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Gun Amnesty for July

Law Enforcement 26 Jun, 2024 Follow News

Chief Superintendent Brad Ebanks

For the entire month of July, the RCIPS is holding a National Gun Amnesty, working with key partners and stakeholders who are taking a stand against illegal guns in Cayman, aiming to appeal to those who have access to, or are aware of, illegal guns, in order to get them off the streets.

This was because of the recent uptick in crimes being committing using illegal firearms which had escalated into violent incidents with obvious disregard for the safety of the community, the RCIPS said.

The National Gun Amnesty will run from 1 to 31 July, 2024 and is the first gun amnesty being held in Cayman since June 2018, when 18 firearms were surrendered along with just under 900 rounds of ammunition. Other weapons, including a crossbow and flare guns, were also surrendered at that time.

This year’s campaign is being led by Chief Superintendent Brad Ebanks who said the amnesty would let those who possessed illegal guns, ammunition and any other types of illegal weapons, to hand them over to the police, without having to fear being prosecuted for possession of the firearm.

“We are giving these people an opportunity to reject a lifestyle that can end in only one of two ways: death or prison,” he warned.  “The results from the last amnesty should give us an idea that this is an effective method of serving our community and protecting our families.”

Commissioner of Police Kurt Walton said there were around 90 firearms outstanding in the community that had been used to commit crimes, which had not yet been recovered by the police.

“If you have access to these guns, I am appealing to you to hand them over and make our islands a safer place for our children, our youth, our elderly and other vulnerable members of our community,” he said, “In addition to maintaining a safe space for our visitors to enjoy, even more important is ensuring that the people who live and work here are safe in going about the business of living their lives.”

The police said the amnesty gave people who could be innocent custodians of a weapon and possibly even unsure of its legal status, a safe and straightforward way to dispose of the item by handing it over to the police.

The amnesty will be active between the hours of 7:00am to 7:00am, and anybody handing in guns will need to package them in a specific manner: any ammunition should be removed from the gun and packaged separately, also in paper or plastic. The gun itself should be wrapped in paper or a plastic bag and taped securely. If being transported by vehicle, the gun should be placed in the trunk of the vehicle, and where it is out of reach of the occupants. The gun should also be taken to the nearest designated location. For example, persons transporting a gun from Bodden Town should not be carrying it to the West Bay Police Station.

Chief Superintendent Ebanks confirmed 12 firearms had been seized by the RCIPS this year so far and eight people had been arrested and charged for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

“Persons caught with a gun outside of the conditions of the Amnesty conditions will remain subject to prosecution for possession of an unlicensed firearm, and can face a minimum sentence of ten years if convicted,” he advised. “I know there are persons out there that are in possession of unlicensed firearms who have realised, this is not a good idea. This is now your opportunity to do right thing and walk away.”

The various options for handing in a firearm are:

*   Option 1 - Drop Off:

Guns can be handed in to any police station. There are drop boxes in place at the West Bay, Bodden Town, and Little Cayman Police Stations, in which guns (properly packaged) may be placed. There are no drop boxes at the George Town or Cayman Brac, or East End Police Stations, and so persons should call 936-8026 to make drop off arrangements at these stations.

*   Option 2 - via a Trusted Third Party:

Guns can be handed in to a trusted third party, consisting of pastors, elected members, and community leaders, all of whom are listed on the RCIPS website at www.rcips.ky/gunamnesty. The list is also provided as an attachment to this press release. These third parties will then arrange for the gun to be immediately handed over to the police.

*   Option 3 - via Cayman Crime Stoppers:

Persons can submit a tip about the location of a gun to Cayman Crime Stoppers at www.caymancrimestoppers.com>  or by downloading the Cayman Crime Stoppers app. This information will be passed on to the police who will collect the weapon.

*   Option 4 - Arrange Collection:

Persons can arrange collection of a gun by calling 936-8026, any police station, or by contacting a police officer that they know and trust.

The Amnesty is also being supported by an advertising campaign featuring online and digital billboard ads, as well as local media, to familiarise the public with the parameters of the amnesty and various options for handing in guns.

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