Cabinet yet to approve draft firearms bill

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Cabinet yet to approve draft firearms bill

The draft firearms bill has not yet been approved by the Cabinet.

In a release from the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs yesterday, the ministry said the proposed amendments to the Firearms Act, chap. 16:01 were under continuous review.

The AGLA said, “It is unfortunate that feedback sought by the Attorney General on a draft Bill developed by the UNODC, through a meticulous and longstanding process of stakeholder engagement, which is still undergoing active consultation, has been made public and is being misinterpreted as Government’s policy. This draft Bill does not represent Government policy and any and all attempts to so portray it, are unauthorised and, a wrong representation.”

“The Attorney General advises that thus far, the continuous work undertaken by the UNODC, the AGLA and all stakeholders who have provided valuable input over the years, are all aimed at generating key insight in the development of thoroughly consulted policy and legislation to buttress our firearms laws in Trinidad and Tobago. The Cabinet-approved policy on this matter will be revealed to the public through official channels on behalf of the Government when the stakeholder engagement process is completed.”

The proposed legislation has 24 parts and includes pepper spray provisions and “transitional provisions” dealing with existing firearm user’s licences, dealer licences, permits for the importation and exportation and lawsuits pending under the previous act.

Some of the recommendations include the establishment of a Firearms Licensing Board responsible for reviewing all licence applications and making recommendations to the Commission of Police (CoP) Erla Harewood Christopher, monitoring the implementation of the act and carrying out tasks assigned by the CoP.

A final consultation meeting on the firearms control bill is scheduled for May 20 and 21.