The Minister of National Security will no longer be involved in the appeals process for gun license applications under the new Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) Act, when it is passed into law.
Portfolio Minister, Dr Horace Chang, made the disclosure as he opened the debate on the Bill in the House of Representatives recently.
“We have established in this new-look Bill, a Review Panel that will take all appeals out of the hands of a single individual,” he said, while indicating that this will render the appeal process more transparent.
Procedures for appeals are outlined in the Bill, which makes provisions for the establishment of an Appeals Review Panel, which replaces the Review Board in the principal Act.
Minister Chang also noted that under subsection 86(1) of the Bill, an applicant challenging a decision by the Firearm Licensing Authority’s Board, may make an appeal to the Review Panel within the prescribed time and manner.
The Bill also makes provisions for the Review Panel to either accept the decision of the Board being appealed or refer the matter back for a new ruling.
The Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) Act, 2022, or the Firearms Act, was tabled in the House of Representatives on February 10.
The legislation introduces harsher penalties for offences connected to the illicit trade, manufacture, stockpiling, possession, and use of illegal guns.
It aims to address the challenges being experienced in Jamaica with respect to the proliferation of illegal firearms and increase the applicable penalties for breaches of provisions relating to prohibited weapons.