Gun-slinging scammers to lose gun licences – FLA
Several licensed firearm holders, who the police believe are major players in the illicit lottery scam but are operating small businesses as a cover, are among a number of persons in western Jamaica who are slated to have their gun licences revoked.
The decision to go after them was taken during a meeting between top officials of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) and the police hierarchy in St James, where concerns about the integrity of some persons with licensed firearms were discussed extensively.
“Based on our discussions, we believe some firearm holders are involved in criminal activities, to include lottery scamming; and we have taken a decision to revoke those licences,” said CEO of the FLA, Shane Dalling. “Some gun licences have already been revoked and others are under review.”
According to reports, in the not too distant past, unscrupulous persons, including scammers and deportees, benefited from weaknesses in the FLA structure and were able to “buy” gun licences.
Dalling acknowledged that the system was compromised in the past, allowing for unscrupulous persons to become legitimate gun owners.
Superintendent Vernon Ellis, the commanding officer for St James, who has declared war on violence producers and lottery scammers, says he welcomes the stance of the FLA because a legitimate gun in the hands of a bad person is just as bad as an illegal firearm.
“We must not allow persons of questionable character to become legitimate gun owners,” said Ellis.
The St James police have long created a link between the illicit lottery scam and upsurge in crime, especially murders in Westmoreland. The police say that while some invest in small businesses, others have become the major financiers of gangs.