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The firearm amnesty

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell – agreed to get Congress to offer an amnesty to illegal firearms holders

A firearm amnesty is the first action being taken by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to try and lessen the amount of illegal guns on the island.

The regime has introduced legislation in Parliament to make amendments to the Firearm Act to provide for a limited period in which persons in possession of illegal arms and ammunition can surrender them to the Royal Grenada Police Force.

Grenada has witnessed a number of gun-related violence in the past six months in which a couple of persons were gunned down in cold blood by what appeared to be the action of professional killers.

The most gruesome was in September when the alleged Vincentian drug baron Dexter Chance was executed in Woburn in the south of the island by two assassins who pumped a total of 9 bullets into him.

In legislation taken to Parliament, the Congress administration said it “intends to lessen the potential for the commission of violent crimes and firearms-related incidents by reducing the number of firearms and ammunition circulating illegally in the State.

In furtherance of this objective, the Government believes that the power to declare a firearms amnesty is one of the approaches which may help to achieve the stated objectives.

This Bill therefore seeks to amend the Firearms Act, Chapter 105 (the “principal Act”) to empower the Minister to declare by Order subject to affirmative resolution a firearms amnesty in Grenada, or any part thereof.

Clause 2 seeks to insert a new section 51A in the principal Act to empower the Minister to declare a firearms amnesty in Grenada or any part thereof, by Order subject to affirmative resolution.

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During the amnesty period, a person who is in unlawful possession of firearms or ammunition may surrender the same in such manner as may be specified and no proceedings shall be taken against the person in respect of his or her unlawful possession of said firearm or ammunition.

Insertion of new section 51A to principal Act

The principal Act is amended by inserting after section 51 the following new section—

“Power of Minister to declare firearms amnesty

51A. (1) For the purposes of this section, “firearms amnesty” means an indemnity against prosecution for the unlawful possession of a firearm or ammunition.

(2) The Minister may, by Order subject to affirmative resolution, declare a firearms amnesty in Grenada or any part thereof, if the Minister is satisfied that—

(a) the firearms amnesty may result in a reduction in the number of illegally possessed firearms or ammunition in Grenada or any part thereof; and

(b)     it is in the public interest to do so.

(3)     An Order under subsection (1) shall specify—

(a)     the duration of the firearms amnesty;

(b)     the conditions under which the firearms amnesty may be granted;

(c)     the place at which a firearm or ammunition may be surrendered; and

(d)     the person with whom a firearm or ammunition may be surrendered.

(4)     A firearm or ammunition surrendered pursuant to a firearms amnesty under this section shall be disposed of in such manner as may be prescribed.

(5)     A person who surrenders a firearm or ammunition in compliance with an Order made under this section shall not be prosecuted for having been in possession of that firearm or ammunition contrary to the provisions of this Act.

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