Point in Time
Act No: CAP. 114
Act Title: FIREARMS
[ Date of commencement: 1st January, 1954. ]
[ Date of assent: 11th November, 1953. ]
Arrangement of Sections
PART I – PRELIMINARY
1.
Short title

This Act may be cited as the Firearms Act.

PART II – REGULATIONS OF PURCHASE, POSSESSION, MANUFACTURER AND SALE OF FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION
5.
Grant, etc., of firearm certificates
(1)

An application for the grant of a firearm certificate shall be made in the prescribed form to the licensing officer, and shall state such particulars as may be required by that form.

(2)

The firearm certificate shall be granted by the licensing officer if he is satisfied that the applicant has a good reason for purchasing, acquiring or having in his possession the firearm or ammunition in respect of which the application is made, and can be permitted to have in his possession that firearm or ammunition without danger to the public safety or to the peace:

Provided that a firearm certificate shall not be granted to a person whom the licensing officer has reason to believe to be prohibited by or under this Act from possessing a firearm, or to be of intemperate habits or unsound mind, or to be for any reason unfitted to be entrusted with such a firearm, or who has not satisfied a licensing officer that he will at all times keep the firearm securely and in safe custody and in a safe condition and take all reasonable precautions to ensure that the firearm is not lost or stolen and is not at any time available to any person not lawfully entitled to possess the same.

(3)

A firearm certificate granted under this section shall be in the prescribed form, and shall specify the conditions (if any) subject to which it is held, the nature and number of firearms to which it relates and, as respects ammunition, the quantities authorized to be purchased and to be held at any one time thereunder.

(4)

A firearm certificate shall, unless previously revoked or cancelled, continue in force for one year from the date when it was granted or last renewed, but shall be renewable for a further period of one year by a licensing officer, and so on from time to time, and the foregoing provisions of this section shall apply to the renewal of a firearm certificate as they apply to the grant of a firearm certificate.

(5)

A licensing officer may at any time by notice in writing vary the conditions subject to which a firearm certificate is held, except such of them as may be prescribed, and may by the notice require the holder to deliver up the firearm certificate to him within fourteen days from the date of the notice for the purpose of amending the conditions specified therein.

(6)

A firearm certificate may also, on the application of the holder thereof, be varied from time to time by a licensing officer.

(7)

A firearm certificate may be revoked by a licensing officer if—

(a)

the licensing officer is satisfied that the holder is prohibited by or under this Act from possessing a firearm to which the firearm certificate relates, or is of intemperate habits or unsound mind, or is otherwise unfit to be entrusted with a firearm; or

(b)

the holder fails to comply with a notice under subsection (5) requiring him to deliver up the firearm certificate.

(8)

In any case where a firearm certificate is revoked by a licensing officer, he shall by notice in writing require the holder to surrender the firearm certificate, and if the holder fails to do so within fourteen days from the date of the notice he shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand shillings:

Provided that, where an appeal is brought against the revocation, this subsection shall not apply to that revocation unless the appeal is abandoned or dismissed, and shall in that case have effect as if for the reference to the date of the notice there were substituted a reference to the date on which the appeal was abandoned or dismissed.

(9)

If any person makes a statement which he knows to be false for the purpose of procuring, whether for himself or any other person, the grant of a firearm certificate under this section, or the variation or renewal of a firearm certificate he shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months or to a fine not exceeding two thousand shillings or to both.

[Act No. 4 of 1960, s. 4.]

7.
Exemptions from holding a firearm certificate
(1)

The following provisions of this section shall have effect notwithstanding anything in section 4 or section 6.

(2)

A police officer or other public officer may—

(a)

without a firearm certificate or temporary permit have in his possession and use a Government firearm or Government ammunition, if the firearm or ammunition is issued for the purposes of his duty as such officer except that immediately upon such officer ceasing to be a member of the police force or otherwise in the public service he shall forthwith deliver up any such firearm or ammunition as aforesaid to the proper officer of the Government;

(b)

with a firearm certificate but without payment of any fee in respect thereof have in his possession and use a firearm or ammunition lawfully purchased or otherwise acquired by him which is used by him for the purposes of his duty as such officer except that immediately upon such officer ceasing to be a member of the police force or otherwise in the public service the exemption from payment of any fee shall cease and the prescribed fee shall forthwith become payable in relation to such firearm or ammunition.

