All law-abiding Jamaicans should be armed says Montage as gunmen run unchecked


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Former National Security Minister Robert Montague says it is time to arm all law-abiding Jamaicans.

“Any decent law-abiding citizen, with a clean police record, no mental (health) issues or domestic violence conviction should be able to acquire a gun permit within 45 days of applying,” insisted Montague.

He made the call in the House of Representatives last Wednesday, during the debate on the Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction, and Regulation) Act. The Bill was passed without amendment.

In justifying his call for the general populace to be armed, Montague argued that over the past 10 years, only 29 firearm holders were murdered in the country. By contrast, on average, 1,300 Jamaicans are murdered each year, with illegal guns featuring in more than 80 percent of the killings.

Montague also pointed out that over a 10-year period a total of 627 combined major crimes, including shootings, robberies, and praedial larceny have been committed against firearm holders, suggesting a firearm is a deterrent to criminals.

Montague told the House that there are 45,000 licensed firearm holders in Jamaica and 167,000 guns as there are persons with multiple licenses, in addition to security companies that utilize armed guards as well as gun clubs.

“There’s an average of 30,000 firearm holders over the last 10 years. Therefore, some 0.09 or one percent of licensed firearm holders have been murdered over a 10-year period or an average of 0.01 per year.

“At 627 combined incidents of crime against firearm holders, it shows that only two percent have been affected by crime over the last 10-year period or an average of .2 per year,” said Montague.

“The figures clearly show that if you’re armed, criminals don’t mess with you,” he declared. He noted that criminals have more advanced weapons than the police in many cases and that the police and army are held at bay for hours sometimes in a shootout (with gunmen).

“Yet, we’re calling on law-abiding citizens to join the fight against crime. What must they join with, dem two long hands, and two stone and a cutlass?”

“And what they must do with those?” the former security minister asked.

Montague lamented that the long wait for a gun license sometimes criminalizes the process. He insists that we must level the playing field and give the advantage to the law-abiding person.

For those who would object to arming the general population by pointing to countries such as Australia that recently disarmed the society and “are okay”, Montague said: “Australia is not confronted by the factors that beset us. They don’t have our historic crime rate or the amount of high powered illegal weapons that are everywhere in Jamaica”.

Continuing, he said: “Disarming works for Australia. It’s fit-for-purpose for them. Let’s wish them well and get on with a fit-for-purpose solution for Jamaica’s problems”.

And the former security minister said that when a criminal is about to break into your house, he should pause and wonder, “How many guns are in that house?”

“When they’re planning to steal a farmer’s crop or animals, they have to wonder if the farmer has a gun and what are the chances of getting shot,” he added to applause from his colleagues.

“We must give back the advantage to the law-abiding citizen; right now the criminals have an advantage,” said Montage.

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