National Security Minister Rayburn Blackmoore has announced that a total of two illegal firearms have been surrendered to the police so far following a ‘Gun and Ammunition Amnesty’ which came into effect from the period October 1 – 31, 2023.
This is in a concerted effort to address the pressing issue of illegal firearms and related criminal activities.
“It is very interesting to note for the period October 1 to the 31, two illegal firearms were surrendered to the Police,” he revealed. “We want to accept, while it is true, by saying that number is very small, but my response to this is that these are two illegal firearms that are off the streets that could have been used to commit a crime.”
He told those who are still processing whether they should surrender their firearms that are illegal or unregistered, “that if for some reason you do not feel comfortable or trust the police, you can bring the illegal firearm or ammunition to a Priest, a Pastor or an Attorney.”
“And I am confident they will do the honourable thing by bringing the illegal firearm or rounds of ammunition to the police,” Blackmoore stated.
He made it clear that once the period for this program expires, the government will quickly go to Parliament to further amend the ‘Firearms Act’.
“And if one [is] found with any illegal firearm or ammunition that person will go to jail for a very long time,” Blackmoore warned.
Meanwhile, he revealed that the ‘Gun and Ammunition Amnesty’ program has been extended to December 1, 2023.
“This extension in my view is important and will further demonstrate that element of good faith by your government to rid the streets of illegal firearms,” he said.
In an earlier report, Blackmoore said that over the years, substantial strides have been made to enhance the capabilities of the police force to include training, equipment provision, and active policing plans in an effort to rid the streets of illegal firearms. The Minister further averred that legislative changes have also been introduced to impose stricter penalties and a broader range of consequences for those found in possession of illegal firearms and ammunition.
“However, the fight against illegal firearms and the use of those firearms to cause harm and bring death to others is not one that can be fought by the authorities alone,” he stressed, adding that while remaining vigilant, the government aims to adopt innovative strategies to curtail and discourage the use of illegal firearms.