Jamaica: Draconian Gun Laws and Murder Rates

By Dean WeingartenJamaican Gun Court PrisonFacility

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- Jamaica is an island nation with draconian gun controls.  It has one of the highest murder rates on the planet.  It was not always so.  In 1962, before independence, Jamaica had a murder rate of 3.9 per 100,000 population, one of the lowest in the world.  It was lower than the U.S. murder rate of 4.6 per 100,000 in 1962.  The U.S. murder rate in 2012 was slightly lower than in 1962; 4.5 per 100,000.  Jamaica's murder rate in 2012 was 45.1, eleven times greater than it had been under British rule.  The firearms act was first passed in 1967.  Draconian enforcement of the act began in the middle 1970's.  David Kopel sums it up well:

In response to a sharply rising crime rate in Jamaica in the early 1970s, the government imposed complete gun prohibition. In fact, possession of a bullet meant a mandatory life sentence in prison. There was a special gun court where people would be tried in secret for gun possession offenses. And in conjunction with this tremendous crackdown on guns, they also did everything else that you can imagine Oliver North or Ross Perot doing to our Bill of Rights in your worst nightmares. They had gun sweeps, drug sweeps, militarized law enforcement, the government breaking into people's houses, with no probable cause at all, to look for illegal weapons and drugs. Every kind of oppressive measure you could want, censorship of violent television and movies, everything you could want in terms of “let's get really serious and crack down and get rid of all these silly constitutional liberties that are standing in the way of rough and tough law enforcement,” they did. What happened was the crime rate and the homicide rate dropped substantially for the first six months. They then started to rise again, got back to their old levels, and within a few years were far ahead of their old levels, and a few years later were at double and triple the levels which had inspired this kind of crackdown in the first place.

That description was written in 1995.  Since then, the murder rates have risen even more, to peak about 2009.  Jamaica murder rates have dropped a bit since then, but have remained near the top in homicide rates around the world since the late 1990's.

In spite of its obvious failure, the Jamaican government has not backed off of its draconian gun control experiment.  Currently, the Jamaican government is in the middle of a ‘Get the Guns' campaign.  It started in September of this year and has resulted in the confiscation of 130 illegal weapons and 1,500 rounds of ammunition as of a press release last Friday, the 27th of November, 2015.  That is the equivalent of a modest American gun collection.  From jamaica-gleaner.com:

The commissioner says he is pleased with the achievement as guns are used in over 80 per cent of murders committed locally.

According to Williams, in time, the recovery of the weapons will result in a reduction in major crimes.

How much time it will take is very uncertain.  The draconian laws have been in place for 40 years already.  From a story in the jamaicaobserver.com, it appears that a great many of the guns are coming from another country with extremely strict gun control, Haiti:

It involves collaboration with the Haitian law enforcement authorities due to the high inflow of illegal guns from the French-speaking island.

A commenter at the site indicates another source for the confiscated guns:

Mostly the home-made ones, and the rusty ones you stuff the nuzzle with gun powder! We need the WMDs Mr Commish!

An American who lived in Jamaica in 1961 reported that there was no problem in bringing a pistol to the island in 1960, or in possessing it at that time.

It is clear that the possession of guns is not the cause of the high murder rate in Jamaica.  It is the change of the government from one in which most of the population trusted the police and the application of the rule of law, into a government in which two sets of criminal gangs trade rule based on who can commit the most vote fraud in the latest elections.  Gun control is simply a ruse to distract the public from the real cause of the murders – a government that is allied with the criminal gangs, and a corrupt police force.

If draconian gun control laws have not reduced the homicide rate in an island nation over the last 40 years, and in fact, have likely contributed to the increase, there seems little reason to believe that they would decrease homicides in the United States, where the sources of guns are much greater, the potential for illegal manufacture much higher, and the Constitutional restraints on police enforcement of gun laws much stronger.

