KINGSTON, Jamaica – The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved an order that will give rise to a gun amnesty that will run from this Saturday, November 5 until midnight on Saturday, November 19.
National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang moved the resolution titled the Firearms, Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation Amnesty Order 2022. He noted that he was announcing the amnesty on the same day that the new Firearms Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) Act 2022, with its much stiffer penalties for gun offences took effect.
Chang, who is also the deputy prime minister, had served notice on September 1 when the Firearms Bill was tabled, that as soon as the law took effect, an amnesty would be authorised.
It will allow persons who may be in possession of an illegal or unregistered firearm or ammunition, the opportunity to surrender the weapon to the state without the fear of prosecution.
To this end, Chang is imploring persons to take advantage of the amnesty. He said persons who may be in possession of a firearm without criminal intent should make use of the amnesty. So too those who may have inherited a firearm from a relative and have it locked away in a safe. It also covers individuals who have decided that they no longer have use for a firearm.
“The object of this amnesty is to have those individuals surrender their firearms,” said Chang.
According to the order, any person who has acquired a firearm illegally but with no intent of committing an illegal act, would benefit from the amnesty. It also covers the individual who “voluntarily surrenders or disclose the location of any firearm or ammunition during the amnesty period”.
Such a person “shall not be charged with any offence relating to the illegal possession, custody or control of the firearm or ammunition," said Chang.
Once the amnesty expires, those found in possession of an illegal gun “can expect the full force of the law to apply…” Chang warned.
To make use of the amnesty, a person may call the police, go to the nearest police station or engage the services of an attorney-at-law.