Call for Audit of Gun Registry Amid Controversial Firearm Licenses

Call for Audit of Gun Registry Amid Controversial Firearm Licenses

Minister of Education Francis Fonseca says there is a need for an audit of the gun registry following the revelation that murder victim Ricardo Borja was granted several gun licenses by the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams. Last month, Borja was killed for reportedly coming clean about an alleged land scheme he was involved in. Following his murder, it was revealed that the allegedly crooked businessman obtained nine firearm licenses for handguns and high-powered rifles within seventeen months. Minister Fonseca explained today that while there was nothing illegal in the act, it does bring to light the need for a moratorium on firearm licenses.

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “I think the Minister of Home Affairs the Honourable Karim Musa has indicated that that’s the whole direction that he wants to move. We need a more transparent, open, accountable register. As you know, they’ve changed the gun licensing format, the structure of issuing, where before it lied solely with the Commissioner of Police now you have a group. So I think that’s the spirit that they’re approaching it and I think they will achieve that objective of having a more open, transparent audit, if you like, I don’t know what you’ll call it, of the gun registry. If you look at the parliament you’ll know that you have people from rural communities. So they, hunting and having guns is a part of their daily life and culture, farmers so obviously you have to have guns available but I think the point the Prime Minister made, which I fully endorse and support, is that we have too many guns in the country. We have too many guns in the country. We have to, in my view, put a moratorium on gun licenses and then we have to do the audit and the review to determine exactly who these people are that have gun licenses and how many guns they have. It’s critically important. People have a right obviously under the Constitution under the laws of Belize people have a right to protect themselves so gun ownership, you know is a part of that but it has to be responsible. There are responsibilities, not only rights. With every right comes a responsibility and I think we have to have a hard line when people violate these responsibilities. You have a gun but you’re careless with it and that sort of thing. We have to make sure that people understand when they do that they will lose their gun license.”

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