Senior cop warns about gun salutes
Assistant Commissioner of Police Gary McKenzie has issued a stern warning concerning gun salutes this year, indicating that those found participating in the illegal practice may face prosecution.
"Depending on where it is done and how it is done, there could be several charges. So if someone does that with an illegal firearm, then that is a different set of charges where the person would be charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition," he said. The senior cop said that those persons will be charged under the new Firearms Act and face the penalty of a minimum 15 years' imprisonment.
For licensed firearm holders, McKenzie explained that under the new legislation, "whatever fine or whatever window the judges have to use, then that's what they will use" to proffer charges.
"Where it is a firearm that is licensed, if it is done in the precincts of the public, then certainly discharging a firearm within 40 yards of the public, that in itself is an offence, and where damage is done to property, then those are additional charges. And where persons have been shot, then that too is an additional charge," he said.
McKenzie, who heads the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, told THE WEEKEND STAR that his team intends to increase their presence in communities which have a history of gun salute activity.
"There are a number of areas that we know that oftentimes do gun salutes or shots are being fired in celebration and we will make every effort to have that discontinued," he told the news team. He also urged citizens who may witness gun salutes to contact the police, and advised them to secure themselves in the event that they are outside during a gun salute.
"The thing is to get out the way or get flat or behind concrete structures. On seeing something like this, it is very important to report the matter. We have to encourage and inculcate actions that are lawful and where actions are not lawful, it should be reported," McKenzie warned.