President considers review of gun laws


[]After several recent gun killings, concerns have been raised about the suitability of some licenced gun owners to actually possess firearms. This concern is one which President Donald Ramotar also shares, and he said it may be time for a review of some aspects of the law regarding the legal ownership and use of firearms.

Commenting on the issue during a special interview at the Office of the President on Wednesday November 28, the Head of State said that in his opinion renewals for gun licences should not be automatic.

“The ministry and the police should have a right to review these, and see that the guns are in the hands of responsible people,” President Ramotar stated.

He described the recent spate of gun violence as “very worrying” and noted that there was no one reason that could be cited for those incidents, but some issues needed to be addressed.

These include the ability of the Guyana Police Force to solve more crimes and the court system’s need for increased efficiency. In the latter, shortcomings were highlighted recently when seemingly strong cases were dismissed despite overwhelming evidence and the remanding of prisoners.

“First offenders being in prison a long time before their cases come up… these things can have an impact on creating criminals instead of correcting people who have gone astray and could be corrected. We have to look at it in its totality; it is a concern and a very big concern for us”.

The views expressed by the president were similar to those voiced by Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee recently at the opening of a two-day conference on Inter-personal violence at the Guyana International Conference Center.

The minister indicated his dissatisfaction with the recent spate of violent killings, and said that he was prepared to table amendments to the gun laws to keep them out of the hands of those who, for various reasons were unsuitable to possess them legally.



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