Letters to the Editor: Gun Laws Need Revamping

Letters to the Editor: Gun Laws Need Revamping


To begin, I would like to express my complete agreement with the Bahamian people who advocate for stronger measures to combat the importation and possession of illegal weapons. During my budget contribution in 2019, I emphasized the need for “harsher penalties for weapons and ammunition possession.”

I proposed that anyone caught using an illegal weapon should automatically face a 15-year prison sentence, with an additional five years for each bullet. As a former Senator, I addressed these issues because they directly impact the average Bahamian. Despite facing opposition from some individuals who deemed my request too severe and unrealistic, I remained resolute in my stance, responding with a firm “It was done!”

Now, in 2024, I am attentive to the pleas of Bahamians from all walks of life who are calling for “Stiffer Penalties.” I stand in agreement with them, and my position on this matter remains unchanged. It is disconcerting that a country like The Bahamas, which does not manufacture weapons, has such a significant presence of illegal firearms within its borders. This question perplexes lawmakers and is a national concern for all Bahamians. Therefore, it is crucial to address the individuals directly involved in this illicit activity.

I commend successive governments for engaging in discussions with international partners to prevent the influx of illegal weapons into our country. Additionally, I want to acknowledge the unwavering dedication of the men and women of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) who tirelessly work to locate these illegal weapons and ammunition, thereby safeguarding lives from heinous and premeditated acts.

Unfortunately, our laws in The Bahamas are often perceived as a joke, not only by law-abiding citizens but also by those who are motivated to break them. The purpose of the rule of law is to ensure that everyone is governed and understands the consequences if they choose to disrespect it.

I, as an ordinary citizen of The Bahamas, who does not gain any advantage from it through a legal profession but rather through what is just, strongly believe that the current laws regarding illegal weapons are outdated in this modern era. It is crucial that in 2024, we are unequivocal, straightforward, and resolute in our efforts to establish and enforce laws pertaining to this issue.

Failing to take decisive action will only undermine the trust of our people in the legal system and lead them to view it as a farce. The recent incident where a 30-year-old man was charged with various firearm-related offenses and received only a five-year sentence shocked the nation. The Minister of National Security, who is also a lawyer, deemed the sentencing as appropriate.

Personally, I believe that the punishment did not fit the severity of the crime, and I am certain that many Bahamians share this sentiment. Families continue to suffer the loss of loved ones, and children are growing up without a parent due to individuals like the “merchant of death” who profit at the expense of lives. We need a law that makes it crystal clear that anyone involved in the sale, supply, or use of illegal firearms and ammunition will face severe consequences without exception. By taking a firm stance on this issue, I am confident that The Bahamas can make progress, see brighter days, and make a significant impact on this illicit trade that harms us all.

Written by: Former Senator Jamal Moss