Loyalist victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer has been told he is ineligible to carry a gun to protect himself.
The Markethill man, who survived a kidnap attempt by republicans in south Armagh in March, has been trying to get a firearms certificate for a year but was finally told on Thursday that he won't be allowed to carry a gun.
The 49-year-old says the decision puts his life in greater danger given the recent upsurge in dissident republican activity in south Armagh, where he lives.
“There’s no chance of the PSNI coming to help me if I am attacked, they can’t even back up their own officers as we saw in Meigh last Friday, so I have been denied the only means of defending myself by the Chief Constable”, he said.
Frazer had been hoping to buy a pistol to carry with him as he visited families and terror victims for the charity Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR).
He’s been told he is on a dissident republican hit-list because of his campaign to highlight the continuing criminality of Provos and ex-members of the terrorist organisation.
“When you learn that IRA men have been able to buy bolt-action rifles supposedly to control vermin and the bodyguards of Adams and McGuinness are allowed to carry pistols to protect them it shows people what the agenda is here, when someone who is under threat from their pals is told he can’t protect himself”, the victims’ campaigner said.
Mr Frazer said that had he driven into Meigh last Friday night, he would have suffered the same fate as the police patrols which were forced to withdraw from the area.
“Meigh is one of the busiest through roads in that area and I know what would have happened to me if I had driven into that terrorist roadblock.
“I’d have been abducted with no means to protect myself.
“What we have here now is a ‘no-go’ area in Meigh, Dromintee, Jonesboro and Crossmaglen and ordinary people aren’t safe to |travel those roads.
“The PSNI doesn’t have back-up available and can’t even support their own men, so what chance is there of a motorist being helped if he is abducted? Not much.
“What the PSNI is saying to me is we can’t offer you any protection and we won’t let you get a gun to look after yourself.
“I think this proves that there is a personal vendetta against me by those in authority”, he claimed.
The PSNI said that under the Firearms Act 2004 the Chief Constable has to be satisfied that an applicant has to have good reason for possession of a firearm, but said it would not comment on individual cases.