Shoot Out

State officials and peace brokers search for fresh avenues to drive through a lasting peace settlement with the separatist Tamil rebel faction holding on to most of the North and East of the island. rn

rnAs another day ends without significant progress with the peace process, Sri Lanka prepares for another battle endash the fight to prevent the misuse of the now silent firearms.rn

rnOn Wednesday, the Cabinet of Ministers consented to set up a National Arms Commission, an autonomous state agency to curb the countrys still infant gun culture. rn

rnThe commission will control firearms and other small arms use and possibly the local weapons trade and late night shootouts in nightclubs and other entertainment centres.rn

rnOther concerns the commission hopes to bump off, is the estimated 51,000 deserters (source: Sri Lanka Army Online, 2003) from the Sri Lankan armed forces and the many thousands from the LTTE, who have either acquired weapons after deserting or left their posts with their firearms.rn<

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