CoP to lose sole say on guns

| 13/10/2011

(CNS): The country’s legislators had another rare moment of harmony on Wednesday when they all voted to support a private member’s motion to establish a firearms authority to decide who gets a gun licence. Currently,  it is the commissioner of police alone who makes the decision to grant or deny a firearms license to an applicant on Grand Cayman but legislatures have voted to amend legislation which will see the country’s top cop share the decision with at least three local justices of the peace and the president of the gun club. The motion brought by the opposition leader is as a result of what the country’s politicians say is the commissioner’s increasing reluctance to allow ordinary law abiding citizens to own firearms.

The original motion, which was filed by PPM leader Alden McLaughlin and backed by his colleague, East End MLA Arden McLean, received the support of the government with an amendment made by West Bay backbencher Cline Glidden to include the gun club president as someone who could bring expertise to the authority, which the opposition also welcomed, subject to discussions with the club.

McLaughlin said that he and all members of the House had received representations from their constituents that it was becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to get a firearms licence unless they were a farmer or a member of the gun club. “Over the past twenty years it appears to have grown increasingly restrictive,” the opposition leader said, about who could and could not own a gun. “Although there are no provisions in the law for it, the regulations now seem to support a policy that licences are only granted to farmers and members of the gun club.”

The current and previous police commissioners have made no secret of their opposition to ordinary people having firearms, McLaughlin said, as the senior police believe that more licenced guns on island also seems to mean that more guns can fall into the hands of criminals. He said that as far as he was aware very few private guns had ever been lost or stolen and knew of no circumstance where a stolen or lost licenced weapon was used to kill anyone.

McLaughlin pointed out that criminals prefer unlicenced weapons, given that licensed ones tend to be easier to trace. He also pointed out that as the police appear to have lost at least two of their own guns from the police armoury, they were hardly in a position to prevent law abide local citizens from acquiring a licence on the grounds that they might lose them or not keep them secure enough.

“I do not believe the commissioner of police by himself is the best placed individual to make the decisions,” he said as he called for the creation of the authority.

The motion gained the support of the government, which added the gun club president because Gidden said he would be able to offer advice on the adequate security and storage arrangements for applicants and his expertise would make for a stronger authority. McLaughlin urged the government to draft the bill as soon as possible, despite the possible stumbling blocks it may encounter over the proposal.

The commissioner has made it clear that he does not approve of private firearm ownership as he believes that the more weapons there are the more weapons can fall into the wrong hands. Although there has never been any indication that a legally held gun has been lost and stolen and ended up being used in a fatal shooting, one was used in a robbery last year. The weapon used during the robbery of Mostyns Esso in Bodden Town, which was used to fire at police officers during the getaway, was a stolen gun, officials have said.

 In February last year, Ezzard Miller moved an almost identical motion, which asked government to establish a committee that included two justices of the peace and the police commissioner to approve or deny licenses. At the time Miller had proposed the motion on the grounds that a number of his North Side constituents had made representations to him about the difficulties they were having, even as farmers, getting licenses.

Miller also told of a particular incident which had led him to suggest an amendment that the commissioner was not the best person to be making the decisions alone.

He revealed how a former commissioner of police had been questioned about the delays and refusals of such licences at a public meeting in his constituency and defended his position, suggesting that there was no need to have a licence for a 12 gauge shotgun because farmers could kill their cows with an iron bolt or a knife, and they could poison the rabbits.  “I can promise you that any respect that the commissioner of police had hoped to get from that community was entirely destroyed by that statement when one old gentleman whispered to me, 'But how can he be chief of police in Cayman, and he doesn’t know that I can’t eat rabbit after I poison it?'" Miller told his legislative colleagues.

At the time his motion was not accepted by government and the deputy governor Donovan Ebanks, who spoke on government’s behalf, suggested that licences were not being refused that often and if they were, there was an appeals process. He also said that while there were emerging and growing views on the purposes for which licences should be issued, which was not something that is prescribed in the law, government was not inclined to broaden the remit.

CNS has contacted the RCIPS for comment regarding the decision to move licensing from the sole discretion of the commissioner and is awaiting a response.

Gun licences on the Sister Islands are issued by the district commissioner and not by the police commissioner.

Category: Politics

Comments (58)

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  1. Readyabout says:

    As a licensed concealed carry holder in the U.S. where we can carry every day, the crime rate has dramatically dropped. While criminals will always find a way to aquire illegal firearms the law abiding should be allowed to protect oneself and family. Please don't be persuaded by the Mayor Bloomburg's of the world who has (4) armed bodyguards on the Island of Bermuda by special permit. The crime rate of home invasions in Australia skyrocketed after the gun ban. Just check out the New South Wales police reports. If you C.I.s can aquire a new right to posses by all means do so no one man should be in charge of a decsion like that.


  2. Anonymous says:

    The commisioner is full of XXXX they should make cayman like texas n everyones gota gun so no one will mess around. im sure you wont peep your head in my window again

  3. Anon says:

    Welcome to jamrock!! Cayman is done , and remember this is when it started..  To the writer of the above, WHY YOU people do not  leave Jamaica out of unno mix-up.   All Jamaicans love Jamaica no matter what. Our culture is very RICH and people only shoot-up and kill those who are also in mix-up.  There is no animal living in Jamaica other than the 4 foot ones. Believe it or not, the majority of Jamaicans are very very very good.  NOW, to you ignorant bloggers who are going to say, so why you do not go back home. Let it be known that I live very well off in Jamaica, Canda and the USA, amongst other decent Jamaicans, and I only visit Cayman twice per year. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Bowling at at John Grey

    The next Frankie Flowers Jr, Film

    Soon at a theatre near you

  5. Anonymous says:

    It about  time our  politician  stand up and strip the Commissioner and by extension the Governor of some of their powers and control on the security of these our islands. after all neither of these two men call these islands their home. when their tenure is finished the will find another safe haven them and  their families.

  6. BlindBillyBlog says:

    Many people have stated their fears of giving citizens the rights to own a firearm (the ability to protect themselves, their family & property).  I could argue that many people should not be allowed to drive cars.  It comes back to proper training and education.

    For what it's worth, I believe law abiding citizens should have the right to bear arms.  With those rights come responsibilities.  They need to be educated and trained on how and when to use their firearm.  It must be crystal clear of the consequences of using that firearm.  The government and police share in the responsibility of making sure that citizens are fit to own a firearm.  The government – by making sure the proper legislation is in place for gun ownership and using it for self-defense; the police – by conducting courses on how to safely handle, clean, safeguard and shoot a gun.  When potential gun owners know how a gun functions and what it "really" means to own one, they will not rush to get one just because the law say you can own one.

    The police should be allowed to carry firearms – with the same strict training and education on when to draw and/or use it and with the same serious consequences.  The training must be intense and continuous and carefully monitored with strict qualification requirements.

    Just in case you might be wondering – I know how to use a gun, when and why to use a gun and the consequences of using one. I have had intense training on handling different types of guns.  The training included cleaning and safeguarding the gun and ammunition.  It was conducted in a classroom atmosphere and lasted many weeks. 

    Gun ownership is not something to be taken lightly but it should not be left to the whim or personal feeling of one individual.


    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      “Police… conducting courses” for private persons is not something we support.  The RCIPS/Government is not the source of all knowledge; firearms education is best handled privately.  It would be better for example, to have police officers who would otherwise be “conducting courses” to be policing the shoreline with technology to help prevent the illegal entry of drugs and firearms… into the Cayman Islands.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to jamrock!! Cayman is done , and remember this is when it started.


  8. Anonymous says:

    you don't solve the gun problem by bringing in more guns……zzzzzzzz

    the short sightedness of caymanian politicians is breathtaking…………

  9. Anonymous says:

    What a sad day for Cayman. Do we really want to be like the States.


    Guns are designed to kill people. What possible justification is there for owning a gun.


     More licensres mean more guns ,mean more guns in the wrong hands,mean moe dead people ,more robberies.


    Are we mad.


    Please please think it through. !!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      In a society where there are already constant gun killings and armed robberies, the justification for owning a gun is that… wait for it… it is designed to kill people, so you can defend yourself.

      The “wrong hands” are already full of guns. That’s the problem. Refusing responsible gun ownership for defensive purposes just means Cayman’s killers know they won’t experience return fire, and they can kill in cowardly safety. This just balances the equation. Sure, a few legal guns might slip out to the criminals, but the criminal have all the funds they want already, so that’s no reason at all to deny legal and responsible defensive gun ownership.

      Yes you are mad, but for letting your youth get this way in the first place. But here you are now, so you need to to the best you can. You made your island like the States through neglecting your youth, so if you want positive changes start by changing that. Meanwhile, we need to defend ourselves from the last batch of your killers. The price of failure was steep indeed. Go take a hard look at your murdering gangsters, their ho’s and their children who are the next generation of murdering gangsters, and find a way to turn this around. Till then, I’ll take a Glock 23 please.

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      Re: "What possible justification is there for owning a gun."

      Consider the following:

      1. Man at ATM Shoots Armed Robbers.

      2. Cocoa Store Owner Shoots Robber.

      3. Armed robber shot dead by liquor store owner.

      4. Store Clerk Shoots & Kills Armed Robber.

      5. Store Clerk Shoots & Kills Armed Robber.

      6. Homeowner Shoots at thugs trying to rob him. 

      7. Clerk Shoots Robber in The Face (Video).


      • Anonymous says:

        in cayman how many people have been shot by robbers???…it is very rare…..

        if you think having guns on both sides is the answer then you are deluded and will only increase deaths…..

  10. Caymanian Boat Captain says:

    Let me be the first to congratulate the PPM for bringing forward this private members motion and for the UDP in supporting it'; after some heated discussion back and forth.

    I sincerely hope in the new amendement to the Firearms Law; it clearly ensures that "the majority rules" from the 5 persons who form the New Firearm's Authority Board. The final say as to whether an applicant get's a firearms licence or not; is to be determined solely by the majority vote. The MAJORITY MUST ALWAYS RULE or else this endevour will be a complete waste of time.     

    • Anonymous says:

      Where I beleive more then the commissioner should be able to approve gun licenses, I don't think the president of the gun club should be one of them.  This will be a problem, when friends, family and associates file for a license.  What happens then?  Who votes the president of the gun club in?  As a matter of fact who is he????

      • Anonymous says:

        As with all bodies of this type any member will disclose their connection to the applicant and recuse themselves.  If this results in an even number of votes then the chairman will break the tie.

        • Anonymous says:

          I'm sorry, for a moment there I thought you were being serious. And the President of the Gun Club, who is elected by its members, has an interest in ALL applicants – he is by definition a partial party. JPs I can live with, but the Preswident fo the Gun Club? Crazy!!!

          • Caymanian Boat Captain says:

            Let me say that I personally know the President of the C.I. Gun Club who is a very responsible and upright individual; whom has been for many years advocating responsible gun ownership by it's members. To the best of my knowledge, no firearm from any gun club member has ever been traced to be involved in any criminal activity in the Cayman Islands for a very long time and whenit did happen, it was done by criminal(s) as a result of a Burglary at the licenced premises. Thankfully, this does not happen very often.         

            Ilegal guns on the street's has nothing to do with ordinary licenced fireams holders or gun club members and if anything, the criminals keep clear of these persons and the members. For the most part, it's the hard working and law abiding citizens of business places that are being targeted by these brazen robbers with their illegal guns, that seem to be in abundance. I'm hearing that there is an established illegal "Rent -A-Gun" operation somewhere in the Bodden Town district. This should not come as no surprise to anyone, certainly not me.     

            If you try to steal and mess around with gun club members when they are at home or in possession of their firearm(s) "THERE WILL BE" a prompt response as was the case not long ago next to the University College. At the moment, no gun club member ever get's a firearm licence unless a strong recommendation is forwarded to the Commissioner of Police by the President of the C.I. Gun Club and even then, it's no guarantee that he/she will receive such licence.

            To include the President of the C.I. Gun Club as a member of the proposed Firearms Authority Board, is not only necessary but very prudent. Afterall, would it not be responsible to issue a firarms licence to someone who has experience in handling firearms ?? And so, the training at the gun club is absolutely necessary for the inexperienced and this is where the President of the C.I. Gun Club on the new Firearms Authority Board is absolutely crucial – vital.   


  11. Anonymous says:

    African-Caribbean and Africa-American cultures do not respect firearms. Sorry… too much Lil' Wayne.The guns are looked at as a way to"get respect" wheras some people would have none and to rob. You might be okay but your family members will steal your guns. How many of your family members got their pants hanging down? You want to put a gun in your house with them still living there?

    • Anonymous says:

      I can say the same for European-Americans who suffer from crimson neck disease. We love our guns so much we name them Daisy-Mae, Sue & Eileen. Nothing we love more than our guns, beer, our hound dog and our pickup truck! Yeee-hawwww!

      Feels good? I think not.

      • Anonymous says:

        These are indeed scary times as the Islands have more than their fair share of both categories highlighted above.

        Probably more in any square mile than any other place I have lived.

        Throw in the possibility of some of the above posters landing in positions of influence through nothing other than birthright, you really do have a s99t storm on the horizon.

        The route to self determination is lined with these follies, like everywhere else that took the same route, the map is marked out and nobody wants to stop it.

        I just hope the piece of pie that everyone is expecting will be there at the end of it all.

        Sadly, I think you'll find that everybody's slice of the Home rule pie has gone bad by then.


  12. Anonymous says:

    These are indeed scary times. Scary because ordinary citizens feel the need to take up arms and defend themselves, but ever more scary because of the loosening of the gun laws. It is a slippery slope from which there is NO return. Once guns are out there, they stay there.

    The USA has a gun-related murder rate FOUR TIMES higher than the UK. This is only the tip of the iceberg; Washington had around 142 murders in a year, against London with 160. Similar figures? No, Washingtons' population is 600,000 whilst London is over SEVEN MILLION!!

    These figures do not include "accidental killings" or maimings that occur within the household of gun owners, which are far higher, largely unreported and altogether more tragic – how can we forget the death of Marvin Gaye, shot dead by his own father (a minister of the House of God, no less)

    How long will it be before a depressed teenager finds his fathers weapons and takes them to his school, to vent his anger or frustration on all. Each time this happens in the US, people vow to make changes – yet it still happens again and again.

    It's these simple, tragic spur-of-the-moment or flash-of-anger or "accidental" actions which are the most worrying.

    Every criminal will now feel the need to use a firearm just because they expect their targets to be armed. They will feel vindicated for tooling up for even the most petty of crimes. You can have my wallet, but dont shoot my wife in a blind panic!

    People aren't infallible, they're running scared. What we need now is a better equipped, better-manned police force ON THE STREETS and not have to rely on gung-ho vigilantes taking the law into their own hands.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Good move.

    As one of these hit by the UK handgun ban I can vouch for the fact that leaving the decision on the grant of any kind of firearms certificate to a vocally anti-gun senior police officer is just plain dumb.

    And to the detractors – either produce evidence that legally held firearms are involved in crime or shut the f**k up. These kinds of wild allegations are what forced through the UK handgun ban and left the sport of shooting in our country in the sorry state it is currently in.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Madness, absolute Madness!

  15. I Care says:

    Dose anyone really thinkthat this decison is the answer to crime,  lets hope it don't come back to bite yah. I don't like guns and don't what one so I really don't give a flying shit wo grants a license I just say it sould be made as difficult as possible to get one.

    Criminals don't obey the law, lets hope we don't have more stolen guns when everyone and thire Grand mothers have on on the shelves at home.


    Get a dog a big one

    • Anonymous says:


      Do you mean a big dog like the ones that are also banned from us owning one?

      Dennie has one the war whether or not he loses the battle.



  16. Anonymous says:

    i wonder if this will get past the Governor.  He may take FCO advice that gun ownership is a security issue and block it.  I hope not though.

  17. Frodo says:

    I can only surmise that those advocating and supporting ordinary citizens right to have guns with the thumbs up and down on this site, are the gang members themselves. I am sure they are all salivating at being able to get there hands on them – and for it to be legal this time. Are we sure the gangs haven't formed a lobby group to petition government for this change? Any ordinary citizen advocating the right to carry arms can only be decribed in the most bases of terms – a moron. 

    • learningtospellishard says:

      Gang members lobbying for gun ownership??? These morons can't even spell Logwoods properly. I highly doubt they are becoming community activists

  18. Anonymous says:

    And you think the Governor will be quick to sign this bill?  Hopefully not, it's ridiculous to expand gun ownership.  And when you have shot someone, prepare to pack up your belongings and leave the Island, as you will then live in fear of the retaliation of the deadlegs that pass as freinds to the shot individual.  If you don't believe me, just look at the recent incidents here, and  in the UK where homeowners have stabbed attackers / burglars.  It is the start of a nightmare, and it will be worse here on these Islands.

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      People in the UK are defenseless, so I can understand why they "live in fear".

  19. Anon says:

    "McLaughlin said (he) knew of no circumstance where a stolen or lost licenced weapon was used to kill anyone."

    Does he not read the news? So is he saying that all the guns coming into Cayman from Jamaica and elsewere are all legit? I mean at one time they probabily were.  I agree with Baines on this one. More guns in the community means more gun crime. More access to guns from the public means more gun crime. More guns in the community means more shooting accidents may occur. More guns means a better chance you are going to be targeted for a robbery (in order to get hold of your gun). This is an arms race no one should be fueling.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone thought how will this work in Cayman Brac where there is no gun club?

  21. A person says:

    You guys are all drinking the American Kool-Aid. Having "ordinary, law-abiding citizens" have the right to gun ownership has never made people safer – actually it's causedmore deaths than it has saved lives. You think robbers are stupid? You think they won't have made sure to get hold of their OWN gun before breaking into your house if they think you might have one? So who do you think wins that gunfight? The robber pointing a gun at your head, or you waking up with a gun pointing at your head? We have a problem with gang-based gun crime. Give it a few years and we'll just have a problem with gun crime. Great.

  22. Anonymous says:

    And so the lunacy starts.  I guarantee that those guns will be stolen in burglaries and used on those who are the innnocent…

    The bloodshed will be on the hands of the LA

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, criminals can have them all – one bullet at a time!  Then the identity of those criminals will be known to all.

      • Anonymous says:

        i guess you believe this is a movie script in that the 'good guy' will definitely win the gun fight? 

        Wait util you read the headlines " Seven year old kills sibling with dad's gun"

        Guns readily available to civilians is a very, very bad idea!

        • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

          You’re right, the “good guy” don’t always win, and neither do the bad guys.  If you prefer to be at a disadvantage, enjoy yourself.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Excellent decision MLAs. Having Commish Beans as sole arbiter was just plain nonsense.

  24. Anon says:

    Mr Dennie Warren Jr. will be pleased to read this!

  25. learningtospellishard says:

    I'll be the first in line! Anywhere in America if there is an intruder breaking into your house in the middle of the night meaning to harm your family or steal your hard earned belongings you level your 12 gauge at his head and pull the trigger THEN you call the police and tell them they have a mess to come clean up. If I awoke to the same situation here in West Bay I'd have to stumble through the dark looking for my phone, dial 911 and then wait for the RCIP (lead by Mr. Bean) who hopefully aren't in East End or North Side to assist. By the time this amatuer squad gets to my house my wife has been raped and my TV stolen. LET ME TAKE CARE OF MINE!

    • Anonymous says:

      Great!  Just what Cayman needs!  A bunch of Rambo's with guns, shooting anyone that looks slightly dodgy and claiming self defence.  Watch for news of the innocent electrician getting blasted through the front door for trespassing.  There is a reason why the USA has one of the highest rates of murders in the world, they can all carry guns.  There is a reason why the UK has one of the lowest rates of murder in the world, they can't carry guns.  I look forward to the Rambo's on Island giving this the thumbs down.


      • Anonymous says:

        Utter cobblers, pal. Your sentiments are so poorly articulated as you pin your arguments on a one in a million occurrence. You hardly deserve a response, but for the benefit of others who find your comment equally derisive, I'll get the job out of the way.

        Guns are not illegal in Cayman (as in the UK) and the law-abiding citizens who have licences have operated within the bounds of the law.

        Murders have been committed by thugs with no firearms licences and self-defence hardly qualifies as murder except in the UK where namby-pamby human rights has turned the country into a seething slime pit of welfare state parasites. Most gun murders in the US are also committed by illegal owners of firearms, so you are making no sense.

        If you like the UK so much, just whip your EU passport out and use it one last time. We promise not to cry too much.

        Next time, please think about what you say, back up your statements with facts and stop shooting from the hip, irony intended.

      • learningtospellishard says:

        When would an electrican be entering my house in the dead of night?

      • Anonymous says:

        Did you honestly say that the US had the highest rate of murder in the world? Can you please get your facts right before you state such nonsense?.

      • Anonymous says:

        You need to check your stats.

        For a country where private ownership of handguns is prohibited by law the UK has one of the highest levels of reported firearms crimes in Europe.


      • R.U. Kiddin says:

        I'm not Rambo but I'd still rather have a gun and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    • Anonymous says:

      By the time you wake up, realize you are under attack, find the keys to the safe, open it, check if the gun's loaded-any experienced criminal has taken aim at you and will help himself to your firearm, if you are lucky.

      After all, proper and safe firearm protocol is to make sure it's locked away safely. Right?

    • Anonymous says:

      "Let me take care of mine." This means you have formed an intent to use lethal force already.  This is not within the definition of self-defence as the common law in this jurisdiction defines it.  Then you will find yourself in the dock at court, facing a judge alone trial (when this government has taken away that right with the new legislative appetite for erosion of civil rights) and you will be facing a charge relating to fatal violence ie murder or manslaughter.  Sorry but gun toting and an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and the whole world will be blind and unable to chew its jerk chicken….

      • learningtospellishard says:

        you really think a judge or jury could find me or anyone else guilty of anything on this island? Give me a break

        • Anonymous says:

          interesting that you clearly also have no respect for the legal system.   Obviously an excellent candidate to be given a gun license…..

  26. Anonymous says:

    An excellent decision, now pehaps Baines and his cohorts can stop playing politics and get back to work, because heaven knows, there is work to be done.

    Sir, I might add that you and your fellow stratospheric dwellers come down off your high horses and start mixing with, respecting and getting to know the people that you serve and you would get a whole lot more positive results.

    You have a great opportunity to win the hearts and minds of this people. Don't blow it with 36,000 feet policing.