(3)

A person carrying on the business of a firearms dealer and registered as such under this Act, or an approved servant of that person, may, without holding a firearm certificate, purchase, acquire or have in his possession a firearm or ammunition in the ordinary course of that business.

(4)

A person carrying on the business of an auctioneer, an approved carrier or a bank licensed under section 4 of the Banking Act (Cap. 488), or an approved servant of that person, may, without holding a firearm certificate, have in his possession a firearm or ammunition in the ordinary course of that business.

(5)

A person may, without holding a firearm certificate, have in his possession a slaughtering instrument and ammunition therefor in any abattoir the operation of which is licensed or permitted by or under section 7 of the Kenya Meat Commission Act (Cap. 363), if employed in that abattoir.

(6)

The proprietor of an abattoir such as is referred to in subsection (5), or a person appointed by him to take charge of slaughtering instruments and ammunition therefor for the purpose of storing them in safe custody at that abattoir, may, without holding a firearm certificate, have in his possession a slaughtering instrument or ammunition therefor for that purpose.

(7)

Any person may, without holding a firearm certificate—

(a)

have in his possession a firearm or ammunition on board a ship, or a signalling apparatus or ammunition therefor on board an aircraft or at an aerodrome, as part of the equipment of the ship, aircraft or aerodrome; and

(b)

remove a signalling apparatus or ammunition therefor, being part of the equipment of an aircraft, from one aircraft to another at an aerodrome, or from or to an aircraft at an aerodrome to or from a place appointed for the storage thereof in safe custody at that aerodrome, and keep any such apparatus or ammunition at such a place; and

(c)

if he has obtained from a police officer of or above the rank of Assistant Superintendent or from a licensing officer a permit for the purpose in the prescribed form, remove a firearm from or to a ship, or a signalling apparatus from or to an aircraft or aerodrome, to or from such place and for such purpose as may be specified in the permit.

(8)

A person carrying a firearm or ammunition belonging to another person holding a firearm certificate relating thereto may, without himself holding a firearm certificate, have in his possession that firearm or ammunition under instructions from and for the use of that other person for sporting purposes only.

(9)

A member of a rifle club, miniature rifle club or cadet unit approved by the Minister under and for the purposes of subsection (2) of section 6, may, without holding a firearm certificate, have in his possession a firearm and ammunition therefor when engaged as a member in, or in connection with, drill or target practice.

(10)

Any person may, without holding a firearm certificate, use a miniature rifle not exceeding 0.22 calibre, and ammunition suitable therefor, at a miniature rifle range or shooting gallery.

(11)

Any person may, without holding a firearm certificate, have a firearm in his possession at an athletic or other sporting meeting for the purpose of starting races at that meeting.

(12)

(a)

A person who has obtained from a licensing officer a permit for the purpose in the prescribed form may, without holding a firearm certificate, have in his possession a firearm and ammunition therefor in accordance with the terms of the permit; but no such permit shall be issued in respect of, or be valid for, a period exceeding three months.

(b)

A permit under this subsection shall not be granted to any person in respect of any firearm or ammunition unless the licensing officer is satisfied that that person would, on application, be granted a firearm certificate in respect of the firearm or ammunition.

(c)

A permit under this subsection may at any time be revoked by a licensing officer if the licensing officer is satisfied that the holder would not, on application, be granted a firearm certificate in respect of the firearm or ammunition.

(13)

(a)

A person who has obtained from a licensing officer a permit for the purpose in the prescribed form may, without himself holding a firearm certificate, acquire otherwise than by way of gift, and have in his possession, in accordance with the terms of the permit, a firearm or ammunition which is of a class or description specified in the permit and which belongs to another person who holds a firearm certificate relating thereto.

(b)

A permit under this subsection shall not be granted in respect of, or be valid for, a period exceeding one year, but shall be renewable by a licensing officer for a further period not exceeding one year, and so on from time to time.

