Letters to the Editor

FLA must cover all bases

Thursday, October 18, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I'm not a gun advocate by any stretch of the imagination. I believe there are too many guns on the island, both legally and illegally, especially illegally.

Jamaica, it seems, has more guns in the streets than stars in the sky. I have no dog in this fight, but instead of making a lot of fuss about overseas Jamaicans having firearm licences, I think the time has come where the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) should relax their rules and allow Jamaicans based overseas to have firearm licences here. I see no harm in that, plus it makes a lot of sense, in my view.

They would, however, need to abide by the strict rules and guidelines of the authority which include a thorough background check and a safekeeping apparatus, such as a secure safe or vault to store their weapon.

It is not a secret that returning Jamaicans are sometimes targeted for obvious reasons. If these returnees come on a regular basis to do business, particularly if they have assets, they need protection, which shouldn't be denied.

This idea could be beneficial to the FLA in terms of licensing fees. It could also provide their own security facilities. Similar to the post office, the FLA could provide boxes so that the returning residents have the option of leaving the weapon for safekeeping on their way back home, for a monthly fee, of course. The Government should also do its part by requiring that shipping agents X-ray all barrels and provide proper photo identification, signature and addresses of both the sender and receiver or packages to and from the island.

The issues with firearms and ammunition are, for the most part, concerning locals. It was also reported that some unscrupulous members of law enforcement have been selling guns and ammunition on the black market which eventually find their way into the hands of criminals. And the incidents of legal firearm holders behaving badly have nothing to do with overseas-based Jamaicans.

Having a weapon is not a joke. We see the devastation and the destruction caused by people being killed every day.

The FLA must cover all the bases.

Noel Mitchell

Westchester, NY, USA


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