Editorial for 2 August: Will cash for guns work?

 

The fact that local police are now offering cash for
unwanted, unlicensed or illegal firearms is something of a sad comment on the
current state of affairs in the Cayman Islands, we at the Caymanian Compass
feel.

If this programme is successful in getting people to turn in
weapons – as the July gun amnesty programme largely was not – we suppose we must
feel some progress has been made.

However, it is also a legitimate line of questioning, in our
view, to examine what exactly might be the unintended results of such a
programme.

First, if such weapons can be obtained more cheaply in other
countries and then taken to Cayman for exchange, the cash-for-guns proposal
could – at least in theory – create a glut of weapons in the market; a result
directly opposite of what the police hope to achieve.

Second, if people aren’t jumping at the chance to collect
the $40,000 now being offered in connection with the 13 July shooting of
Medsadie Connor, for example, what makes police think someone will turn in a
weapon for a measly $200?

Third, what if someone brings in a weapon that can later be
proved to have been involved in a crime?

The problems that could arise from such a gun
amnesty/cash-for-guns effort are significant. We hope they don’t ultimately
become worse than the ones police are now trying to solve.

 

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