Shotta scoffs at gun amnesty - Says he is a dead man without his firearm
A 20-year-old gunslinger said he will readily spend 15 years to life behind bars than hand over his .45 calibre handgun during the ongoing two-week gun amnesty.
Jack*, who purchased the firearm at an illegal gun shop in 2018 for $140,000, resides in a volatile Corporate Area community. He told THE STAR that he used his savings to purchase the weapon after gang war claimed the lives of a relative and friend.
"Right now mi choose the gun over food because mi can eat the food and a man take mi two points. A nuff time all three night mi a bleach straight without food and nuh miss it because mi life more valuable. Mi a 20 now and if mi shoulda go prison, mi a go come out by mi a 35, so mi still can make life. A three meals a day mi a go get and no work. The only thing is mi nah go can move freely as mi would hope to but at least mi have life," he said.
The amnesty took effect on November 5, following the approval of the Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) (Firearms Amnesty) Order 2022 by the Senate. The amnesty is slated to end at midnight on November 19. Breaches of the Act will result in penalties ranging from 15 years to life imprisonment.
Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang yesterday said the police have not received any firearms since the amnesty was launched. Persons may hand over firearms to a sub-officer or senior sub officer on duty at any police station, any designated officer at a Firearms Licensing Authority location; or to an attorney-at-law on behalf of an individual seeking the amnesty, for delivery to the nearest police station.
Jack, who is a father of one, said he has never taken a life but was forced to return fire at rival gangs earlier this year after they invaded his community.
"A fi my safety why mi buy my gun, enuh. Without mi gun mi naked and is not like after we give it in dem can provide safety. Mi nuh trust the system, nobody nuh trust the system. Dem a say we can ask lawyer to carry in gun but how much a we have lawyer? Yuh nuh see say a styling ting," Jack said.
Chang said that once the amnesty expires, the full force of the law is expected to be applied to anyone found in possession of an illegal firearm or ammunition.
Jack also criticised the cash-for-guns initiative which sees citizens being paid up to $500,000 for turning over illegal firearms. He offered another solution to the crime-fighting plans.
"Mi feel like dem need to have a contract with the entertainer dem, some a di top ones, and let dem do some songs that lash out against crime and violence and bet that will work. Mi inna di music ting myself and mi know how powerful it is. Music will and can put yuh in a trance, so imagine what it can do to di youths if dem a hear good songs from dem favourite artistes," Jack said.
*Name changed to protect identity