MoBay shootout shows culture of violence – Dalling
Tuesday afternoon's gunfight between two licensed firearm holders in Montego Bay, St James, is indicative of a gun culture eating away at civility in Jamaica, according to the director of the Firearms Licensing Authority (FLA) Shane Dalling.
In condemning the actions of the men, Dalling disclosed that it is for the very reason that his agency has tightened its approval process in recent times despite a reported 300 applications submitted to his office each month.
"What you are seeing in Sam Sharpe Square is a Jamaican culture coming out. We have a problem in terms of dealing with conflicts, we resort to violence and believe guns are the solution whether legal or illegal. Everybody in Jamaica wants a gun. There is a school of thought that we should give everybody in Jamaica a gun because that would solve the crime problem. The problem in Jamaica is that we don't know how to resolve our conflicts. We have a gun culture and a culture of violence. Giving everybody guns in Jamaica would resort to what you are seeing taking place right there," said Dalling.
He told THE STAR that his office will launch an investigation into the matter to verify whether the men are credible license holders and to prosecute where necessary.
"If the persons are deemed to have used their firearms in a manner not in keeping with the terms and conditions under which they were [given], which means that they use it properly to defend life and property, in accordance with use of force policy, they [licences] are going to be revoked," he added.
Dalling also disclosed that the FLA has been receiving numerous complaints about firearm holders who use excessive force to settle disputes.
"We will be implementing later this year stricter training mechanism as it relates to use of force and persons will now have to complete a test to show and satisfy that they do understand the policy. We get reports like this on a monthly basis of license holders, whether landlord and tenants, girlfriend or boyfriend or brothers and brothers. We have reports of these situations almost every month and we have had to act," he said.
Yesterday, the men clashed in broad daylight on St James Street following an alleged motor vehicle crash. They are currently in hospital being treated for their injuries. According to the St James commanding officer, Superintendent Carlos Russell, both men sustained injuries following the heated altercation.
"If two responsible persons could behave in this way, just think about the other persons that we consider criminal suspects when they have conflicts. It shows that we as a nation don't know how to deal with conflicts, we respond most times with violence when we could easily de-escalate certain situations. The gun culture and the badman culture, we believe that if a man diss we he should pay the ultimate price, which is his life," he said.