A call for all law-abiding citizens to be granted licenced firearms was presented in the Sitting of The House Of Representatives by Minister Robert Montague. Montague, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, presented this recommendation as a means to arm society against criminals.
“Any decent, law-abiding citizen with a clean police record, no mental issues, or domestic violence conviction should be able to acquire a gun permit within 45 days of applying,” Montague said.
According to Montague, statistics show that over the last ten years, twenty-nine licenced firearm holders have been killed in Jamaica.
Additionally, 627 major crimes in total, including shootings, robberies, and predial larceny, have been committed against firearm owners.
He further stated that the country currently has 45, 000 licenced firearm holders with 167, 000 guns, including security companies, gun clubs, and individuals who own several guns.
He explained that since there have been 30, 000 gun owners on average during the past ten years, 1% of those owners have been murdered every year.
Montague continued by saying that a total of 627 crimes committed against firearm holders show that just 2% of firearm holders have been affected by crime in the past ten years.
“The figures clearly show that if you are armed, criminals don’t mess with you,” he argued.
He also elaborated that criminals have more advanced weapons than the police in many cases. He pointed out that the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force are at times preoccupied with other operations, like spending hours in shootouts.
He noted that citizens are often called upon for help regardless of not having the equipment, and he asked if they are expected to “join the fight against crime” with “dem two long hand, and two stone and a cutlass”.
“The long wait for a license sometimes criminalise the process,” he added.
Watch the video with Robert Montague below.