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Firing Ranges and Military Training Act to be amended

The Firing Ranges and Military Training Act No. 24 of 1951 is to be amended to allow the training of firearms and explosives to security personnel employed in private security agencies, State banks, government institutions, semi-governmental institutions, and to sea marshals deployed for protection of international merchant vessels.

President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Defence Minister, noted in the Cabinet paper submitted above that at present, the Firing Ranges and Military Training Act No. 24 of 1951 had no provisions to allow the use of firing ranges or firing training under the supervision of the Tri-Services or Civil Security Department for the aforementioned Sri Lankan security personnel.

Furthermore, under the regulation of private security Agencies Act No. 45 of 1998, “setting up of any private training institution for the provision of training with security with the issuance of proficiency certification is not permitted.”

However, apart from security personnel employed by licensed private security agencies, you also have employees of State banks, government institutions, and semi-government institutions who do not fall under Private Security Agencies Act No. 45 of 1998, but need to be given training.

The responsibility thus lies with the Defence Ministry, to provide the security personnel of private security agencies with the necessary training in the use of firearms and explosives belonging to the above categories.

Despite this responsibility, the above act imposes various legal impediments in granting approval for use of firing ranges for firing and training. The amendment of the Act therefore, would make it easier for the above security personnel to be legally trained under the supervision of the Defence Ministry.