We make reference to the massacre of the 20 school children aged six and seven, the six members of the teaching staff, the mother of the gunman, not to mention the gunman, himself; all from Connecticut in the United States.
Let us take this opportunity to offer our condolences to the families of the 28.
We took the time to watch the inter-faith vigil for the lives lost in these senseless happenings, particularly to hear US President Barack Obama on the question of gun control. He did not disappoint, despite not going too deeply into the subject.
As this relates to illegal weapons, there is some contrast to what obtains in Barbados. One reads, almost on a daily basis, of persons having illegal guns and other weapons without the relevant licences. As reported, these persons appear to be engaged in criminal activity.
It is not unusual to go into rum shops, throughout Barbados, and hear people debate the question of the reluctance of a commissioner of police to grant licences for people to legally own firearms.
We hold the view that those persons who apply and successfully pass all the interviews, should be considered favourably to hold a licence for the appropriate weapon, as seen fit by the powers that be.
What could be said about this is that each commissioner of police will operate differently. After all, whoever we are, we are a reflection of the society from whence we come. Criticisms of a gazetted officer will not cut it.
There are two observations: the process of qualifying for a licence seems to be a well-tried and tested operation, which needs our systematic support. We would rarely see irregularities by those who are holders of licences to carry firearms.
We are reliably informed that the gun licence states: “Licence to have, use and carry a gun”, yet there are some public places in Barbados, where the carrying of guns, is prohibited.
Would it not be reasonable for those with valid licences to be allowed to deposit firearms with appropriate security personnel, under safe lockable conditions? This may be a better idea than leaving the weapon at home, in case of burglary or in a locked vehicle, which may be broken into, and the police do not recommend this anyhow.
* H. Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt is Director-General of the Barbados Consumers Research Organisation, Inc.