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The Commish launches investigation into Gun Dealers

The police department is not aware if they have all the weapons as it had not yet received an inventory from Victor L. Bryant. This has opened a can of worms in the gun industry. The commissioner has launched an inquiry into the company as other sellers of weapons to confirm whether or not their facilities meet the required standard. But from what he said at today’s conference, the zinc structure at Victor L. Bryant does not appear not to impress the Compol.

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “In respect to the Police ascertaining exactly how much firearms may be missing. I have directed Senior Superintendent Ramirez who is the Officer in charge of the Dangerous Good Units here in Belmopan whose task is to ensure that gun dealers are inspected on a regular basis to go down to Belize City. He is currently in Belize City and he is doing and inventory of Victor L. Bryant as well as to do an in depth inspection of the premises to see whether or not the premises is conducive to a place where firearms are supposed to be kept, especially firearms in large quantity so by the end of the day today we will be able to know if we have recovered all that is missing. When you are a licensed firearm holder you have a heavy responsibility in ensuring that your firearm is not lost or stolen or to be used by unauthorized persons in the commission of any act. When you are a firearm dealer that responsibility is multiplied tenfold and from what I saw on the scene this morning the structure that houses Victor L. Bryant’s gun dealer is not suitable. The law is that you must have a safe place, basically a strong house to be able to store firearms, especially firearms of the magnitude that Victor L. Bryant had. The fact that the building is just a zinc building and the main entrance door is practically made of plywood surely the building is not conducive for firearms to be kept and as result of that I directed Mr. Ramirez to do the proper inspection and we have taken into our custody all firearms that were in kept at Victor L. Bryant so those firearms are now in the custody of the Police. I have tasked Mr. Ramirez to prepare for me his inspection report and based on that I will be writing Mr. Galaty to show reasons why his gun dealers licensed should not be revoked and if satisfactory reason cannot be given then his gun dealer license will be revoked. We cannot have people who are supposed to be responsible doing things that will create havoc in our society. What happened there is a breach of national security. Imagine having these amount of firearms and ammunition on the streets of Belize City or anywhere in the country. We really and truly have to take a serious look at gun dealers to ensure that they are in compliance with the law as it relates to how firearms and ammunitions are to be kept and I am sounding the warning now that we will be doing inspections at the other gun dealers to ensure that there is conformity as it relates to how these firearms and ammunitions are to be kept by them before they are sold to any persons who would want to go and buy from them. Whenever any of the gun dealers bring firearms into the country it has to go through customs and so customs would have an inventory of all the firearms that they would have brought in and then the firearm is supposed to have a ledger where he entered every firearm that is being sold and who the firearm is being sold to and then he will also have to have a copy of the firearm license approval to show that the person to whom the firearm was sold does have a firearm license so I think the system there is not too bad but there’s still things that need to be done to strengthen certain aspect of the process and we will be looking at that to ensure that we can have a more check and balance system as it relates to these gun dealers in Belize. The manner in which the firearms were kept within the building is totally inappropriate to say the least and for us that is of serious concern. We would want to imagine that every gun dealer who would have that amount of firearms within their premises that those firearms will be kept within a strong house. Not just in a building open. It is far from acceptable.”

The Compol said a week ago, the owner of the business told them that there was a burglary at the building but nothing was stolen.