Commissioner Williams Unable to Confirm Gun License Sales in Public Domain
The Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, says he is unable to say whether persons in the public domain are selling gun licenses. The comment comes after a story aired where a man claimed to have bought a gun license from a gun dealer for five thousand dollars. The man claimed that he was able to obtain a license without going through the adequate procedure by working with a gun dealer. The ComPol says while applications from third parties may reach his desk, he ensures that the persons are properly vetted before issuing a license.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I cannot definitively say that there are persons out there selling gun licenses. I have heard rumors before of certain persons who were charging for gun licenses. There was no proof to it but having received that information we had made some adjustments in terms of how we issue gun licenses. Again, if it is that you as an applicant for firearm license decided to go to somebody to help you get a gun license and you pay that person that you went to to get that gun license that is on you. Because getting a gun license is free. The only payment that you are to pay is to the application fee of $75 and then if the license is approved you pay the license fee of $75. Any other payment outside of that if you choose to go and give that to anybody that is on you but again as the person who deals with firearms license or who would normally approve I am extremely meticulous in terms of who I issue licenses to and even though we have background checks that is done by Special Branch I also have a mechanism within my office where we also do further checks on these persons who are applying for dual licenses to make sure that we don’t give guns to the wrong persons. Now yes there are persons out there who are trying to create their own mischief and I am not going to follow myself with them. I can proudly say that as the Commissioner of Police I have not issued a gun license to anybody who is not deserving. If you have a bad vetting, if you have a criminal history you can go and pay $1,000,000 I’m not going to give it to you period full stop. Every person who believes that they are qualified and have justification to get a gun license they can do so. Many persons have come to me, personally approached me some come all the way to Belmopan from across the country applying for firearm license and what I would normally do I would tell my staff officer to give them the information that they need, guide them and then we go through the process if they meet the criteria I approve it for them. I will tell you I have been offered money for gun license and I have told people I don’t charge for gun license it is something that you get if you meet the requirements and that’s the service of the commissioner does free of cost. Nobody can say that they gave the commissioner money for any gun license because I do not entertain that but again if you choose to go somewhere and you go pay that is on you not on the license authority or the Police Department.”
ComPol Williams further stated that he will no longer accept third-party applications to prevent further allegations. He says that the Ministry of Home Affairs is also working to improve the process of vetting and issuing firearms licenses.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “There is no license that is guaranteed. As I said before if you have applied, you meet the criteria meaning the vetting is good, you are a person of outstanding character, you have no criminal history I have no issue with it it will be approved more than likely and there are also instances where I have not approved the licenses for people and they would write a letter to me appealing the decision and explain to me why they need to license and what I would do then I would review their request and if I think that their request was justified I reconsider and I approve it for them that is something I do almost every day just like when you apply for passports there are some places that have opened across the country where they assist you in applying for a passport right? Certain gun dealers might have been assisting people and promising people certain things if you take what they’re saying to you and you go and pay them for a gun license that is on you the service as I said is free but like I’ve said to my minister I am sick and tired of the nonsense. Being the licensing authority for firearms is not beneficial to me it takes away from my work and so I’ve said to the minister it is best I get aboard to deal with it and there is a number of firearm and forms that we are dealing with currently and hopefully that’s going to be a part of the reform. I don’t want the headache to deal with it give it to somebody else to deal with I am done with that.”