Fake guns are a real problem - FLA warns artistes to know the rules
Days after dancehall entertainer Kalado was brought in for questioning by the police for having prop guns in his possession, the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) is advising artistes to access the necessary information regarding the use of firearms as props in music videos.
A photo, which showed Kalado seated behind a desk of guns, quickly went viral, prompting some to believe the firearms were real.
Subsequent investigations by the Spanish Town Criminal Investigative Branch revealed that the 'weapons' were indeed fake.
But the FLA says artistes and music producers can avoid being brought in for questioning by the authorities in the future, by obtaining the necessary paperwork through the Ministry of National Security, allowing them to use guns as props in their creative work.
UNDERSTAND THE REPERCUSSIONS
Speaking with The STAR on the issue, Toni-Ann Kelly, corporate communications representative at the FLA, explained that artistes may not fully understand the repercussions they face if they fail to receive clearance from the necessary authorities to use these weapons as props.
"There is a lot of information available but people don't access the information they need. Music producers would know based on being in the industry for a number of years what they would need to get for their work. Entertainers may not know but the information is there for everyone to access. Agencies like the FLA and JAMPRO are a phone call away and entertainers should go get it," she said.
Kelly said that if a person is found in possession of imitation firearms such as water guns, the onus is on them to explain to the lawmen what they would be using those for.
"A lot of them (artistes) don't know the ramification for certain things. Like Kalado with his guns, were it a case where he could not prove that they were going to be used for lawful reasons, he would be facing charges under the Firearms Act of up to $1 million or imprisonment of up to five years," she said.
Last year, concerns about entertainers brandishing guns in their music videos were also brought to the fore following the release of Alkaline's After All music video.
At the time, then head of the Corporate Communications Unit in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Stephanie Lindsay, said the practice was becoming increasingly common and warned artistes that the authorities would be looking into more of the music videos being released by them.
She explained that aside from charges being laid against entertainers who did not present the proper paperwork (giving them permission to use these weapons as props), guns in music videos was, in her opinion, "Not a positive representation of the music industry".