‘Bring back my gun’

MEMBER of Parliament for Kingston Eastern and Port Royal Phillip Paulwell is appealing to the person who stole his licensed firearm to use the present gun amnesty to hand it over to the police.

Paulwell, the Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives, told the Jamaica Observer that one evening in early July he was headed home, having dropped home his close protection officer, when he had to make an emergency stop in the upper St Andrew community of Hope Pastures.

“I stopped for less than eight minutes and by the time I came out I saw that the back window of my vehicle was smashed and when I rushed to the car I saw that the bag which had in my pouch with my firearm was gone.

“The bag was on the floor of the vehicle because that is where I would normally [keep it] when my security person is driving the vehicle,” said Paulwell.

He added that he reported the theft to the police immediately and gave a statement to the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA).

According to Paulwell, he supports the gun amnesty introduced by the Government and wants people with illegal guns, including his own, to turn them in through whatever means. The amnesty opened on Saturday, November 5 and is slated to end midnight on Saturday, November 19.

Under the amnesty, illegal guns can be handed over to a sub-officer or senior sub-officer on duty at any police station; any designated officer at a FLA location; or to an attorney-at-law or pastor on behalf of an individual seeking the amnesty.

“I am urging everybody to take in the illegal guns, including that person or persons who would have been involved in the stealing of my own firearm in early July. I am saying to them, take back my gun and give it in to the authority. It is a very old firearm, I have had it for more than 20 years,” added Paulwell.

With the police investigating the disappearance of his firearm and a possibility that he could face criminal charges, Paulwell was adamant that he was not careless.

“You know, these things, they are normally seen as negligence, but I wasn’t negligent. I was dealing with an emergency. I locked my vehicle, rushed inside, and when I came back the window was smashed,” declared Paulwell.

Under section 54 of the Firearms (Prohibition Restriction and Regulation) Act, 2022, the holder of a firearm permit shall report that it is lost or stolen within 24 hours after the holder discovers the loss or theft to the police and to the FLA. A person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to make a report with 24 hours commits an offence.

Section 74 of the Act indicates that the holder of a firearm permit shall ensure that each firearm and all ammunition are safely stored “in accordance with such standards as shall be prescribed so that no other person can gain access to the firearm or ammunition”.

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