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Opposition Senator, Prudence Kidd-Deans has recommended that every level of bureaucracy be removed, so as to “facilitate the application of every decent law-abiding Jamaican who has applied and who fits the criteria for a firearm licence, be granted one”.
The Senator, who was making her contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on March 17, argued that her proposition for an armed public would not eliminate the chance of a person being attacked, but that “it is a deterrent to that possibility”.
She said that while criminals pounced on members of the public with the certain knowledge that most were unarmed, “this situation would be quite the reverse if they felt we were possibly armed”.
The Senator emphasised that there was an urgent need to follow up on the matter. Mrs. Kidd-Deans noted that a great demand for firearm licences existed in Jamaica and was occasioned by an increased need to protect one’s self, family and property.
While championing her cause for a more relaxed bureaucracy in the granting of firearm licences, she said that, “it is quite understandable and more so essential, that proper screening be done to determine the qualification of the applicant”.
She suggested that applicants should satisfy an objective criteria, such as not having a criminal record; be in possession of a certificate of use from an established firing range; and assessed to be of sound mind.
According to Mrs. Kidd-Deans, some 4,000 firearm applications were submitted last year.