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After Senate approves Firearms Amendment Act, pause put on applications to allow Firearms and Ammunition License Control Board to be formed

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries

Posted: Thursday, November 2, 2023. 4:48 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Last week, the Senate debated and approved an amendment to the Firearms Act for the establishment of a Firearms and Ammunition License Control Board.

The board will be responsible for the issuance of firearm and ammunition licenses to qualified persons. It will be made up of three persons: a magistrate, a representative of the Commissioner of Police and a chief executive officer.

But as pointed out by Senator Michael Peyrefitte during that debate, the Minister of Home Affairs retains, in his view, too much power over the system, defeating the planned purpose of reduction of ministerial oversight: “So you take away the commissioner, put in a board but the minister would have the same power over the board that he had over the commissioner, then the minister will appoint the board. What are we doing here? The board shall be appointed by the minister and comprised of the following member who has experience, training or expertise in the area of firearms. So, the following persons must have training and expertise. Number one, a representative of the commissioner of police, fine but dah the minister wah pick who will represent the commissioner, two, a representative of the magistracy. So are there magistrates who have expertise and training and experience in firearms. A chief executive officer of the government, a CEO, which CEO has training and expertise in firearm? At least unu have the decency to remove the CEO in the Ministry of Home Affairs. So you broaden it to any CEO that the minister will pick.”

Nonetheless, Leader of Government Business Senator Eamon Courtenay allowed that the entire Act will be subject to reform at a later date and the Board was created to fix that one particular problem.

But before it can do that, it must be appointed and according to Minister Kareem Musa, applications for licenses are on hold while that happens: “I suspect that the composition should take somewhere between three weeks to a month…I’m certain that we’ll be looking for the best qualified individuals to hold these positions.”

The Minister added that the Supreme Audit Institution is expected to conduct an audit of the gun license registry – when it has the time to do so.

 

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