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UDP calls for moratorium on gun licenses; Police commissioner responds

Posted: Saturday, May 6, 2023. 11:39 am CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: In light of recent murders involving unlicensed firearms, the United Democratic Party (UDP) has expressed concerns about the increasing number of gun licenses being issued. The party has called for a moratorium on new licenses and a review of the current criteria. They argue that the rise in licensed firearms is contributing to the culture of violence.

When asked about this issue, Police Commissioner Chester Williams responded with criticism towards the UDP. He asserted that the party had issued many licenses, including some to criminals, during their 13 years in power. Williams emphasized that he has revoked licenses for those who break the law, a step that was not taken by the UDP when they were in government.

Regarding the case of Miguel Encalada, an alleged murderer whose gun license application was rejected multiple times before approval, Williams admitted that there would always be a few individuals who receive licenses and commit crimes. He explained that Encalada appeared to be an ordinary, law-abiding citizen, which is why his application was eventually approved. Williams emphasized that the majority of crimes committed in Belize involve unlicensed firearms, not licensed ones.

The Police Commissioner concluded by highlighting the importance of balancing the rights of law-abiding citizens with efforts to reduce crime, suggesting that denying licenses to ordinary citizens while criminals continue to obtain guns would be counterproductive.

 

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