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Despite bipartisan support for Gun Control Board, questions remain about Commissioner’s conduct, says Opposition

Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2023. 2:41 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: There was bipartisan support during Friday’s meeting of the House of Representatives for the Firearms (Amendment) Act which will establish a Firearms and Ammunition Control Board that will have the authority to cancel, approve and reject applications for gun licenses.

While signaling support and insisting he would not “cast aspersions” on Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, Collet area representative Patrick Faber cited recent events as showing how much work needs to be done to fix the system mentioning the recent cases of Ricardo Borja who received up to 10 gun licenses in seventeen months and Marybeth Wade, who went public with allegations of bribery to obtain a license she was not supposed to have. He further warned that the membership of the Board needs to be supported by a revamped system: “So while we are moving on and while we are moving to a system that we are hoping is much better and I say that because in as much as it is what we feel that it is hard to corrupt a system with more people being the watchdogs than just one individual the truth of the matter is if those individuals selected – and I see the guidelines and I appreciate those guidelines but if the fact of the matter is we don’t put people of integrity and there is some leeway in the people who are the make of the board that if we don’t select the right people with the right integrity in terms of this body we will see the very same problems.”

Minister for e-Governance Michel Chebat highlighted that the system will move to a digital base: “I think this is important because this will allow the board to ensure that there is no multiplicity of licenses, [especially in instances] the law does not allow. But it will also allow the board to have real-time information [regarding] who has gun licenses and so forth. Also, I think it is important to highlight that the board will have the power to conduct audits of firearm and ammunition and also it will have the power to review the issuance of gun licenses.”

Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa concluded, “We consider it to be a progressive bill that certainly creates a level of structure that has not existed for quite some time, I think since inception. It adds the added bonus of creating a responsible system whereby license holders must go through a certification process.”

The CEO of Home Affairs has said publicly that he asked the Commissioner of Police for an audit of the existing gun license register 6 months ago.

 

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