(c)

A permit under this subsection shall not be granted or renewed in respect of any class or description of firearms or ammunition unless the licensing officer is satisfied that the applicant or holder, as the case may be, can be permitted to have in his possession any firearm or ammunition of such class or description without danger to the public safety or to the peace, or if the licensing officer has reason to believe that the applicant or holder is prohibited by or under this Act from possessing a firearm, or is of intemperate habits of unsound mind, or is for any reason unfitted to be entrusted with any firearm of that class or description.

(d)

A permit under this subsection may be revoked by a licensing officer, either wholly or in respect of any class or description of firearms or ammunition to which it relates, if the licensing officer is satisfied that the holder would not, by reason of the provisions of paragraph (c), be granted, as at the date of revocation, a renewal of the permit, or, as the case may be, a renewal thereof in respect of that class or description of firearms or ammunition.

(14)

Where a licensing officer revokes a permit under subsection (12) or subsection (13), he shall by notice in writing require the holder of the permit to surrender it, and if the holder fails to surrender it within fourteen days from the date of the notice, he shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand shillings:

Provided that, where an appeal is brought against the revocation, this subsection shall not apply to that revocation unless the appeal is abandoned or dismissed, and shall in that case have effect as if for the reference to the date of the notice there were substituted a reference to the date on which the appeal was abandoned or dismissed.

(15)

If any person makes any statement which he knows to be false for the purpose of procuring, whether for himself or any other person, the grant or renewal of a permit under this section, he shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding two thousand shillings or to both.

[Act No. 4 of 1960, ss. 5 and 21, Act No. 8 of 1988, s. 5.]

8.
Power to refuse firearm certificate or permit unless firearm or ammunition produced
(1)

Notwithstanding anything contained in any of the foregoing sections of this Act, a licensing officer may refuse to grant, renew or vary a firearm certificate, or to grant a permit under subsection (12) of section 7, unless and until any firearm to which the firearm certificate or permit will, if granted, renewed or varied, relate is produced to him for his inspection and for marking, if necessary, in accordance with the requirements of subsection (2) of this section.

(2)

No firearm certificate, and no permit under subsection (12) of section 7, shall be granted, or, as the case may be, varied or renewed, in respect of a firearm unless the firearm bears a mark or number of identification or is first marked with such a mark or number by, or under and in accordance with the directions of, the licensing officer.

19.
Powers of court in case of offences by registered firearms dealers

Where a registered firearms dealer is convicted of an offence under this Act, or under any law for the time being in force in Kenya relating to customs in respect of the import or export of firearms or ammunition, the court may order—

(a)

that the name of the registered firearms dealer be removed from the register; and

(b)

that neither the dealer nor any person who acquires the business of that dealer, nor any person who took part in the management of the business and was knowingly a party to the offence, shall be registered as a firearms dealer; and

(c)

that any person who, after the date of the order knowingly employs in the management or conduct of his business the dealer convicted of the offence or any person who was knowingly a party to the offence shall not be registered as a firearms dealer or, if so registered, shall be liable to be removed from the register; and

(d)

that any stock in hand of the business shall be disposed of by sale or otherwise in accordance with such directions as may be contained in the order:

Provided that a person aggrieved by an order made under this section may appeal against the order in the same manner as against the conviction, and the Court may suspend the operation of the order pending the appeal.

23.
Appeals under this Part
(1)

Any person aggrieved by a refusal of a licensing officer to grant him a firearm certificate under section 5 or to vary or renew a firearm certificate, or by the revocation of a firearm certificate, or by a refusal of a licensing officer to grant him a permit under subsection (12) of section 7, or by the revocation of such a permit, or by a refusal of a licensing officer to grant him a permit under subsection (13) of section 7 or to renew such a permit, or by the revocation of such a permit, or by the refusal of a licensing officer to register him as a firearms dealer, or by the removal of his name from the register of firearms dealers by a licensing officer, or by the refusal of a licensing officer to enter a place of business in the register of firearms dealers under section 15 or by the removal of any such place of business from the register, may appeal to the Minister, whose decision shall be final.

(2)

An appeal under this section shall be lodged within fourteen days after the date on which the appellant first received notice, whether written or oral, of the decision by which he is aggrieved.

(3)

On an appeal under this section, the Minister may either dismiss the appeal or give such directions as he may think fit to the licensing officer from whose decision the appeal has been lodged, as respects the firearm certificate, permit or register which is the subject of the appeal.

