BFP Reader David Brooks makes his point – but we suspect some of our other readers might have something to say too!
Take it away David…
I am writing this to bring to the attention of the public, as it concerns the matter of one holding a Gun License, under the issuance and thereby authority of The Commissioner of Police, to ‘Have, Use and Carry’ a firearm under the Firearms Act of Barbados.
Earlier today (July 16th,) I had a business meeting with some personnel of the Central Bank of Barbados. On entry of the Tom Adams Financial Centre I was advised of new security procedures at the centre and I immediately asked about the provision for carriers of licensed firearms, such as myself.
I was first ushered to another security guard/officer who advised that with the new security procedures I could not continue onwards whilst armed. I indicated that I had no problem with this, understanding their requirement considering security issues, yet when I asked whether they had a provision to securely hold my firearm until I had completed my business; I was told there was none.
At this time I asked to speak to their head of security to ascertain why with this new security measure there was no provision made for persons who carried licensed firearms. This is the main focus of this letter even though I may digress at times to make my point.
As one such as myself who has held positions on the committees of shooting associations, including the Barbados Shooting Union, I would assume that there would be a safe place to store any such licensed firearms and a receipt stating at least the serial number of the firearm and the number of cartridges/magazine clip contained, and the License No. of the firearm for reference, which would be used to retrieve one firearms upon leaving, along with normal identification measures, etc. Certainly a simple procedure like this would suffice.
Anyway, I met with their Security Head and explained my position, which including my lamentations on how they could put in such a security system without making provision for licensed firearm holders, which may or may not of hit a sensitive area but I am a very frank person. After a brief discussion, he told me that he could not discuss the subject any further at that time and suggested that I carry my firearm to Central Police Station and then come back for my meeting. I told him that that was not acceptable to me, as it would have made me quite late for my meeting and more importantly a waste of my time each time I had business at the centre. So I therefore left the building after apologizing to my client for not being able to take part in the meeting.
Notwithstanding all of this, the very odd thing that I could not help but notice is that the said security guards seemed not to be armed, so how could they repulse an armed incursion into the centre. Furthermore, just as potential scenario, if I had pressed my point of being legally armed and moved onto carry out my legitimate business due to pressing time limits or some such only to meet physical resistance that I felt threaten my own safety, would I be committing an illegal act to draw my firearm in defence? Somehow this does not add up.
Furthermore, I gather that this trend is moving through many other public establishments yet our legislators in their seemingly infinite wisdom have not considered the basic rights or privileges of all law abiding citizens, which include the legal holders of firearms, who may well be a minority group within the society, but then there are several other minority groups getting their rights being looked after.
I understand that, for good reason, a place such as the law courts have always had a restriction on firearms, and probably set by either precedent or common law, and now is written in the laws. However the rational for the courts does not extend to other public places which require the normal daily comings and goings of the average citizen. Yet I would expect something as a form of ‘customer service’ that a provision is made for the safe keeping of ones personal firearms.
To take this to its logical extreme, but it could be a reality in the near future, if more establishments, entities or venues start making this ‘firearm’ restriction, without making provision to safely hold personal licensed firearms, then the Police Stations could get quite inundated with frequent ins and outs requests for personal firearms – it may well be necessary to setup a special department/section for this. This could become a major administrative ordeal for the Police and for what? Indeed it only makes a farce of the legal license which has already been granted.
Of course, there are some, possible many in the general community, that will just simply go with the flow and leave their licensed firearms at home, or possibly when caught in a make or break situation will take a chance and leave it in their car or otherwise. Which is primarily contrary to the allowance and need to “Have, Use and Carry”, as per the license, and secondarily (and more serious) leaving the firearm unattended and unsecured, which may include the home too.
The question has to be asked is whether we as law-abiding citizens should be made to suffer because of a few ‘bad apples’ that are neither the ones being inconvenienced nor more importantly having their rights being compromised.
It is one thing to have laws made that are ridiculous and not properly thought out, like the inclusion of ‘toy guns’ in the Firearms Act, which I personally consider is legislation gone wild. As to whether it has gone wild with fear, over-reaction or both, it is clearly an act of extremism – which is, on reflection, no different from the acts of major crime and terrorism themselves. It is a well known fact that an elected legislature can trample a man’s (or woman’s) rights as easily as any king or dictator could, and this is where we have to be careful and watchful.
When do we say enough is enough and fight back, and by fight back, I mean stop running and hiding behind (new) laws and security regulations? If we continue like this I hate to think what kind of world our children and grandchildren will have to exist in. Note I use the words ‘exist in’ and not ‘grow up in’.
Does one have to spend money in legal fees to carry a case such as this to court in order to see whether is stands the test against the Constitution? It is all very well for lawyers in training to have their moot courts to argue and defend, but it is another when they bring this mind set into the public domain and then we have to suffer or pay dearly to see that our rights are not circumvented.
I hope that this letter will be taken in spirit that I intend and that is, although I am complaining and disagreeing with certain matters, my main intent is to stick up for what I believe in. I am not a trained orator, lawyer nor diplomat (definitely not on the last one) – just an outspoken citizen and patriot, so my apologies if I seem brash and direct in my words.
There must be some logical and common sense solution to this situation or it will get further out of hand. (Personally, I think Peter has paid enough for Paul).