Government would ‘consider’ holding a weapons amnesty

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A WEAPONS amnesty in Jersey is ‘certainly something’ the government would ‘consider’, according to the Home Affairs Minister, who spoke after a number of Constables called for a review of the Island’s firearms law.

Deputy Helen Miles has previously said that while there was ‘no specific cause for concern’, she was in favour of a review of the legislation.

And she has not ruled out an amnesty period similar to one seen in Alderney recently which resulted in a sizeable haul of weapons – including shotguns, handguns and rifles along with spearguns, an assortment of knives, a decorative sword, 200 crossbow bolts and a medieval flail – being handed over to the Island’s police force.

An amnesty provides the opportunity for anyone to safely hand over unwanted weapons without being referred for prosecution for unlawful possession of illegal items.

In 2006, the Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel made a number of recommendations to tighten the Island’s gun laws, which were formulated in the 1990s and passed in 2000. The group’s recommendations included holding a gun amnesty.

In April 2021, Jersey had 1,277 firearms certificate holders, and as of November 2020 the total number of registered firearms held was 8,982.

St Martin Constable Karen Shenton-Stone said: ‘The high percentage of gun holders on the Island is worrying, and the law needs tightening again.’

Deputy Miles suggested that a firearms amnesty would be one possible option open to the government.

She said: ‘Previously, an amnesty has always been tied into changing the legislation.

‘Before we changed any legislation, we have given people the opportunity to get rid of stuff that they maybe shouldn’t have.’

Discussing the upcoming review of Jersey’s firearms legislation, Deputy Miles added: ‘This time around, it is certainly something that we will consider.

‘You would like to think there wouldn’t be much of a response, but every time people have an amnesty, it’s amazing what comes out.

‘[During ] the last amnesty we had a lot of German pistols from the war, bullets – that sort of thing.’

Ex-Centenier Jim Rigby, who was a firearms officer at the time of the previous amnesty, said along with knives, bayonets and bazookas, the authorities had also received a Kalashnikov rifle in ‘terrible, dangerous condition’.

In November 2017, a gun and knife amnesty in Guernsey saw 69 weapons handed over during the campaign’s first 48 hours, including a nunchaku, a flail mace, seven shotguns of various calibres, pistols, BB guns and 607 pieces of ammunition.

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