3. Registration as "Citizen Control"

3.6 Uganda

Like most African countries, Uganda was an artificial nineteeth century creation of the great powers (in this case, Britain) which carved up the continent in their own economic and political interests without regard for the indigenous peoples. As a result, Uganda was home to a combination of religious and ethinic minorities who continually battled one another for control of the government (Simkin, et al., 1994, pp.269-270).

In 1956, the British colonial government introduced a comprehensive system of firearm controls, the main thrust of the legislation being to allow ownership only to those persons acceptable to the government (Simkin, et al., 1994, p.271).

When Uganda achieved independance on 9 October, 1962, religious and ethnic tensions erupted into political instability and violence which eventually resulted in the introduction of the Firearms Act of 1970 (Simkin, et al., 1994, p.274). This legislation made legal ownership of firearms more difficult than the 1956 legislation through an expanded system of firearm registration and prohibitive licensing. It also banned a wide range of firearms. Civilian ownership of firearms, already low in Uganda, appears to have been virtually eliminated (Simkin, et al., 1994, pp.285-289).

On 21 January, 1971, Idi Amin, Major-General of the Ugandan Army, seized power in a coup d'etat (Simkin, et al., 1994, p.277).

Amin never introduced his own gun controls. He never needed to. Until forced from power by the Tanzanian army in 1979, Amin retained power through a campaign of terrorism directed at the unarmed civiliam population 13 .