UPDATE: Firearms Amnesty Receives First Firearm; Full PSA Explaining Amnesty on Website
Already in the early hours of the RCIPS firearms amnesty this morning, Friday, 1 June, the first firearm of the amnesty was handed in along with a significant amount of ammunition.
The RCIPS wants to thank members of the public for already making the community safer with this first firearm surrender, and encourages others to follow this example.
In addition, a PSA video explaining the amnesty and different ways to surrender a gun or ammunition, as well as a full written explanation of the amnesty, is now on the website firearms amnesty page.
On Friday, 1 June, the RCIPS is launching a firearms amnesty during which illegal firearms can be turned in to police through any one of three proposed ways, with no criminal repercussions. The amnesty, which is the first amnesty the RCIPS has held since 2011, will run for the entire month, up until 30 June, from 7:00AM to 10:00PM daily. This amnesty is also held in close collaboration with several community organizations and businesses.
“The goal of this amnesty is simple. We, along with all of our partners in this campaign, just want to get as many guns as possible off the streets,” said Kurt Walton, Deputy Commissioner of Police. “Over the past 12 years, 35 young men have been killed with a firearm in the Cayman Islands. This is far too high a number for our small islands and a sobering statistic.”
In 2017 police recovered 29 illegal firearms, while the number of firearm incidents on island decreased by over 30%. This correlation strongly suggests that removing firearms from the public results in a reduction of firearm incidents.
During this year’s Firearms Amnesty, the RCIPS is building on lessons learned from previous firearm amnesties conducted in 2005, 2010, and 2011. The varied results of these previous amnesties reinforced the need to have religious and community organizations directly involved in these campaigns for best results. This year the RCIPS has partnered closely with the Cayman Ministers Association (CMA), Cayman Crime Stoppers and the Chamber of Commerce, to facilitate three methods for surrendering a firearm over the course of the amnesty, which runs between the hours of 7:00AM and 10:00PM daily, from 1 to 30 June:
1) A person can simply bring a firearm and/or ammunition to any district police station, and deposit it into one of the firearm collection boxes which have been installed in the main entrances of the stations. In Cayman Brac a person can hand a firearm directly to the on-duty officer at the station. Persons also have the option of having officers collect a gun from them. This can be arranged by calling their local police station.
2) A person can also surrender a firearm through a trusted third party. Several ministers from the CMA have agreed to act as third parties during the course of the amnesty. Once contacted, any of these ministers can meet with a person wanting to surrender a firearm and collect the firearm from them. The pastor then will hand the weapon over to the police, but keep any and all other information confidential. A list of the participating pastors and their phone numbers will be provided on the RCIPS website as of 1 June. Pastors have also been provided with certificates for goods and services at local businesses which they will distribute to those who surrender firearms through them as a thank-you from the business community.
3) Third, if a person has information about the location of a firearm they can make an anonymous tip through Cayman Crime Stoppers, and be eligible for a reward if a gun is recovered.
A video PSA is being released in conjunction with the amnesty, which provides a visual demonstration and break down of how to secure a firearm for surrender, and these different options for turning it in. The video can be viewed on the RCIPS website from the first day of the amnesty, 1 June. Visit this page for further instructions on how to surrender a firearm during the amnesty.
Several community organizations and businesses quickly stepped up in recent weeks to generously sponsor the media campaign for the firearms amnesty that will be running on several radio stations throughout the month as well as the Camana Bay Cinema. In particular we would like to thank the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Rotary Central, Rotary Sunrise, the Lion’s Club of Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands Sport Shooting Association, and Superior Auto.
The RCIPS would also like to thank the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for its consultation on, and support of this amnesty.
Finally, we are extremely grateful to the three organizations who have partnered in the organization of the amnesty itself, specifically the Cayman Ministers Association, Cayman Crime Stoppers and the Chamber of Commerce.
“We believe that the amnesty can be much more successful just by having other means of surrendering a firearm available, with incentives,” added DCoP Walton. “We know that not everyone will feel comfortable dropping off a firearm in a police station, even during an amnesty. Our partners and sponsors broaden the appeal and reach of the amnesty, and also show that we are all united as a community against firearm violence.”