The National Transformation Alliance (NTA) says the Government’s decision to increase the fees for Firearm User Licenses (FUL) shows how little it cares about protecting citizens.
Responding to the proposed changes to FUL fees, NTA’s Northwest Coordinator Paul-Daniel Nahous said the changes also show how much the Government is willing to persecute regular people.
These people include retired Defence Force personnel, hunters and those wanting to participate in shooting as a sport.
Nahous, a law enforcement consultant, asked: “Did anyone stop to think that these exorbitant increases may lead to more praedial larceny for farmers, who in turn may increase the prices of their produce, inflicting more pain on the consumer?”
During the National Budget 2023 presentation on Monday, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert proposed to increase all FUL fees under the Third Schedule of the Firearms Act Chapter 16:01, except assault weapons, by 100 per cent. Imbert said they would have significantly higher license fees than other types of firearms.
In an NTA statement, Nahous said the Government is placing an additional financial burden on over 20,000 law-abiding citizens.
He was bewildered at the pace of the planned amendment of the Firearms Act, carded to take effect on January 1, 2023, without even having the correct terminology.
He added there were no recommendations for addressing the many grey and unclear areas in the Firearms Act.
“An assault on law-abiding citizens, who want the right to protect themselves because the State clearly cannot. The minister’s entire focus was on the acquisition of legal firearms while not addressing the real issue of illegal firearms, which in the hands of criminals, are responsible for every one of the record amount of murders with the use of firearms our nation is presently experiencing.”
Nahous said the Government is sending a clear signal to criminals that it is an ally willing to ignore their transgressions.
Meanwhile, it ensures that an anti-gun campaign and witch-hunt continues against law-abiding citizens while the blood of Trinbagonians floods the streets.
The Government also plans to limit private citizens possessing assault weapons and associated ammunition.
Imbert said while the Government prepares the legislative amendments, the licence fees for owning assault weapons in private hands will increase to $5000 per year. The annual license fee for ownership of an assault weapon for use in a firing range will increase to $1000.
But Nahous questioned who advises the Government on the classification of weapon systems.
“Firstly, what does the minister understand an ‘assault weapon’ to be? For the sake of accepted public understanding, a professional can only reasonably equate the term “assault weapon,” to mean a weapon which discharges a NATO spec rifle calibre, used by the military, with automatic fire capabilities.”
Nahous said uring NTA political leader Gary Griffith’s tenure as Commissioner of Police, the Police Service did not issue a single FUL to a civilian. He said if Griffith had done that, he would have breached Section 6 (2) of the Firearms Act.
“If Imbert would like to see what an actual assault weapon is, he need look no further than at his State-provided security detail following him around 24/7 or the recent video footage in which two security officers lost their lives and for which their colleague is still battling for hers.”