Filipino shootout at PNG supermarket sparks demand for firearms ban

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Police have charged a man with murder after the death of his security officer colleague in a shootout. Both men were Filipinos and investigators are working closely with the Philippines Embassy in Port Moresby. Video: EMTV News

By Michael Arnold in Port Moresby

A shootout in a supermarket in the Papua New Guinean capital of Port Moresby last Thursday has sparked a nationwide debate on gun control and calls for civilians to be banned from carrying firearms.

The shooting, which happened in Moresby Northeast, resulted in two gunmen firing off 15 rounds in the crowded Boroko Foodworld supermarket, leaving one man dead and two children injured after being caught in the crossfire.

However, both EMTV News and Loop PNG website reported three people had been wounded, including two boys.

Reports from the Pacific International Hospital (PIH) said one young boy was being treated for grazes to his leg and his back.

Doctors also confirmed that apart from the flesh wounds the boy also suffered psychological trauma after the shooting.

-Partners-

He is currently in a stable condition but is being kept under observation at the hospital.

PIH representatives also said the hospital had admitted a high frequency of gunshot cases over past years.

Reckless firarms use
Thursday’s incident has been yet another demonstration of the reckless use of firearms by people in public spaces.

The current moratorium on gun licences is already in place, and there has also been a call for a total ban on private firearm ownership.

The issue of gun control has been high on the government agenda over the past week, with several parliamentarians having already called for improved gun licensing processes and the imposition of heavier penalties for illegal possession of firearms.

Earlier in the day last Thursday, Police Minister Jelta Wong told Parliament he believed the government must totally eradicate illegal weapons.

Presenting his ministerial statement on the status of gun-related issues, he said the report pushed for a total ban on licences as well as illegal guns.

Established by a parliamentary committee headed by former member of Goroka Bire Kimisopa, the report on guns control proposed banning guns and increasing penalties for offenders.

Wong signed a moratorium on October 4 last year, banning the purchase and issuing of new gun permits to citizens.

MPs were able to debate the issue, with many suggesting changes should be made for more assistance on the education of youths, allowing them to change for the better.

Michael Arnold is a PNG Post-Courier reporter.

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