Letters to the Editor

Licensed firearm holders not the problem

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Here's a startling fact: licensed firearm holders outnumber the combined security forces by 6:1

Here's the math for the JCF:

Total sworn personnel approx 12,000,

less 1,500 on vacation/study leave,

less 500 on suspension,

less 3,000 on administrative or support duties.

Balance = 7,000

And here's the math for the JDF:

Total enlisted personnel approx 5,000,

less 300 on vacation/study leave,

less 100 on suspension,

less 600 on administrative or support duties.

Balance = 4,000

Total left to fight crime on any one day = 11,000.

There are over 60,000 licensed firearm holders in Jamaica.

Criminals don't fear the police or the law. Therefore they must be made to fear their victims.

The security forces are uniformed and visible and therefore easily avoided by criminals. They work regular hours, and if some are to be believed, they are generally demotivated. They lack decent working conditions and resources.

Licensed firearm holders are invisible, unnoticed. We go about our business every day and come home every night. We are always on duty. We are motivated to protect our lives and the lives of our families. The criminals don't know who we really are.

It is this fear of the unknown that is helping to keep them at bay. It is licensed firearm holders that are helping to keep our neighbourhoods and communities safe. It is licensed firearm holders that are helping to keep our business districts and streets safe.

Yet licensed firearm holders are vilified and maligned by various authorities and in the press. Any incident involving a licensed firearm holder is splashed across the front pages. The seizure of his firearm or worse, the revocation of his licence is made public… putting him and his family at further risk from criminals. There are dozens of anecdotal reports of victimisation of licensed firearm holders by the security forces.

Sometimes it seems as if the criminals have more rights than us the law-abiding citizens.

I understand we are not all perfect, but how come the public is only fed the bad news? How come the public is only told about the few who might have made mistakes? Where is the good news? Where is the good news about the licensed firearm holder who protected his family or his co-workers with his licensed firearm?

By the recent numbers, it seems fewer than only about 0.5 per cent of licensed firearm holders have run afoul of the law. Statistically, that is a very low number compared to the thousands of law-abiding, responsible licensed firearm holders.

Isn't it time the authorities recognise us for the role we play in helping to keep crime under some semblance of control? Isn't it time that licensed firearm holders are appreciated for what we do?

Licensed firearm holders are not the problem, as being portrayed to the public. It is about time that the media and the authorities acknowledge the vital role we play in Jamaica. The fact is that we are good guys!

One of the Good Guys


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