Move over Woodward and Bernstein. Tyrone Reid of the Jamaica [the island, not the armpit of Queens] Sunday Gleaner has uncovered a scandal that will rock the Caribbean paradise to its very foundation. He’s published exclusive information that shows when the island’s gun licensing authority lowered stringent testing requirements, licensed firearm ownership – hold on – went up. [Cue ominous soundtrack] Hold on to your keyboard, it’s about to get scary…
Jamaica’s Firearms Licensing Authority [FLA] previously had some awfully tough written and practical requirements for an islander to qualify for a gun. But the FLA has recently relaxed them. Now they’re more like something you’d see in (more restrictive parts of) the US. And to Reid this presents a clear and present danger.
…A knowledgeable source reveals a slew of changes by the board of the FLA which, the informant claims, has led to…”a total breakdown of the system of issuing firearm licences” in Jamaica since 2008. The informant contends that this “watering down of the standards” has placed the public at risk.
The “total breakdown” consists of a temporary elimination – in some cases – of the written test while it’s revamped. The FLA chairman admitted, “it was difficult. Senior people in the army, the gazetted ranks, and business people (private security) were failing the test.”
The qualifying scores in shooting tests were lowered, too. With a handgun, it’s now 8 out of 10, down from a previously required perfect score. With a shotgun, shooters now have to hit only 4 of 5 steel plates. They used to have to ding all of them.
Reid’s Deep Throat source is – as you’d expect – quite alarmed:
“Imagine a gunman is holding you hostage (and) a licensed firearm holder challenges the gunman, how would you like to know that the licensed (firearm) owner is only skilled at hitting his target eight out of 10 times? What happens to those other two bullets? Let’s hope they don’t kill you instead,” the source argued.
Good thing he’s never seen stats on US law enforcement shooting accuracy.
All this means more licensed firearms in the hands of Jamaicans. Before the relaxed requirements, the FLA issued 76 gun permits in 2007. The number was up to 2,386 in 2010.
More bad news for gun grabbers in paradise: the FLA’s also eliminated the medical exam and tax compliance requirements for a license. It’s a dark day in paradise when citizens can actually protect themselves. But don’t worry. Reid’s speaking truth to power. He won’t rest until this wrong is righted.