Private gun ownership in Kenya outpaces police and military

The government of Kenya is encouraging unlicensed gun owners to turn in their weapons, but previous efforts have failed because guns have become a way of life.

A new small arms survey has estimated that there are 750,000 pistols and rifles in private hands in Kenya, more than the police and military combined. Experts say the sheer volume of guns is a national security concern.

The government has announced a 90-day moratorium on prosecuting illegal gun owners, hoping to encourage Kenyans to turn in their firearms.

But whether in the slums of Nairobi or in rural areas where government presence and security forces are lacking, many Kenyans might not welcome the weapons, but feel they are necessary as a way to defend themselves because no one else will.

Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi reports from Nairobi.