Authorities are giving consideration to introducing a gun amnesty in a bid to get illegal firearms off the streets and reduce gun crimes.
Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite made the disclosure last evening, two days after police reported a 21 per cent increase in homicides.
He said the issue of a gun amnesty was discussed just last week with acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith and other officials and a decision would be made soon on whether the measure would be introduced.
“There is a school of thought that gun amnesties don’t work. Others say that we should [have it]. I have said that I’ll have someone do the research and make a determination,” the minister said while appearing on CBC TV’s People’s Business.
“We’d have to make a decision based on experience to determine whether or not we should have an amnesty. That having been said, if someone brings in an illegal firearm we would naturally have to test it to see whether or not it has been used in a crime and, in particular, in a murder.”
Last week, acting commissioner Griffith revealed that males in the 15 to 29 age group were responsible for the majority of gun crimes committed this year.
The police chief also reported that so far this year 30 illegal firearms have been seized and 20 people charged in connection with those seizures.
Even though Brathwaite acknowledged that the top cop has requested additional resources to help fight crime, he insisted that lawmen have proven they have a handle on the situation given the number of cases that have been solved so far.
Griffith had reported that 84 per cent of homicides this year have been solved.
“You will see by virtue of the success that we’ve had, not only in the reduction of crime overall but in terms of solving many of the murders we’ve been able to solve, there’s no indication, as far as I’m aware, of the police being outgunned or outmanned,” Brathwaite said.
“I’m advised that if all goes well we should have a class of recruits starting in the middle of September, probably about 50 police officers . . .”
The minister went on to credit the “hard work by the police” for the 16 per cent drop in overall crime, stating: “The police are doing a tremendous job in solving crimes. It’s a testament to their hard work and dedication.”
Meantime, the Attorney General said the authorities were also considering whether there should be a minimum prison sentence specified in law for people found guilty of firearm-related offences.
At the same time, he has taken the position that longer jail terms will not solve the problem.
“I don’t buy into that. There’s much more required than just giving people longer prisons sentence,” he said, arguing that focus should be on restorative justice.
There has been a rash of shootings over the last few months, several of which were drive-bys.
In August alone, there were at least three gun-related killings, and numerous other shooting incidents.
And just last week, a police raid of a fete resulted in the confiscation of five firearms.