Malawi and Guns

editor’s note: we have been unable to access WIFI for a few days, so we have some catching up to do on blog posts.  This will explain why our posts may not be in chronological order and may seem a couple of days behind the news.
by Steve Okonek
Gun violence is nearly nonexistent in Malawi.  Thus, the Dallas killings were a sad topic this morning, even among Malawians.  Gun violence is not among the major problems this African country faces, and the residents are clearly perplexed at the easy availability of firearms in the States. They are well aware of all the mass shootings in the U.S.  Our contingent eyes their smart phones even more than usual, and Bayana is particularly interested in the topic on our ride to Majete Park Reserve.  Guns are priced well beyond the means of the typical Malawi resident, he explains, and a person wanting to get one faces a long registration process.  Once a resident finally gets approved, a shotgun is all she can own.  After five years without incident, the shotgun owner can apply for a pistol.
But for the few who need to pack heat faster than this, Malawi’s Finest are your go-to-guys.  Last year saw several armed robberies, leading to several police being killed.  After long investigations, it was determined that the weapon used in the killings belonged to: the police!  (Sound familiar?)  Bayana suggests that much of this is due to the dismally low wages earned by law enforcement.  Why bother owning a gun when you can rent one from a cop looking to supplement his income?  Sadly, some of the rented weapons came from police who had already been dismissed from the force.

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