Firearm dealers' fee shot up 100%
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
THERE IS to be a 100 per cent increase in the cost for a firearm dealer's licence as Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has signed a ministerial order approving greater charges for firearm licences, certificates and payments.
But retired assistant commissioner Errol Strong, who chaired the board of the Firearm Licensing Authority until 2010, said the increase "will not break the back of the dealers".
The ministerial order, dated May 2, which was laid in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, indicates that the appropriate duty payable, to a Collector of Taxes on every firearm dealer's licence is to be increased from $100,000 to $200,000.
"I don't think a 100 per cent increase is going to make a difference to them. They are pretty stable businesses, they are importing a fair amount of weapons, a fair amount of ammunition, and I don't know the percentage mark-up, but these guys will pass this back to the people who are buying the weapons and ammunition," Strong said.
FROM $20,000 TO $25,000
Duty on every Gunsmith's Licence is to be increased from $20,000 to $25,000, while the amount payable on every Firearm User's Licence, the terms and conditions of which authorise the holder to carry a firearm or ammunition anywhere in Jamaica, is to more from $8,000 to $12,000.
"I don't know that it needed to be increased; I am not there any longer, so I don't know. But the licence holder, he pays $8,000 for the year to have his gun, but he goes to NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency), and he gets a permit to go and hunt birds and he pays $12,000 for that for six weeks, and they don't complain about that," Strong said.
Other changes in the rate regime will see the duties on any Firearm User's Licence, the terms and conditions of which authorise the holder to carry a firearm or ammunition in some specified place or area in Jamaica, being increased from $4,000 to $5,000. The duties for Firearm User's (Employee's) Certificate will also be increased from $4,000 to $5,000, and a further $500 per additional firearm.
Duties on a Firearm User's (Special) Permit is to be increased from $4,000 to $6,000.
In the meantime, the leadership of the Jamaica Society for Industrial Security said the increase in the cost of private security could be jacked up by the increase in the licensing fees.