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Firearms and Ammunition Control Board to be established – but will it make Belizeans safer?

Posted: Monday, July 17, 2023. 5:19 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Cabinet recently announced that it had considered and approved the establishment of a Firearms and Ammunition Control Board to receive, consider and process firearm applications; to provide regulations and criteria for the approval of firearms licensing, including training and certification of license holders; and to develop a plan for the digitization of a firearms and ammunition licensing system to replace the current manual system.

It came after media reports revealed that gun licenses have been falling into the hands of known criminals who allegedly manipulated the system.

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams confirmed that the current system remains in place until the Firearms Act is amended and the new board is comprised. He left the timeline to Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa to detail.

The Commissioner did confirm that an audit of the system would take place in due course.

But will adding more eyes to the process make Belizeans safer? The Commissioner looked to Jamaica, infamous for its gun killings, as a cautionary tale: “I don’t know if it is going to be better because the truth is Jamaica has a board, and since the board came into place many criminals in Jamaica end up with a gun license, so it became worse in Jamaica. So, I am not going to say that the board is going to make it better, we will have to wait and see how that goes when the time comes.”

 

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