Today’s Editorial for May 10: Turn in guns

Today marks the beginning of a
month-long effort to get guns off the streets and out of the houses of the
Cayman Islands.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police
Service gun amnesty will run through 10 June.

During that time it is hoped that
those with real and imitation guns will take them to police stations in George
Town, West Bay, Bodden Town and Cayman Brac between 7am and 7pm each day and
put them in a strategically located strong box.

Those who aren’t comfortable going
to one of the stations can call the police department at 949-4222 and someone
will be dispatched to retrieve the weapon(s).

Still, if others aren’t comfortable
with any interaction with police in this matter, they can take their gun to their
pastor or minister.

Gun amnesty programmes are popular
tools worldwide to stem the tide of crime.

Usually they are announced
following spates of shootings.

There were eight killings with guns
in Cayman last year. So far this year five people have been killed with guns.

The last gun amnesty in August 2005
netted 20 guns. It was held because crime had been on the increase since
Hurricane Ivan in 2004 with criminals brandishing guns and acting brazenly.

Police know who has legal guns in
the Cayman Islands. Those holding such weapons belong to the gun club and are
registered with police.

It is the issue of illegal guns in
the Cayman Islands that causes the most concern.

 Being caught with an illegal gun means jail
time – 10 years.

The more guns handed in, the fewer
guns will be available for misguided young people and criminals to get their
hands on.

While the gun amnesty is targeted
at illegal firearms, even guns that are legal can be a menace in the wrong
hands.

So, as well as the illegal guns,
unless you have a good reason for keeping firearms around, turn those guns in
too.

And if you know of someone who is
in possession of illegal firearms, find some way to let the police know. The
safety of us all is at stake.

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