How to Legally Own a Gun in Kenya

  • Several guns laid on a table
    Several guns laid on a table.
  • This will be a complete guide on how to legally own a firearm in Kenya and the various penalties associated if found in possession of an illegally acquired firearm.

    On August 21, 28-year-old Kevin Omwenga was shot dead at Galana Suites in Kilimani. According to investigative reports, a mini Ceska firearm was used in the fatal shooting.

    The suspected murder adds to a list of gun-related crime in the country with a report carried out in 2018, revealing that an estimated 750,000 pistols and rifles are in private hands.

    Speaking to, the National Gun Owners Association (NGOA) Vice Chair Sam Onyango, explained in detail, the process one undertakes to own a gun in Kenya.

    A file image of gun and bullets
    A file image of gun and bullets

    Process of Owning a Firearm in Kenya

    Anyone looking to own a gun is mandated to go through a laid out process as per the Firearms Act.

    The first step is to report to the nearest police station to your area of residence and submit a formal request to own a gun to the Officer Commanding Station (OCS)

    You will then be furnished with a form to fill. The form will also indicate the various documents that are mandatory for any gun owner.

    This documents are listed as;

    • A letter detailing why an individual is looking to own a gun.
    • A letter form a psychiatrist confirming that one is of sound mind.
    • A police clearance certificate also known as the certificate of good conduct.
    • Certified bank statement to ascertain that one has a steady source of income.
    • Clearance letter from the police station closest to your residence - the letter should be stamped.
    • 4 Passport photos.
    • A copy of the National ID or Passport
    • Incase the applicant has had any incident or run in with any sort of criminals, he/she is required to provide the OB numbers for any filed cases.

    The applicant will then be directed to wait for the next interview.

    A man carrying a gun.
    A man carrying a gun.

    According to Onyango, the internal vetting process usually takes an estimated 3 months, depending on the workload at the licensing board.

    The applicant, under normal circumstances is then called for a final interview before being directed to pay Ksh5,000 for the official certificate. (It used to cost Ksh2,000 but was reviewed to the new amount).

    It is important to note that under the Firearms Act, a licensing officer may at any time by notice in writing vary the conditions subject to which a firearm certificate is held

    Interior CS Fred Matiang'i on January 15, suspended the issuing of licences to firearm dealers in the country, in a crackdown on illegal firearm dealers.

    His campaign to vet gun owners afresh led to the destruction of 8,628 illegal firearms and 370,000 ammunitions.

    The CS had directed that all private firearm owners register themselves again.

    At least 4,000 civilian firearm holders were declared armed and dangerous following the expiry of the ultimatum.

    The operation further saw the Ministry introduce biometric cards for the gun holders in an effort to curb crimes that involve the use of weapons.

    The card with a microchip would have a gun holder’s details, Matiang'i explained.

    Kenyan civilians had acquired 70,000 guns for personal use by June 2018, Geneva-based Small Arms Survey says. 

    Interior CS Fred Matiang'i addressing the press after a meeting with Governors on Thursday, February 20, 2020.
    Interior CS Fred Matiang'i addressing the press after a meeting with Governors on Thursday, February 20, 2020.
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