Twenty-two illegal guns seized during two-week gun amnesty, Holness says

Twenty-two illegal firearms were seized by the security forces and several arrests, including that of a 15-year-old, were made during the two-week gun amnesty that ended on November 19.

This was disclosed on Tuesday by Prime Minister Andrew Holness as the House of Representatives debated and passed a motion to have the states of emergency passed for seven parishes on November 15 extended until January 14 next year.

The motion will be debated in the Senate on Friday.

“It is unfortunate that a 15-year-old was among those who were caught in possession of an illegal firearm. These are some of the harsh consequences that the society has to face, we have to address it,” Holness remarked.

He lamented that young males in particular have been sucked into a gun culture.

“I’m sorry for him (the 15-year-old) and I wish he didn’t have to face this fate (mandatory 15-year sentence), but we have to put our feet down firmly. Let that 15-year-old be an example for the thousands of 15-year-old young men who are contemplating getting an illegal gun, using an illegal gun, ‘locking’ an illegal gun,” said Holness.

Meanwhile, Holness said a total of 101 guns and 3,000 rounds of ammunition were turned in under the two-week gun amnesty that ended on November 19. He said the figures were provided by the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Firearm Licensing Authority.

“I said it in another place (Jamaica Labour Party annual conference) and I’ll say it here, it (the amnesty) has surpassed my expectations, but there are still many more, thousands more illegal firearms in our country, not to mention illegal ammunition,” the prime minister said.

He noted that a number of the firearms that were turned in were from individuals who had not licensed the weapons in several years or who may have inherited the weapon and didn’t bother to regularise it.

“The amnesty was necessary to give those persons an opportunity to dispose of these weapons without having to fear the consequences of the new penalties under the new (Firearms) Act,” Holness said.

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