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HomeNewsRegional NewsGrenada amends Firearms Act to allow for 90-day amnesty period; further amendment...

Grenada amends Firearms Act to allow for 90-day amnesty period; further amendment expected

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by Eulana Weekes

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Grenada’s Firearms Amendment Act 2024 now permits the Minister responsible for Home Affairs or National Security to make an order that would grant individuals in possession of firearms and ammunition indemnity from prosecution during the amnesty period.

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dickon Mitchell declared during a March 26 parliament sitting that the amnesty period would not exceed 90 days. He said the amnesty would allow for an aggressive educational campaign, particularly among young men, to discourage them from seeing firearms as a symbol of maturity.

The Firearms Amendment Act 2024 provides that:

  • A person or individual will be allowed to surrender the firearm or the ammunition anonymously.
  • A person or individual will be permitted, if they so desire, to hand over the firearm or ammunition to their Attorney-At-Law, who will then be permitted to deliver the firearm and ammunition to the police station.
  • The Commissioner of Police designates, through the Minister, the places where the firearms are to be handed over, the authorised designated police officer to whom firearms and ammunition should be handed, and the receptacle in which the firearm and the ammunition are to be placed.

The Royal Grenada Police Force confiscated 68 firearms between 2019 and 2023: 13 illegal firearms in 2019, 10 in 2020, 4 in 2021, 11 in 2022, and 30 in 2023. More than ten firearms were confiscated within the first quarter of 2024.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the Royal Grenada Police Force for risking their lives and utilising their time, efforts, and intelligence to seize illegal weapons from the streets of Grenada.

He added, “Mr Speaker, the Royal Grenada Police Force has devoted an enormous amount of time and effort to taking unlawful and illegal firearms off the streets, and I want to take this opportunity to publicly and formally commend and compliment our hardworking men and women of the Royal Grenada Police Force for the tremendous effort that they have shown in tackling and confiscating illegal firearms in Grenada.”

A further amendment to the Firearms Act is upcoming, the Prime Minister advised.
“The amnesty is not going to last forever, and after the amnesty, the intent, Mr Speaker, is to further amend the Firearms Act, so we will be back here to significantly increase the minimum penalties of firearms, ammunition, and firearm-related crime… Laws should respect values, and we have to send the message that the gun culture, the glorification of guns and ammunition, is not our values. It is not to be encouraged. It is not to be supported. The consequences are obvious.”

The Caribbean has seen an uptick in gun crimes over the past decade, leading to one of the highest homicide rates in the world. CARICOM, in particular, has declared a public health crisis, which sees regional leaders ramping up efforts in their countries to address the violent crime issue. In Mitchell’s view, illegal firearms should not be tolerated because the outcomes can be serious.

“The issue of illegal and unlawful firearms is a troubling and vexing one and has the potential and ability to significantly derail and destroy our peaceful way of life and our socio-economic development,” Mitchell stated.

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