Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer
The operator of one local gun club is adamant that bullets purchased at that entity cannot make it to the hands of criminals.
Last week, persons in the illegal ammunition trade claimed that they received bullets from licensed firearm holders, as a Sunday Gleaner investigative team purchased 25 shots for $7,000.
According to the sources, the licensed firearm holders purchase the bullets from the gun clubs and sell them to anyone who has the money.
But Orville Henriques, president of the Manchester Rifle and Pistol Club, told The Sunday Gleaner that these licensed firearm holders could not get the bullets from his establishment, as it would not be worth the mountain of trouble he would face if criminals get ammunition from his range.
"Persons come here from all over with identification saying they are various professionals. They say they want to shoot, but they don't have a firearm licence. I tell them plainly, it's not going to happen here. Selling them is trouble that is not worth it," said Henriques.
He said many individuals turn up at the range saying they have applied for a licence which is being processed, but they want to shoot.
"That will not be accommodated here. When I sell you ammunition at this range, we have processes in place to make sure that all of what is bought here is used.
"It's the law, and if I have an idea that you are making an attempt to leave here with ammunition, there are ways to deal with that," said Henriques.
Not on his range
According to Henriques, he would not allow himself to lose the ability to do his business by operating contrary to the terms and conditions of his licence.
"I can lose my licence to operate this range if I sell ammunition to people on the black market. Any individuals attempting to leave here with ammunition can also lose their licence. I just have to make a report. But I don't want it to get to the report stage, so I make sure that the right thing is done," stated Henriques.
The sharpshooting businessman said ammunition is sold at the gun club, and individuals participating in overseas competition need several boxes, which could mean thousands of rounds in order to meet competition readiness.
He said those individuals may require as many as 1,000 or more rounds per year, even as they compete against individuals using 300,000 in the United States.
"I will not sell anyone more than 100 rounds of ammunition at any one time and there are individuals assigned to make sure that all of those are used right here. So, you can get more than the 100 in a day, but only 100 at any one time, and every single one must be fired before you leave the range. I can tell you if somebody comes here and wants 500 rounds to buy, that raises a red flag immediately," Henriques stated.
"And unless I know that a man is a competitive shooter, he will not get ammunition from here. Because the moment you come here and ask for an exorbitant amount of ammunition, you are asking for trouble. Immediately, people start watching you. So if someone comes and asks for five boxes of rounds, I ask: Is you and who going to shoot that?" he stated matter-of fact.
Henriques said, he would not be afraid to tell The Sunday Gleaner that individuals' seeking to leave the range with ammunition is "highly unlikely."
President of the Jamaica Rifle Association Colonel Oscar Derby could not be reached for comment.