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Jamaica House approves new firearms legislation


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Jamaica House approves new firearms legislation
Jamaica National Security minister, Dr Herbert Chang - FP

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Kingston – The House of Representatives gave its nod to the new Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) Act, which establishes a dual regime, distinguishing between prohibited weapons or unregulated firearms and activities connected to them, and firearms that are authorised or registered.

Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang said the legislation, passed by the House on Wednesday, will be kept under constant review.

“We have indicated seven years for review because of the nature of the Jamaican society, cases still take a long time to plea, and we can monitor it effectively on an empirical basis up to seven years,” he said.

Minister Chang noted that it was important to send a message to the country that as a Parliament, “we are strong on the issue (of crime and violence)”.

“We intend it to be a Bill to act as a deterrent and will bring to bear some success on dealing with what is our most troubling activity in the society,” he said.

The legislation outlines the objectives that speak to establishing a framework that prohibits firearms and ammunition that are illicitly traded.

It also regards possession of those prohibited firearms and ammunition as the foundation on which other heinous and violent crimes are committed.

In addition, under the new legislation, the Firearms Licensing Authority (FLA) will be established as a body corporate.

As a body corporate, the Authority will have its own legal identity and will now be empowered to perform several activities, including entering into contracts in its own name, initiating and responding to legal claims, acquiring real and personal property, and using its own official seal.