Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Business President Ben Albury is suggesting free and upstanding Bahamian citizens – should they be in good standing with the law – be allowed to obtain firearm licenses with ease.
Noting the uptick in crime, especially the incidents involving gun violence, over the first few weeks of the New Year, Mr. Albury says crime has remained at an unacceptable level leaving “upstanding” citizens living in extreme fear.
“Gun violence in particular seems to continue unchecked, despite the best efforts of the police force,” he said.
“Illegal firearms have taken hundreds of lives over successive administrations, despite promises from politicians that they have all the answers.”
The business alliance president says the DNA is under the impression that there currently lies a major backlog of new gun license approvals, despite the applicants fulfilling all the requirements and having clean background checks.
“I find this baffling as properly licensed firearms have not been in any way responsible for the gun crime that has destroyed so many lives and families,” he said.
“It is not right that innocent Bahamians are punished because of the actions of criminals. We must do away with this myth that guns are only for ‘hunting’. Responsible citizens have every right to defend themselves and should be allowed to apply for a firearm on the basis of home protection and receive a prompt response from the authorities.”
In order to apply for a gun license, the following is required according to the Bahamas.gov.bs website:
The applicant must be 18 years of age; possess the completed online form to the Firearms Licensing Office along with two colour passport size photographs; a bill of sale for the firearm and gun safe; driver’s license and identifying documents.
As for non Bahamians, the firearm holder must provide proof of legal status.
The current fees stand at $50 for a shotgun and $100 for a rifle.
Mr. Albury said he has also been made aware of an increase in these prices, which he also finds unfair.
He is thereby calling on the government to reverse what he terms the “extortionate hike in gun licensing fees” and issue new licenses more quickly.
“We right-thinking Bahamians applaud and appreciate the courageous work of the Royal
Bahamas Police Force, but they cannot be everywhere at once. The country’s record of murders, armed robberies and home invasions are testament to this fact,” he said.
“The time has come for The Bahamas to respect the right of citizens to defend themselves and their families.”