FLA says there's no prejudice to any group of individuals when approving licenses

FLA says there's no prejudice to any group of individuals when approving licenses

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) says comments made in the media attributed to the chairman of the police federation about the authority exposing policemen to harm by denying some firearm permits are “baseless, sensational and most unfortunate”.

“It is important to note that the FLA is the regulatory body responsible for the management and governance of private firearm ownership in Jamaica. The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), through its risk assessment, is responsible for the issuance of firearms to its members, and is directly charged with the overall protection of them in the execution of their duties. It is therefore unfortunate...to mislead the public that the FLA is exposing the police to harm by denying them firearm licenses,” a statement last evening said.

It said as a matter of standard operating procedures, the authority is mandated to govern the issuance of private firearm licenses through comprehensive investigations, background checks, and a due diligence process that relies heavily upon the intelligence arms of the JCF.

“The application process examines a spectrum of circumstances to include home inspections and criminal records; and assesses the risks associated with each individual's need for a private firearm. Therefore, the applicant's profession is not the sole deciding factor. Persons who apply to the FLA are applying on a personal basis and are not granted firearm licenses for business/work purposes,” the FLA said.

It said all decisions are made by a five-member board, which is currently chaired by a retired colonel of the JDF, and supported by a retired deputy commissioner of police and a retired judge of the Supreme Court.

“Moreover, the JCF's role in the decision-making process for each applicant is critical to the foundation on which the FLA forms and maintains its integrity. There is no exemption in the vetting process, or prejudice to any group of individuals, whether by profession, religion, or association.”

It said applications who are denied by the board of the authority may appeal to the three-member review board chaired by a former president of the Court of Appeal, who reports directly to the minister of national security with responsibility for the FLA and the JCF.

“Where there are instances of denial or revocation of licenses for members of the police force, the JCF is made aware of the reasons or basis under which these decisions are made. Additionally, the FLA has attended several meetings hosted by the police federation to share the issues we have had in denying any of its serving members a firearm licence,” it said.

“The FLA continues to enjoy a sterling relationship with the members of the JCF, and we continue to rely on their support as we make decisions in respect to arming Jamaican citizens, and strengthening national security.”

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