Some holders of licensed firearms in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are selling their ammunition, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told a press conference on Monday.
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, said he met, last Thursday, the Commissioner and senior ranks of the police force.
The three-hour meeting, at the Cabinet Room, included discussions about curbing the flow of guns and ammunition into SVG.
“We don’t manufacture them. That’s a big issue because you have a lot of gun-related crimes,” Gonsalves said.
“And, there are some law-abiding people, it has been reported, without the evidence and I can’t say what is being done, but I hear that some fellas who get licenced firearms and bullets selling the bullets at $10 a pop. Yes,” the prime minister said.
“So, in addition to the problems of preventing it coming in, even internally, you have to track, in detail, what is happening in relation to bullets. You see how detailed you have to get into it, and many, many other things.”
Giving further insight into crime-fighting measures, Gonsalves said there are police officers who have voluntarily given up their leave to do patrols.
“Commissioner can’t talk about the detailed patrols, I can’t talk about them neither.
“But, believe you me, when the guy who is charged with killing Bishop Enoch, when he was met on the streets in Glen, it’s normal policing patrol that picked him up at 2 o’clock in the morning,” he said.
“That sounds to you like a police force that don’t know what they are about? I am not saying that you don’t have some policemen who are not pulling their weight, you know.
“But I want to commend the commissioner of police and the police officers for helping to make St. Vincent and the Grenadines one of the safest countries in the world, because I am not generalising from the episodic and I am not getting involved in any scaremongering. And where there are specific issues, we are addressing them.”
The prime minister also used the press conference to respond to opposition criticism of his government’s response to crime in SVG, which recorded, last weekend, its 23rd homicide for this year.
1. Yes, I believe that some licensed handgun owners are selling cartridges. This is because most illegal guns brought into the country (mostly old, used weapons from the USA) come unloaded or only include a few rounds of ammunition. The best proof of this is that when people are found with illegal firearms, there are never more than a few cartridges found. I have never heard of a whole box (usually 50 rounds for a handgun) of ammunition seized by the police from an illegal owner.
2. SVG is certainly not one of the safest countries in the world; but it is certainly far, far from being the most dangerous. In the Caribbean, we are a typical country In term of dangerous crime. Time for the ULP to stop trying to scare the sh*t out of the rest of us to score a few cheap political points, especially when they have no good answers for controlling or reducing the incidence of violent crime. Still, I don’t recommend that women and old people walk out at night in dark areas with no people around something I would also recommend for many cities in North America and Europe.
Of course licensed holders are selling ammunition, and it is ridiculous. I am a licensed owner myself, and I for one highly respect the fact I have a license, and am disgusted by the holders who sell ammunition. License holders who do that should, upon discovery, have their license immediately revoked and bared from applying for a new one; along with whatever other charges go along with illegal sale of ammunition.
The main reasons it is being done is that 1. the sellers can get more cheap, and want to make a buck. 2. Sellers don’t see it is an issue for some reason, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. And the reason they can sell them relatively cheap is that the firearm association sells them cheap. The reason being it allows a licensed holder to come to the range and practice more, to ensure that they maintain their competence and confidence with their firearm, in the unfortunate event they ever need to use it for defense. You never had this issue before because a licensed firearm holder would be paying $6.50 per round before the formation of the association. Now they are paying $1.00 per round for the cheap rounds and $2.00 for the more expensive ones. I’m not saying the association should raise the price to combat it, but this is the reason.
I have been approached by people before to sell them my ammunition, and I simply tell them that I’m not into that and I have no desire to be my a** in trouble over them. I get begged still, but my answer never changes. I have never been threatened by anyone for refusing, but if I was I would certainly have been right down to the station to report it.
I don’t know how the police or firearm association will handle or address it, but for the legal firearm holders who are going to be affected by it, we have only the bad apples in the crowd to blame for it. We have been given more than an inch with the new association and rules, and some people have taken miles.
There is a simple solution for this. Each license firearm holder should be allocated 50 rounds or an amount to be determined by the firearms atthority. The remainder will be kept at the the main police armory in Kingstown. Any discharge of their firearms must be reported to the Police, which will followed by an investigation. Ammunition must be presented upon relicensing of their firearm.
All unlicensed firearms and ammunition must be returned to the Police.
A number of criminal elements been captured lately, argues well for COP and his organization. Continue to nail them.
There should be an audit done on legal cat ridges bought. They should keep the spent cat ridges as proof of use.
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