Bunting says FLA has adopted an 'alarmist' approach

Saturday, October 13, 2018

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Manchester Central Member of Parliament Peter Bunting has accused the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) of adopting an “alarmist” approach under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Shane Dalling.
Bunting made the assertion this week at a meeting of the Internal and External Affairs Committee of Parliament, where Dalling and his team, along with permanent secretary of the national security ministry, Diane McIntosh appeared to answer questions about the agency's operations.
The MP's assertion was in relation to the FLA's pronouncements in March this year of finding a “gun-making” in Manchester.
Bunting questioned whether the investigations had revealed that there are several of those types of machines in machine workshops across the island.
“You used the words 'discovered' this machine; this machine wasn't hidden, and it points to one of the concerns I've had about the sort of alarmist approach that we see coming out of the FLA under Mr Dalling's leadership. An Internet search would have shown that this was not a gun machine; this was a straightforward, numerically controlled machine tool that is used in many machine shops-not only in Jamaica but across the world,” Bunting argued.
The issue of the machine was brought into question during the course of an investigation into a request for more than 100,000 rounds of ammunition by nine firearm licencees in the parish.
Dalling explained that the machine had been shown to FLA investigators, and that the agency had not made any announcements about the machine, but had been responding to questions from the press.
“When we visited the location it was not the FLA that stated that it is a gun-making machine, it was actually the owner of the machine who indicated to the FLA that he had this machine and the capabilities of the machine — and that is when we launched an investigation into this machine and its capabilities,” he explained.
Dalling stressed to the committee that with the investigations not yet concluded, he was not in a position to tell the committee whether the machine was imported or if similar machines can be found in other parts of the island.
Dalling also told the committee that the owner, who is also a licensed firearm holder, had informed the FLA that he was awaiting authorisation from the Ministry of National Security in order to get the machine operationalised.
In July the FLA announced that it had revoked more than seven firearm licences from the individuals connected to the Manchester incident, as well as the licence of a firearm, ammunition and shooting range dealership in the parish.
The regulator said in its monitoring of ammunition use across the country, it had taken particular interest in Manchester because of the high amount of ammunition being used in the parish, compared to other areas — despite having a small number of licensed gun holders in the parish.
— Alphea Saunders

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