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JM | Oct 4, 2022

New firearm act to free youngsters from burden of getting in gun trade early, says Police Commish

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

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Police Commissioner Antony Anderson has defended the new Firearm Act, noting that longer sentences will relieve children of the “burden of getting involved in the gun trade early”.

The commissioner was speaking during a Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) press briefing today (October 4) when a question about the impact the new act will have on children was raised.

Anderson noted that, often, gunmen will recruit children to transport their guns as the previous act made them immune to imprisonment or harsh penalties.

But, under the new act, anyone caught with an illegal firearm will receive a 15-year sentence, regardless of their age.

“This [new act] recalibrates the decisions of not just the children but that of those children’s parents when whoever has the firearm is faced with long sentences,” said Anderson.

He noted that, in Jamaica, 84 per cent to 85 per cent of murder victims are killed with guns and this step is needed to reduce the numbers.

“If we don’t see this as sufficient cause to send away the people who are in possession of these firearms for long sentences, we will be forever challenged because the consequences and the responsibilities that people have to take for having illegal firearms is not going to be meted out,” said Anderson.

He also clarified that, under the new actm, there are exceptions.

But, he is not sure “that by putting long sentences it will be a greater challenge for our youngsters as opposed to relieving them of this burden of getting involved in the gun trade very early”.

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