Amid a spiraling crime wave and one day after Government disclosed the receipt of information about a “potential domestic security threat” and launched a joint service operation, Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud has disclosed that the Police Force is looking into allegations of certain security companies renting licensed firearms to individuals not authorised to carry weapons.
In a video released by the Ministry of the Presidency, Persaud explained that certain security services that are inherent to business entities are being used for unlawful purposes.
“Right now, we have a murder investigation going on and one of the lines of enquiry is that a licensed firearm holder, (who) has a number of firearms for a security company, is renting those guns to persons who are not licensed and who are not authorised to carry them. And one such incident resulted in the death of a person – a murder – that we are investigating,” Persaud stated.
According to the Commissioner, the Police have been hearing about this unlawful practice in many other cases. He noted too that the Police Commissioner has the authority under the Private Security Act to conduct audits at the entities in light of such allegations.
However, the Top Cop recognised that more resources will be needed so that Police can conduct these audits more frequently and spontaneously to obtain evidence of what is happening.
This issue of gun rentals was raised last week by President David Granger, who said on “The Public Interest” programme earlier this month that private licensed firearm holders are renting their weapons to criminals.
To this end, the Head of State posited that he would like to have firearms be taken out of the hands of private citizens, noting that only law enforcement should be carrying weapons.
“We would like to see fewer weapons in the hands of private citizens. It is my personal view that weapons should be used by law enforcement agencies… We have heard stories now where legitimate firearm licences holders who rent their weapons out to criminals who will go rob somebody and maybe give them a part of the booty,” the President said just over a week ago.
The President came in for much criticism over this statement, with many saying that licensed firearm holders use their weapons to protect themselves, families and businesses.
In fact, one day prior to the President making the comment, a miner shot and killed a bandit, Elijah De Florimonte, 20, who along with another, attempted to break into his 5th Avenue, Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara, house.
According to reports, at about 02:15hrs on November 2, a 38-year-old miner was awoken by loud noises in the lower flat of his house and upon investigating saw two males, one armed with a handgun, attempting to gain entry via a southern door.
He raised an alarm and during this process, discharged his licensed firearm at the bandits, hitting one of them, whilst his accomplice who was also armed managed to scale the fenced yard and escape.