[G.N. 1602/1955, L.N. 173/1960.]

24.
Application of this Part

This Part applies to all firearms and ammunition as defined in section 2 and to all other weapons which are capable of being converted into, or to have the appearance of, lethal weapons, or which can be used or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other substance, or any missile, projectile or other similar thing but does not apply to any other weapon which is not of a type declared by the Minister, by notice in the Gazette, to be specially or potentially dangerous.

[Act No. 4 of 1960, s. 14, Act No. 8 of 1988, s. 6.]

25.
Saving for game laws

Nothing in this Part shall relieve any person using or carrying a firearm from the obligation to take out a licence to kill game under any law for the time being in force relating to such licences.

PART III – MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS AS TO FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION
30.
Firearms and ammunition in transit through Kenya

Notwithstanding anything in this Act, a licensing officer may grant with or without conditions, refuse, suspend or revoke transit permits for the importation or exportation, or the removal within or transportation across Kenya, of any firearms or ammunition in transit through Kenya to any place outside Kenya, and the importation, exportation, removal, transportation and possession of any such arms or ammunition under and in accordance with the terms of any such transit permit shall be lawful and shall not constitute an offence under this Act.

31.
Restrictions on carriage by vessels
(1)

Subject to subsection (2), no person shall ship or off-load any firearms or ammunition in or from a vessel of less than five hundred tons burden.

(2)

The provisions of this section shall not apply—

(a)

to lighters or barges lawfully engaged in loading or unloading ships;

(b)

to firearms or ammunition conveyed on behalf of the Government and accompanied by an officer of the Government;

(c)

to a firearm or ammunition in the possession of a person holding a firearm certificate in respect thereof or entitled by virtue of this Act to have the firearm or ammunition in his possession without holding a firearm certificate, where the firearm or ammunition is for the personal use of the person in possession thereof.

(3)

For the purposes of this section, “vessel” means a vessel either—

(i) owned by; or
(ii) fitted out by; or
(iii) of which more than half the crew are,

of any country bordering on the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Arabian Gulf or the Gulf of Oman.

35.
Appeals under this Part
(1)

Any person who is aggrieved by the refusal of an authorized officer to issue to him an import permit or export permit under section 27, or by the revocation of any such permit, or by the refusal of a licensing officer to issue to him a removal permit under section 29, or by the revocation of any such permit, or by the refusal of a licensing officer to grant him a transit permit under section 30, or by the imposition of any condition attached to any such permit, or by the suspension or revocation of any such permit, may appeal to the Minister, whose decision shall be final.

(2)

The provisions of subsections (2) and (3) of section 23 shall apply mutatis mutandis to appeals under this section.

[G.N. 1602/1955, L.N. 173/1960.]

PART IV – GENERAL
37.
Search warrants and disposal of firearms and ammunition seized
(1)

A court, if satisfied by information on oath that there is reasonable ground for suspecting that an offence under this Act has been, is being or is about to be committed, may grant a search warrant authorizing a police officer or other person therein named—

(a)

to enter at any time any premises or place named in the warrant, if necessary by force, and to search the premises or place and every person found therein; and

(b)

to seize and detain any firearm or ammunition which he may find on the premises or place, or on any such person, in respect of which or in connection with which he has reasonable ground for suspecting that an offence under this Act has been, is being or is about to be committed; and

(c)

if the premises are those of a registered firearms dealer, to examine any books relating to the business.

(2)

A court may, on the application of a police officer, customs officer or licensing officer, order any firearm or ammunition seized and detained under this Act to be destroyed or otherwise disposed of.

[Act No. 4 of 1960, s. 19, Act No. 7 of 1963, s. 2.]

38.
Disposal of firearms, etc.
(1)

Where any firearm or ammunition has been held for a period exceeding three months in a firearms store maintained by the Kenya Police Force, the Commissioner of Police may order the destruction or other disposal of that firearm or ammunition together with any case, holster, strap, lanyard, cleaning equipment, spare part or other accessory packed, carried or stored with the firearm or ammunition.

