- Firearm owners are being urged to store weapons with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) or the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) for safekeeping, when they leave the island.
- Superintendent Lindsay informs that licensed firearm holders are required to store guns at their local police station for a time not exceeding three weeks. Gun owners can also store weapons at the FLA for a nominal fee.
- Persons are reminded that there are certain events where weapons are not allowed, and Miss Lindsay urges licensed gun owners not to leave the weapon in the car but to make arrangements to store their weapons prior to the event.
Firearm owners are being urged to store weapons with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) or the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) for safekeeping, when they leave the island.
Under Section 45, subsection 2 of the amended Firearms Act, licensed firearm holders who are travelling and do not wish to carry a weapon, are required to store guns and ammunition at a police station or the FLA for safekeeping.
Superintendent of Police and Head of the JCF Communications Unit, Stephanie Lindsay, tells JIS News that previously, travellers could leave firearms at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston for safekeeping.
However, due to security reasons, and limited storage space, Superintendent Lindsay advises that this option is no longer available.
“We are encouraging persons to make arrangements prior to the date of travel for storage of their weapons,” she says.
She cautions gun owners against the practice of leaving weapons at home for long periods, as criminals can break into their homes and steal the weapons.
Superintendent Lindsay informs that licensed firearm holders are required to store guns at their local police station for a time not exceeding three weeks. Gun owners can also store weapons at the FLA for a nominal fee.
The cost for storage is $300.00 per month for hand guns and $500.00 for shotguns.
“If they (gun owners) will be travelling for long periods, we recommend that they make arrangements with the Firearms Licensing Authority (FLA), because they have provisions in place for persons to leave their weapons for safekeeping,” she tells JIS News.
Persons in breach of the regulations can be found guilty of an offence, and on summary conviction before a Resident Magistrate can be liable to a fine not exceeding $200,000 and imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.
Superintendent Lindsay is also reminding licensed firearm holders of general safety precautions when dealing with the weapons.
One of the prerequisites for acquiring a firearm licence is that the holder must have a safe installed at his or her residence to secure the firearm while not in use.
She points out that only the gun owner is to have full control and responsibility for the safe, in order to keep the weapon away from persons who are not authorised to use it as well as to ensure that the firearm and ammunition are kept away from children.
Superintendent Lindsay says firearm holders must be very careful when carrying guns in public and advises that the weapon must remain concealed, as criminals target firearm owners.
Persons are reminded that there are certain events where weapons are not allowed, and Miss Lindsay urges licensed gun owners not to leave the weapon in the car but to make arrangements to store their weapons prior to the event.
“We have seen cases where persons attend these events and leave the weapons in the car, and the car is stolen or broken into and the weapon stolen. Find out prior to going to the event if provisions are made for the safekeeping of weapons. If this is not available, make your own arrangements,” she says.
Superintendent Lindsay is appealing to persons to desist from the practice of gun salute, as this poses great danger to the public.
“Sometimes we have some unfortunate situations, such as injuries and deaths, where persons do ‘gun salutes’ at events. This is a clear breach of the law and if caught, you will be charged. We want persons to desist from doing that. When you get a gun it is to protect your life and property. The danger it poses is significant and we are urging persons not to do it,” she warns.
This practice is considered negligent discharge of a firearm and is an offence. Under Section 23, subsection 1 of the Act, “a person shall not discharge any firearm or ammunition on or within 40 yards of any public road or in any public place, except… in the lawful protection of his person or property or that of another person”.
Where there is a breach of this, any Justice of the Peace or constable may, without a warrant, seize any firearm or ammunition found and retain it for as long as is necessary for the purpose of investigation and where the investigation results in legal proceedings against any person for the offence, until the completion of the legal proceedings.
Meanwhile, The FLA is reminding firearm holders to observe the following safety tips:
- Treat every firearm as being loaded. If it has not been continually in your possession, there is a chance that it may be loaded. If it has not been personally checked, assume it is loaded.
- Always check that the muzzle is pointing in a safe direction. Never point a loaded or unloaded firearm at anyone or anything you do not wish to shoot.
- Unless in storage, never leave firearms unattended. Never leave a firearm lying about the house.
- Make sure ammunition and firearm are always kept out of the reach of children. Children could match ammunition with the gun and accidentally discharge the weapon and endanger themselves and others.
- Never engage in horseplay when holding a firearm as this can result in serious injury.
- Never handle firearms while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.