Minister says the public must take responsibility as parents and a community
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While he underscored the need for gun control in The Bahamas, National Security Minister Marvin Dames said yesterday that the issue is deep-rooted in the community given that the people brandishing guns are mostly “kids”.
Dames was responding to calls from House Speaker Halson Moultrie for an island-wide sweep for illegal weapons.
“I applaud anyone in the country who calls for gun control,” he told reporters outside Cabinet.
“We have far too many illegal weapons on our street. We definitely need it but the people who are brandishing those weapons are kids, for the most part.
“We can say that we need gun control and we do and I support what the speaker is saying, but we also need to live up to our responsibility as parents and as community members.”
Dames noted that the major issue with gun control in the country is the demand for dangerous weapons.
“Guns would not be coming here if there wasn’t a demand for it; if people weren’t making money,” he continued.
“We are very cognizant of that. We continue to build and improve our relations with our regional counterparts.”
Last week, Moultrie expressed concerns about a culture of violence and lack of conflict resolution on New Providence in particular, as he responded to the spate of recent violent crimes on the island, some of which have taken place in his constituency.
However, Dames indicated that police and law enforcement agencies are working on improving outreach and community support.
“You can have dragnet here, dragnet there, but at the end of the day what it calls for is improved relationships, improved partnerships and prevention,” he added.
“The intelligence side has been working. The police continue to take weapons off of the streets.
“…As long as there is demand, people will find a way to get it out on the streets. Part of addressing demand is taking ownership of our children.”
According to data provided by Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle, 248 illegal firearms and 3,742 rounds of ammunition have been seized for the year so far.
There were 359 illegal firearm seizures in 2019. A total of 11,033 rounds of ammunition were also seized last year.
While the data reflects a decline with just a few weeks remaining in the year, it is inconclusive whether there were fewer illegal firearms on the streets or fewer seizures.