Priminister Andrew Holness says, ‘Poverty is not an excuse for you to own an illegal gun,’

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness has chided persons who have described the new Firearms Act as being oppressive, declaring that poverty isn’t an excuse for a person to hunt out and use an illegal firearm.

“We can’t be ambivalent and duplicitous! If we are serious about treating with violence and if we actually want to cut back murders in our society, then we must put in situ tough measures for those that would seek to traffic, trade, possess, and use illegal firearms in our country,” he charged.

The honorable prime minister Andrew Holness had been speaking at a passing-out parade for 300 new police officers on the property of the National Police College of Jamaica (NPCJ) in the area of Twickenham Park, St Catherine on Wednesday.

The House of Representatives passed the Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction, and Regulation) Act last week, and therefore the Senate is anticipated to shortly do likewise, paving the way for the legislation to become law.

In stressing the requirement for support for the Act from everyone within the society, Holness rubbished arguments that he said were made by a parliamentarian recently.

“I heard a Member of Parliament (MP) – and that I will put it no beyond that – say words to the effect – and that I am not quoting him directly – that the Bill, the new Firearms Act, was particularly oppressive because a bit man with a pip there so… that concept is destructive!” declared Holness.

“He says Poverty will never be an excuse for you to think you can own an illegal firearm. None!” thundered the prime minister.

“There are not any freedom fighters here! there’s no rebellion force here!

“Every Jamaican must be a law-abiding citizen, and after we make these styles of excuses for the possession of illegal weapons, all we do is empower criminals, making it harder for these young recruits who’ve come here today to supply their lives, and who will probably face that little man out there with the gun,” he stated.

The prime minister called on well-thinking Jamaican to square up with him against people who would seek to make excuses for young men and ladies to require up and use illegal firearms.

“There isn’t any just reason to possess an illegal firearm in this country. None!” Holness reiterated.

Once the new Firearms Act gets the approval of the Senate, it’ll travel to the governor-general for his assent, at which era it becomes a part of the laws of the land.

The consequential amendments made to the Offences Against the Person Act will increase penalty provisions for Sections 13, 16, and 17 by including a compulsory minimum sentence of 15 years for offenses involving the employment of a firearm.

In addition, under section 20(2), the mandatory sentence has been increased from 15 years to twenty years, to keep with the proposed penalty regime within the current Bill.

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