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Cops want greater access to private firearm licences

Published:Saturday | May 19, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Nagra Plunkett, Assignment Coordinator

WESTERN BUREAU:THE VEXED issue of inaccessibility to private firearm licences by some members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) became a point of discussion by delegates at the Police Federation's 69th annual conference at Breezes Trelawny on Thursday.

The issue was raised by a woman corporal who complained that despite serving in the JCF for more than five years, she was unable to obtain a permit from the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA). She claimed that her applications have been rejected on the basis that she has "to demonstrate a need" for the private firearm.

Minister of National Security Peter Bunting, who fielded queries during a question-and-answer session, said that a new FLA board had been appointed and the eligibility requirements, as it concerned police personnel, would be advanced for a review.

"Being a police officer having to face down criminals in your daytime job and then to surrender your firearm and be defenceless doesn't make sense to me," said Bunting. "I believe that once you carry a firearm on duty that should be eligibility enough for a private licence," he added.

According to the FLA website, an application for a firearm user's licence has to pass through several procedures before the permit is sanctioned.

The steps include the application submission, interview and fingerprinting, security clearance and investigation, licensing board clearance, and firearm competence clearance before the licence is granted.