Hornbill Unleashed

November 23, 2013

More guns to fight gun crimes?

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

Nathaniel Tan

Should we arm more law enforcement officers in Malaysia with guns?

This article discusses some of the problems with this idea, and the secrecy surrounding the Inspector-General’s Standing Orders (IGSO) on the use of firearms. It draws upon some lessons learnt from the death of D Dinesh, who was shot and killed by the police on Aug 21, 2012. The second and third days of his inquest were held last week.

The question of arming religious enforcement officers began with the tragic death of Ahmad Rafli Abdul Malek, who was shot by an unknown assailant who simply turned up at Rafli’s house one afternoon.

NONEThis was a heinous crime, the perpetrators of which should be hunted down and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the knee-jerk reaction of our ever brilliant home minister was to say we should provide religious enforcement officers with firearms, for their protection.

With no disrespect to his family at all, I’m entirely doubtful that the possession of a firearm would have saved Rafli’s life. This view is informed not by ideology but mere observation of the facts.

A man turned up at Rafli’s house, saying he wanted to deliver a letter. When Rafli stepped out in response to this innocuous request, another men stepped out of his car and shot Rafli three times, hitting him twice in the chest.

God knows we all wish this scenario could have been avoided; but how would the possession of a firearm have helped Rafli in any way?

More guns = more gun crimes

Adding weapons will escalate, rather than prevent, conflicts. The burgeoning number of conflicts in Africa during the 90s was sometimes described as due to the fact that bullets were often cheaper than rice in many of the African countries.

Meanwhile, superpowers love to talk about developing nuclear ‘deterrents’, where in fact every new nuclear weapon that is created merely increases the odds that, somewhere down the road, a tragic mishap will result in immeasurable loss of life.

The situation regarding guns in Malaysia is similar.

Where we should be moving in the direction of countries like the UK, where the police seldom carry guns, we seem to want to head in the direction of the US, which probably has the highest incidence of citizens going on shooting rampages.

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the US has the highest amount of guns per capita in the world.

Faced with these obvious facts, why are we looking at adding more firearms into our national equation?

Perhaps, there might be a tiniest bit of logic to increasing the number of firearms if we could, for example, confidently say that all the firearms given to law enforcement officers will always remain in their possession.


As it is, we can’t even say that. As many as 44 firearms were reported lost by the police alone, with our very own IGP making the shockingly implausible statement that some of these guns “fell into the sea”.

Can we say with absolute certainty that the gun that shot Rafli was not one of these missing 44 firearms?

If the police force, an institution that has been trained on the use of firearms for years and decades can lose their weapons in such numbers, what will happen when enforcement agencies without that kind of training are all given weapons?

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