Three legislative motions generally asking for greater rights to self-defence and individual protection were approved earlier this week by local lawmakers after some changes were made to those proposals.
The first motion, brought by Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin, sought to legalise chemical sprays such as pepper spray, mace and tear gas for self-protection. Currently, those items are illegal for sale in the Cayman Islands.
During debate on the proposal, ruling government members amended the motion to require users of pepper sprays or mace obtain a licence from the police prior to using such items. Also, the section of the motion that sought to legalise tear gas was removed.
The second motion, also from Mr. McLaughlin, proposed what would essentially be a dilution of the local police commissioner’s sole discretion over who can own a firearm.
The motion sought to establish a committee of at least four, including the police commissioner, and three local justices of the peace appointed by the governor.
The committee – called the Firearms Authority in the motion – would then decide on private firearms ownership applications.
The second motion was also changed to add a fifth member to the proposed authority; the president of the Cayman Islands Sports Shooting Association.
A third motion brought by George Town MLA Kurt Tibbetts asked local laws be amended to allow security guards non-lethal means of protection, including bullet-proof vests, batons, handcuffs, pepper spray, mace and tear gas. Tear gas was again removed from the motion following amendments by the ruling government.
The motion was also changed to remove a section that looked to allow firearms licences to be issued to properly trained private security personnel.
Cayman’s Private Security Services Law already gives the government the ability to provide firearms licences to private security services meeting criteria to obtain those weapons.
Private members motions passed in the Legislative Assembly are not legally binding.
Rather, the motions are considered advisory to the ruling government, which can then choose the manner and time in which it acts upon approved motions.