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law,” the entry advises.
“[C]ivilians are not allowed to possess automatic and semi-automatic self-loading military assault rifles,” it continues. And while “private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence … Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Kenya are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm…”
That means mandatory background checks “which consider criminal, mental, and domestic violence records.” And the license, which specifies all firearms permitted for possession, as well as allowed quantities of ammunition, is only good for one year.
Naturally, that means “the law requires that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register.” Also required are “written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners.”
Of significance to any "law-abiding" mall shoppers who may own guns in compliance with all the restrictions, “In Kenya, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited [and] carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited.”
Add to all this lengthy criminal sentences for illegal gun possession, and Kenya seems a place where even Michael Bloomberg could happily live, that is, assuming his bodyguards were exempt from all the restrictions, and there was an understanding by all that the existing edicts against mere citizens were just “a good first step.”
That none of those stopped the terrorists, but instead actually guaranteed them the body count and media attention they craved, is not something those calling for similar mandatory “safety” measures in the U.S. are apt to volunteer.
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