Gun con­trol must be im­proved

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE EDITOR, Sir: I AGREE that stricter laws and pro­ce­dures are re­quired re­gard­ing the use, pos­ses­sion and own­er­ship of firearms. This re­quires ur­gent at­ten­tion, con­sid­er­ing firearms are used in most mur­ders in Ja­maica, mostly il­le­gal weapons. It is un­be­liev­able that the Firearm Li­cens­ing Author­ity (FLA) now re­ports that the file for Patrick Pow­ell, the ac­cused in the mur­der death of KC stu­dent in the back of a taxi, has gone miss­ing.

Do the au­thor­i­ties rely only on pa­per files? Why isn’t the in­for­ma­tion dig­i­talised and backed up elec­tron­i­cally? A li­cence should also in­clude mul­ti­ple pho­tos of the weapon, tagged to the bearer, with their fin­ger­prints, etc. Firearms are ex­tremely dan­ger­ous weapons, and if we are is­su­ing li­cences, we should en­sure that proper pro­ce­dures and laws are in place to pro­tect cit­i­zens. There should also be stricter laws for firearm hold­ers who tam­per with ev­i­dence or refuse to hand over a li­censed weapon for test­ing in a case be­fore the courts. Oth­er­wise, what’s the point of al­low­ing them to carry these weapons if they are able to do as they please and get away with it?


We also heard that the ac­cused in the stab­bing death of the Ja­maica Col­lege stu­dent dur­ing a phone-rob­bery at­tempt in a bus was cur­rently out on bail for pos­ses­sion of an il­le­gal firearm. In my view, bail should not be so easy in cases in­volv­ing pos­ses­sion of il­le­gal weapons, un­less in cases where ev­i­dence is purely cir­cum­stan­tial or weak.

If you are found with an il­le­gal firearm, there should be se­ri­ous con­se­quences, and bail should not be an op­tion. If you carry an il­le­gal weapon, ob­vi­ously, your in­tent is to carry out il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties, and you pose a se­ri­ous threat to so­ci­ety.

You should, there­fore, face the con­se­quences which should also in­clude a quick trial. The crim­i­nals and gang­sters are beat­ing us with their game, find­ing holes and loop­holes to carry out their wicked deeds and are get­ting away with it. We can­not curb crime, un­less we get more se­ri­ous and tighten the sys­tem. This should be done im­me­di­ately.

P. Chinch­in_p@ya­


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