Thursday 9 July, 2020

More legal guns may keep criminals at bay, says former MP

Arnaldo Brown

Arnaldo Brown

Former Junior Minister of Foreign Affairs and People's National Party Member of Parliament for South East St Catherine, Arnaldo Brown is just as concerned as all well thinking Jamaicans at home and abroad about the country’s alarming murder and crime rate.

Jamaica has averaged more than 1,100 murders per annum for at least the last decade and has been branded among the deadliest places on the planet.

Police statistics indicate that the gun is the weapon of choice in the majority of these homicides.

Brown, who is also an accomplished attorney at law who once had responsibility for Diaspora Affairs, is quite aware that the guns are mostly in the hands of law enforcement and cold-hearted criminals. This leaves the majority of law abiding citizens without any form of protection if the police are not on hand to ward off the evil forces of criminality.

As such, he supports an initiative which would make it easier for a citizen without a criminal record to be able to access a licensed firearm without having to jump through hoops and battle bureaucratic red tape as the situation now stands.

“I would certainly support such a move. However, persons would have to undergo intensive training in the use and safety methods of a firearm before they could be allowed to qualify to be the holder of a licensed firearm. Every individual should be able to defend their life and property within a reasonable limit,” Brown said.

Brown was, however, cautious. He insisted that such a move would require careful tweaking as history has been replete with high incidents of gun crimes in jurisdictions that have relaxed gun control laws.

“It would have to be carefully thought out as we have seen what has happened in other countries with relaxed gun control laws. However, the chance of a man with a single firearm challenging a group of persons all of who may be armed is remote. It could be made easier for even an individual to own a firearm to protect his home and not be able to walk freely on the streets, but the citizenry cannot be lambs to the slaughter,” he said.

Brown’s call comes years after former Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for Central Manchester, Sally Porteous, made a similar appeal. That appeal fell on deaf ears.

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