16 firms issued with firearm licences from Aug 2020 to Sept 2021
A total of 16 security companies were issued with firearm licences for the period August 2, 2020, to September 28, 2021.
This was announced by Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn in response to a question submitted by Opposition Member of Parliament Geeta Chandan-Edmond.
Chandan-Edmond asked “Can the Honourable Minister state the number of security companies that were issued with firearm licences, since 2nd August 2020 to present?”
No other questions were asked and no other information was provided. Reports indicate that there are more than 4500 registered pistols, 3000 registered shotguns, and 3047 registered rifles by the Guyanese public.
In October 2021, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall posited that firearm licences should be granted more liberally. He was at the time speaking about the granting of personal firearm licences.
According to reports, there is a three-stage process for firearm licensing. It begins with an application letter being sent to the Divisional Commander, who assigns a rank to check on the applicant’s character in his or her community. The application is then sent to the Commissioner’s Office to ensure that the applicant has no previous antecedents or convictions.
The application then goes to the Firearm Licensing Board. It is then decided, at that stage, whether the applicant is fit. If so, the application is sent to the Minister for the final stamp of approval.
Meanwhile, in November, President Dr Irfaan Ali had announced that the laws will be amended to ensure there is a higher penalty in place for persons who unlawfully possess firearms.
He said the Government will grant a period of amnesty for persons in possession of illegal firearms to turn them over. But when this period expires and the amended law comes into play, the Head of State warned that those individuals will face stiffer penalties.