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Need For Anti-Arms Trafficking

EDITOR, The Tribune.

We have no shortage of public speakers who are speaking out against the rampant homicides and other forms of gun crimes since the 1980s, but we have a shortage of people that understands this problem and are willing to tackle it head on.

Time and time again, the police have seized various firearms ranging from handguns to rifles and explosives. You’ll think after going through decades of illegal arms smuggling that there would be a proper strategy to control this crisis, but nothing’s been done.

As 2021 began, the first days of January were met with a spike in homicides and like with every other societal and national crisis, the mentality of the police usually acts like “Business as usual” when it comes to gun homicides. Apparently the police have long since given up on crime fighting and we are also losing the drive on protecting civilians.

When it comes to these recent murders, it’s becoming less and less about domestic disputes and more like hit men killings where they put a bounty on rivals and have someone assassinated for cash and gang recognition. Police officers had seen more military weaponry since 2010 and it has become more frequent. When it comes to the criminal underworld in the Bahamas, illegal arms smuggling and contract killings are the real security threat that we’ve ignored for too long.

Now the question is: How do we fight it?

The first thing is to investigate our Customs department and the Defence Force, as foreign yachts (especially from Florida) aren’t actively searched when they cross into Bahamian waters as well as cruise ships, cargo ships, private jets and marina docks. Not all of them will carry illegal contraband but not searching any vessel or aircraft leaves us open to further problems down the road to arms smugglers to Mexican drug cartels having full reign. The RBDF and Customs are tasked to guard the Bahamas from any threat and we must be sure if they’re doing their jobs.

If it goes well, the next thing the nation should do is enact three laws. The first is to ban the import of foreign guns and if the arms manufacturers want to sell firearms to this country, then they have to become registered under a special corporate designation and build an assembly facility in the country so that we can track the legal firearms more accurately. In short, the manufacturers would have to establish themselves here first before any firearms sales can go forward and we can monitor and regulate firearms currently out on the streets.

The second law is to make a law that states that everyone who wishes to own a gun, must spend five years in law enforcement and the RBDF and must undergo training and extensive psychological screening and tests on a monthly basis. That way, the authorities can weed out individuals on who can or shouldn’t own firearms or join any national security roles.

The third and arguably the most important law to curb gun crimes is to make illegal arms smuggling as the highest criminal offence besides murder. No one can bring in any guns through airports, marinas and cruise ships without approval from both the government and arms manufacturers themselves and those who deliberately buy an illegal firearm once will have to spend 11 years minimum, and those who run an illegal arms smuggling ring will have to face at least 25 to 30 years minimum for the offence. That way, people will have to take a long hard look at their decisions. While discouraging others from making that mistake.

There’s no easy way to absolve gun violence and these laws will have to be strictly enforced, but these families can’t handle any more suffering of losing financial security and the lives of their loved ones. If these laws become reality, then it’ll help the families of the victims find it easier to cope, knowing that there is still a place for true justice.

AMMAKA RUSSELL

Nassau,

February 14, 2021.

Comments

hrysippus 2 weeks, 1 day ago

The suggestions proposed by this letter writer are wrong on so many levels. The first suggestion that 5 years in the police or Defence forces should be a prerequisite seems to ignore the current arrest of 2 officers last week on rape charges and the dozens of officers dismissed for various unsavory reasons. Having been a member of one of the State Security Forces does not automatically make you a good person. It is very rare that anyone who has been granted a license to posses a shotgun is charged with a crime involving the use of that shotgun. The suggestion that the firearms should be produced in this country makes about as much sense as suggesting that all the laptop computers made in this country must be made here using silicon chips also made here. How a gun made here is somehow more easily traced than one manufactured in another country escapes me completely. This country will continue to have a problem with illegal firearms as long as the USA continues to allow hundreds of thousands of them to circulate with zero regulation.

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proudloudandfnm 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Exactly. The US addiction to guns is the root of the problem... Americans need a new hobby...

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FrustratedBusinessman 2 weeks, 1 day ago

I agree with the third suggestion of stiffening sentences for those convicted of firearm offenses. For as much as they are derided, China and Iran put the literal fear of death in the heads of drug smugglers via execution if caught, and while we may not need to go to that extreme, harsher punishments definitely do work as deterrents.

The second suggestion is just garbage. The Bahamas is living proof that gun control doesn't work and is only pushed by politicians as a means of declawing their citizenry. Legal gun owners here aren't the issue, nobody is out there committing crimes with 8-20 gauge shotguns or .22 LR rifles. Instead, we have criminals running around with M4/M16s, AK pattern rifles, and military calibre handguns, all prohibited from ownership by the common citizenry.

Regarding the first suggestion, our borders are impossible to defend to that extent. The same problem exists with illegal immigration from Haiti, there is no way to monitor every square mile of water simultaneously. Us being an archipelago all but ensures that smugglers will always find a way if they need to, as history has shown through the drug trade of the 80s, Prohibition, Civil War blockade running, etc.

Imo, we need to focus on restoring our family values and sense of community within this nation if we want to make headway in the fight against gang violence/crime in this country. Community members need to hold each other accountable and look out for our young men/women in order to catch them before they drift too far into that lifestyle. Once you are in, there are only two ways out : death or jail, with jail leading to death eventually. We need to focus on catching the youths before they get to that point, not after. Prevention is better than a cure.

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proudloudandfnm 2 weeks ago

Gun control does work that fact is not debatable. If the US would implement strict gun control our gun problems would be much less. The problem for us and Canada and the southern Caribbean is the gun happy US. They need to get real on guns fast....

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