FLA revokes Rifle Association president's dealer's licence, alleged breaches referred to police
Major John Nelson, the president of the Jamaica Rifle Association (JRA), could face several charges, including illegal possession of a firearm, after an investigation concluded that he was in possession of a high-powered rifle without a permit.
Nelson is also facing possible gun trafficking and diversion charges, highly-placed sources at the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA), which conducted the probe, have told The Gleaner.
The investigation was triggered after it was discovered that a 7.62 rifle, one of nine firearms permitted into the island for a shooting competition in October, was left behind.
The firearms were brought in by Canadians participating in the competition on the condition that they were taken back out of the island after the event.
One Gleaner source confirmed yesterday that Nelson's dealer's licence was revoked after the investigation revealed that the dealer "attempted to apply for a permit for the benefit of a third party". The matter has been referred to the police who will determine if he is to be charged.
The revocation of Nelson's dealer's licence means that he would no longer be authorised to buy or sell firearms or ammunition.
The Gleaner was told that the dealer's possession of the 7.62 rifle constituted a breach of the 2022 Firearms Act and that the high-powered weapon is highly restricted by the FLA.
"They held the firearm and then wrote to FLA asking for them to transfer the firearm to somebody else. So, he would have been in illegal possession of a firearm because the owner of the firearm is Canadian and doesn't have a licence in Jamaica," the source said.
Section 40(8)(b) of the Firearms Act outlines that no person shall purchase or acquire a firearm or ammunition unless the person from whom the person purchases or acquires the firearm or ammunition is the holder of a Firearm Manufacturer's Licence, Firearm Dealer's Licence, Firearm Broker's Licence or Firearm Disposal Permit in respect of the firearm or ammunition.
"And then he (Canadian) leaving his gun here, that's a case of trafficking. If you bring the gun here for one purpose and leave it for another purpose, that's trafficking or diversion. It's not a 9mm. It's a 7.62 M16/AK47 calibre sort of weapon," added the source.
Under the Firearms Act, the rifle is considered a prohibited weapon.
"So, the licence was revoked," the source said.
Nelson has confirmed to The Gleaner that he has received the FLA revocation notice and that the JRA would be making a statement.
The JRA is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting at the end of this month. At that time, Nelson's four-year stint as president will come to an end.
"At the end of this month, constitutionally, I relinquish my position of president and a new president will have been appointed," he said.
Executive Director Shane Dalling could not be reached for comment on the matter as several calls to his cell phone went unanswered.
- Kimone Francis
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