President Kibaki says gun laws will be tightened to tackle the problem
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has told security forces to crack down on illicit firearms as part of a national disarmament exercise.
Mr Kibaki said those in illegal possession of firearms had to surrender them or face prosecution.
He said laws would be tightened to tackle the problem.
Last week, a BBC investigation revealed that some Kenyans were buying guns in case of violence at the next elections due in 2012.
Some 1,300 people were killed following claims of electoral fraud in the 2007 elections.
President Kibaki did not refer to that report.
He said that illegal firearms had been used in armed robberies and car-jackings across the country and posed a major challenge to security.
Speaking at a national thanksgiving service in Nairobi on Sunday, Mr Kibaki said lawmakers would tackle the problem.
"To strengthen the legal framework and help mopping up illicit arms, parliament will be asked to amend [the] Firearms Act with a view to providing for stiffer penalties for those found in possession of firearms illegally," he said.
The government was committed to addressing security concerns and ready to undertake meaningful reforms to respond to new types of crime such as terrorism, fraud and human trafficking, he added.
"Training in these areas is already ongoing and will be sustained to enable us to respond effectively to all security challenges," he said.
Kenya shares long borders with war-torn Somalia and Sudan, where guns are easily available.