Micoud North MP and former police officer Jeremiah Norbert believes there’s need to address a backlog of applications for licensed firearms while expressing the view that it was one of the reasons behind the proposed new five-member Firearms Licensing Board.
“I think one of the reasons why the board was implemented or we are suggesting the board is there’s a serious backlog of firearm applications. Several persons said they have applied five, six, seven years and they have not even received a phone call or an interview,” Norbert told reporters on Monday.
He said what was unfair.
“At least you should have an interview. If you don’t qualify you should be notified,” he asserted.
“I think that the whole idea and having a board and having the board sit on a quarterly basis would take away the problem of the long wait of persons who apply,” the MP stated.
And he told reporters that whether someone qualifies or not, they should get a notification within a reasonable time.
Asked whether given the current crime surge he expects an increase in firearm applications, Norbert pointed to a spike.
“I think we have seen quite a few more applications coming through because I mean the current climate is one where persons are fearful for their lives and they are making applications for firearms. It is putting a little strain on the police because I mean there’s vetting – it’s a process,” he stated.
He told reporters that not everyone would be issued a licensed firearm.
“We are also being very careful because we have had instances where persons who have been issued licensed firearms there have been reports where they used their firearms or they use the license to obtain ammunition to give persons who are not licensed,” Norbert disclosed.
He said he understood the need for the proposed Firearms Licencing Board.
Nevertheless, the Micoud North MP told reporters that some police officers are concerned that the discretion would not rest solely with the Commissioner of Police.
However, he noted that since the board is not yet in place, there’s still time for dialogue with the police.
“As much as we said the Commissioner of Police should be the Chairman of that board, the board has not been implemented and the police have an opportunity to have discourse with us so that some of the issues that they have and the concerns they have can be mitigated moving forward and we can ensure that whatever we do in terms of the board is best suited not only for the police, but the public,” he noted.