Licensed firearm holders are being reminded that weapons left in the care of the police over a protracted period, will be destroyed.
The reminder came from the Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, on Tuesday Feb. 7, as he addressed the start of a weapons destruction exercise at the Jamaica Constabulary Forces’ (JCF) Armoury on Elletson Road, Kingston.
“I suspect that many of those holders have migrated; some may even have died. The approach we are taking and which is allowed under our (Firearms) Act is that if they are not retrieved within a certain period of time…we are going to dispose of them,” he warned.
The Minister said that the process has already started “and it is going to be accelerated in the months to come”.
In the meantime, Mr. Bunting said that the audit being conducted by the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) on the stockpile of weapons at the JCF has to be accelerated, so too the rate of destruction.
“We have to get this done within the short-term. Similarly, the recertification of licensed firearm holders (about) 30,000 persons, cannot continue at the pace at which it is going. It has to be accelerated to get it done in a year or two,” he said.
He said these actions will greatly assist the police in solving crime, “because part of the recertification process (involves getting) the ballistic footprints of all the weapons that are held by all licensed firearm holders”.
Approximately 2,000 guns were disposed of today at the Carib Cement Company facility in Rockfort, while half a tonne of ammunition will be destroyed tomorrow (February 8) at the Jamaica Police Academy at Twickenham Park, St. Catherine.
The firearms, which are from the JCF and the FLA, are being destroyed as they are either unserviceable, obsolete, or recovered by law enforcement personnel. Some are civilian firearms that were left in the care of the police over an extended period.
The exercise falls under the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean’s (UNLIREC) firearm stockpile management and weapons destructionassistance package for Caribbean states.
The programme was launched in Jamaica in 2010 to combat the illicit trade in firearm and ammunition; strengthen the capacity of the security forces; and reduce armed violence in Jamaica, and by extension the region.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter