MINISTER of National Security Stuart Young wants to bring stiffer penalties for criminals who repeatedly commit gun crimes, he told yesterday’s post-Cabinet briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. “I am intending to bring legislation or a policy to Cabinet asking them to agree to the increase in fines, penalties, sentences, for repeat firearm offenders.” He said this was one way to deal with gun crimes, subject to Cabinet’s nod.
“What I envisage and intend to ask to be prepared as a (Cabinet) note: a first offender, this is the level of fine and sentence that you are liable to. The second time we catch you with an illegal firearm and you are charged I would like it to go up substantially. The third time, the third strike and you are out, higher again. So that will act as a deterrent and to make it a serious thing.” Saying people caught with guns might plead guilty, Young said that while some judges might give a high fine and/or jail sentence, others did not.
“I intend by legislation to make it very, very...I was going to say draconian. To use the law to make the penalty for repeat offenders using firearms something they think twice and three times about doing.” He said it was a matter for the judiciary to decide if to dub a particular court to be a “gun court,” as pertains in Jamaica where such a court was considered in the Privy Council case of “Hinds vs R.”