(2)

Before destruction or disposal under subsection (1) the Commissioner of Police shall take such steps as he deems possible and appropriate to give notice to the owner of the firearm or ammunition (if known) of his intention so to act, and subject thereto shall allow the owner a period of not less than two months within which to make arrangements to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Police for the disposal of the firearm or ammunition.

(3)

In the event of a firearm or ammunition being sold by the Commissioner of Police or any person or body on his behalf, the proceeds of the sale, after deduction of the expenses of and incidental to the sale, shall be paid over to the owner or, if the owner cannot by the exercise of reasonable diligence be traced, shall be held on deposit for a period of three months and shall then be paid into the Consolidated Fund.

(4)

Where the firearm or ammunition has been sold in bulk together with other firearms or ammunition in circumstances which prevent the actual proceeds and expenses from being separately identified, the proportions of the bulk proceeds and expenses attributable to the owner shall be assessed and determined by or under the directions of the Commissioner of Police.

(5)

No compensation shall be payable to any person in respect of any act or omission done or made in good faith under this section.

39.
Appeals in connection with disposal of firearms, etc.
(1)

Any owner aggrieved by any act or omission done or made under section 38 may, within fourteen days of the receipt of notice, whether written or oral, of the act or omission or, in the absence of notice, within thirty days of the act or omission, appeal to the Minister, whose decision thereon shall be final.

(2)

On an appeal under this section, the Minister may either dismiss the appeal or give such directions as he may think fit to the Commissioner of Police as to the destruction, disposal, sale or retention of the firearm or ammunition which is the subject of the appeal.

40.
Power to inspect premises

A police officer may at all reasonable times enter upon any premises with a view to ascertaining whether or not the provisions of this Act or of any rules made thereunder are being complied with, and may inspect the premises and any firearm or ammunition, book, account, register, document or thing found therein, and may require any person appearing to be in control thereof or employed therein to give such information as such police officer may require in order to ascertain whether or not the provisions of this Act or of any rules made thereunder are being complied with.

42.
Arrest without warrant

A police officer may arrest without warrant any person whom he suspects on reasonable grounds of having committed an offence under this Act.

43.
Jurisdiction

A magistrate holding a subordinate court of the first class shall have power to try any offence under this Act, other than an offence under subsection (1) of section 34 and to award any punishment provided therefor.

44.
Service of documents, notices, etc.

Except where otherwise expressly provided by this Act, any demand or notice required or authorized by this Act to be made of or given to any person shall be served either—

(a)

by delivering it to the person to whom it is addressed; or

(b)

by sending it by registered post addressed to that person at his last known postal address; or

(c)

in the case of a registered firearms dealer, by delivering it to him at any place of business in respect of which he is registered or by sending it by registered post addressed to him at his last known postal address.

[Act No. 4 of 1960, s. 20.]

45.
Power to make rules

The Minister may make rules—

(a)

prescribing the form of a firearm certificate, and of any register required to be kept under this Act, and of any other permit or document under this Act;

(b)

prescribing the fees to be paid for anything done, or any permit, document or authorisation issued or granted, under this Act;

(c)

prescribing any other thing which under this Act is to be prescribed;

(d)

providing for the establishment and maintenance of a central registry of firearms and ammunition;

(e)

regulating the manner in which licensing officers and other officers are to carry out their duties under this Act;

(f)

enabling all or any of the functions of a licensing officer to be discharged by deputy in the event of the illness or absence, or a vacancy in the office, of a licensing officer;

(g)

generally for carrying this Act into effect.

[G.N. 1602/1955, L.N. 173/1960.]

46.
Savings
(1)

The provisions of each Part of this Act shall be in addition to and not in derogation of the provisions of any other Part of this Act or of any other law for the time being in force relating to the manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, acquisition, possession, use, storage, carriage, transportation, importation or exportation of firearms, ammunition or explosives.

(2)

Nothing in this Act relating to firearms shall apply to an antique firearm which is sold, transferred, purchased, acquired, imported, exported, transported or possessed as a curiosity or ornament.

(3)

Notwithstanding any rule of law whereunder the provisions of this Act do not bind the Government, the provisions of section 16, subsections (3) and (4) of section 18, section 33 and section 34 shall apply to persons in the service of the Government in their capacity and in the course of their duty as such.