In a significant move towards addressing the rising concern of gun-related incidents in Ghana, the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (NACSA) on 17th May 2024 paid a courtesy call to the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Ghana (UG). This meeting brought together some staff of the Commission as well as the Dean Prof. Rosina Kyeremanten and Vice Dean Dr. Wiafe-Akenten Charles Brenya to discuss the pressing issue of gun-violence, and strategize on collaborative efforts to mitigate the threats posed by the proliferation of small arms in the country.

At the heart of the discussion was a deep dive into the psychology behind gun use. The NACSA delegation demonstrated that while regulatory frameworks and small arms control efforts are fundamental measures to addressing gun-violence, the importance of advocating for behavioral and attitudinal changes with regards to firearm usage   cannot be overemphasized.

Dr. Wiafe-Akenten Charles Brenya, drawing on his expertise as a psychologist, appreciated the complexity in addressing gun violence due to the difficulty in changing entrenched beliefs and behaviours. He highlighted how the possession of weapons can dangerously inflate a false sense of power in individuals. Prof. Rosina Kyeremanten further acknowledged the urgency of sensitisation efforts, noting that while widespread conflicts seen in other African countries may seem distant to many, including students, it is crucial to educate them now to preserve the peace we currently enjoy.

In addition to expressing their support for the Commission’s advocacy and awareness efforts, which aim to minimize gun violence and promote peace and security, the Dean and Vice Dean also indicated their willingness explore potential areas of collaboration between the University and the Commission.

The collaboration between NACSA and universities such as the esteemed University of Ghana aims to harness the potential of such institutions as catalysts for social change. By leveraging the academic community’s influence, the partnership seeks to instigate a paradigm shift in how students and members of the university perceive and engage with weapons and its associated violence.

The National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (NACSA) in acknowledging that the issue of security is a collective responsibility remains committed to engaging and collaborating with key stakeholders across society to curb the illicit proliferation of small arms in the country.