7 Sep 2004

Gun ownership questions linger in Solomon Islands

3:47 pm on 7 September 2004

There is concern in Solomon Islands about whether gun holders still have valid licenses.

Some licensed gun holders want to know when they'll be compensated by the government and National Peace Council for guns that were taken by authorities.

Many of the guns were family treasures, and legally owned in rural areas, but were surrendered on the understanding there would be compensation.

Our correspondent, Dorothy Wickham, says the former policeman who issued gun licenses was arrested for corruption shortly after the Regional Assistance Mission arrived.

She says according to police there are no legally held firearms.

"It's very confusing at the moment, because the commercial firearm holders are saying 'but we have licenses, but the police are saying 'but they weren't done right so they were illegally issued to you, so they are not valid."

Dorothy Wickham says according to RAMSI there is no compensation for guns that were collected during the amnesty.