Barbados Government Announces Gun Amnesty

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday April
3, 2019
– People with
illegal firearms, parts of firearms or ammunition will have from April 7 until
midnight on April 13, to turn in the weapons at a police station without having
to worry about facing prosecution.

Attorney
General and Minister of Legal Affairs Dale Marshall announced the one-week gun
amnesty yesterday, during discussion on the Bail (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the
House of Assembly.

“After
the legislation is passed and it becomes law later this week, a gun amnesty
will be offered to Barbadians,” he said, stressing that unlike previous gun
amnesties, which ran for as long as six months in some cases, this one would be
for one week only.

“If
you have an unlicensed firearm, it cannot take six months to figure out that
you want to hand it in…. At midnight on Saturday, April 13, the gloves are
off.”

The last amnesty was in 1998, but the minister said people had been asking for another one and after consultation with police, a decision was taken to offer another one.

Marshall
said that at the end of the amnesty, he would report to the country “on what
and how many guns were recovered”.

The
Attorney General also warned the criminal elements in society that he would not
allow them to hold the country ransom.

“I
am warning the criminal element of Barbados do not test our resolve. Our
mission is to get the guns off the streets. This is not something that we can
be flippant about. A Government is elected for the purpose of protecting
citizens not to coddle criminals,” he said, adding that the Barbados Labour
Party administration would not allow a handful of “hoodlums” to “mash up our
country”.

Marshall
acknowledged that there were some people in society who believed gun amnesties
were not the solution to the problem, as the guns wanted did not come in during
an amnesty.

But he explained that the mission is simply to get illegal firearms off the street.

“Somebody who spends $10 000 on an AK47 is not likely to show up at a
police station and say ‘I am washing my hands of this’… But they could never say
I didn’t have a chance to,” the Attorney General said.

Marshall had told Parliament that 12 of the 20 murders committed in Barbados so far this year involved the use of guns.

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