St. Kitts And Nevis Takes Firm Stance Against Illegal Gun Ownership With Passage Of Firearms (Amendment) Bill, 2024

Attorney-General, the Honourable Garth Wilkin.
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – The Federal Parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis has approved the Firearms (Amendment) Bill, 2024, signalling a resolute stance against illegal gun ownership and use in the Federation.

Attorney-General, the Honourable Garth Wilkin.

The Honourable Garth Wilkin, Attorney-General (AG) and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, supported the Bill, emphasising its critical role in combating gun-related crimes and safeguarding public safety.

“What this Bill does, Madam Speaker, is to put the gun-toting criminals on notice. It tells the international community that St. Kitts and Nevis has a zero-tolerance approach to illegal gun ownership and use,” he said, while underscoring the gravity of high-level firearm offences, such as importation and possession of automatic weapons, and emphasised the need for stringent penalties to deter offenders.

The Firearms (Amendment) Bill, 2024, introduces longer maximum sentences for firearm-related offences, with a maximum sentence of 40 years for possession of deadly weapons and a $500,000 fine for profiting from their sale.  Attorney-General Wilkin emphasised that these measures were carefully deliberated by the national security team to serve as a robust deterrent against criminal activity.

“Right now in St. Kitts and Nevis, gun crime is the most destructive societal ill,” stated the Honourable Attorney-General. “In the past years, we have lost hundreds of young men to firearm-related murders. This is wholly unacceptable.”

He stressed the urgent need to address gun violence, which not only claims lives but also undermines societal well-being, public safety, and investor confidence. AG Wilkin said that gun violence not only devastates lives and families but also poses significant threats to tourism, business, and the twin-island Federation’s international reputation. Attorney-General Wilkin emphasised the interconnectedness of these issues.

“Gun violence affects lives, livelihoods, families, public safety, security, peace, tourism, business, investor confidence, international reputation and the freedom from fear to go about one’s everyday task,” he said. “It is something we have to get rid of. The punishment, therefore, must match the impact. We are a small society. These men who lost their lives through gun violence are known to us. It has to stop otherwise we will have an entire generation of men who leave many children fatherless and continue a vicious cycle,” he added.

AG Wilkin said that the passage of the Firearms (Amendment) Bill, 2024, reflects St. Kitts and Nevis’s unwavering commitment to prioritising public safety and combating the scourge of illegal firearms. The government remains steadfast in its efforts to create a safer and more secure environment for all citizens.

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