The current initiative to ‘Get the Guns' is reminiscent of the gun ‘buy back' events in the United States.  They are primarily for political theater, rather than any real effect on crime rates.  The number of guns needed for extremely high levels of murder are so small that they can easily be smuggled, illegally manufactured, or procured from corrupt police.

When the people trust the government and the police, murder rates drop to extremely low levels.

One significant way that a government can show that it trusts the people is to trust them with arms.   Trust is a two way street.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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    Zeeve
    Guest
    Zeeve

    The information presented here is true, but it’s only half of the story, if that. The majority of guns in Jamaica are not made clandestinely in Jamaica, they are imported from America, which produces more guns than any other country by a shit ton, including Russia. Gun control doesn’t work if there’s no way to actually stop guns from getting into a territory. It’s all part of a much bigger picture where drugs flow from central and south america and the caribbean to satisfy the enormous north american demand, and guns and cash flow back down to the places where… Read more »

    Arthur Scott
    Guest
    Arthur Scott

    If it isn’t tied to race then why do so many blacks kill other blacks in America even when our economy is good?

    Some Guy
    Guest
    Some Guy

    Because. If you had a race to run but had to start well behind everyone else, you’d be pretty upset. And that’s what slavery did.

    Logos
    Guest
    Logos

    To put it anothr way – it’s not a “black” ppl thing it’s a “poor people thing”. Same reason poor whites kill others when “economy is good”. Good economy for middle class upward doesnt equate to good economy for the poor.

    The fact someone has to explain this in 2018 shows how inherent racism is

    Jacob
    Guest
    Jacob

    The thing is though, it’s not like the poor people are becoming poorer. As an overall trend, the upper, middle and lower class are all on an upward trend. Therefore a good economy for the middle class does equate to a good economy for the poor.

    Robert
    Guest
    Robert

    Bullshit, there are opportunities for poor people we have the highest new millionaire rates ever, people have opportunities, people choose crime because too lazy to put forth effort. If you do 3 things you will not stay poor.
    1. Finish h.s. ( which is free)
    2. Dont have children before marriage.
    3. Get a job.
    These 3 things almost guarantee you wont stay poor.

    Yah Noos
    Guest
    Yah Noos

    It’s not tied to race, it’s (mostly) tied to poverty. That’s why poor whites kill each other. How many blacks in England, Russia etc. Do White americans kill each other.

    You can’t reason with racists, but anyone who sees these “statistics” needs to understand what they truly say.

    Jonathan
    Guest
    Jonathan

    Hi Mr Weingarten

    I am writing a report on gun violence in countries that have experienced gun control, to legitimise and present an argument about the lessening of gun control in my country of South Africa. Would you please be so kind as to provide me with the sources that resulted in the statistics you have given here? I am having trouble finding these things on my own.

    Kind regards and thanks
    Jonathan Wright

    KJH
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    KJH

    People refuse to see the big Black elephant in the room. Jamaica has extremely high gun violence rates despite strict anti-gun laws because it’s made up of Blacks. Brazil, where guns are illegal, has high gun violence rates because it has more Blacks and Latin criminals. Canada, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland have low murder rates despite firearms being legal. American Whites have murder rates the same as Whites in the UK or Belgium, only difference is that American Whites are more likely to use a gun to commit murder but their murder rates are no higher. . In the USA,… Read more »

    Kate
    Guest
    Kate

    White people use different methods to murder like poison which is very hard to detect
    White people DO A LOT OF MURDER BY POISON
    I know this because I am being gangstalked
    The gun is used as propaganda to put the people in fear mode and too behave
    It’s WAR tactics

    Tony Middleton
    Guest
    Tony Middleton

    The point that the reader should take away from this article is that gun control, even the most stringent kind, does NOT prevent violence. For the record, I lived in Kingston Jamaica during 1980 and 81, and have continued to travel there regularly ever since.

    Feargal McGillucuddy
    Guest
    Feargal McGillucuddy

    @Robert Henry

    I should have known that Jamaica’s sky-high murder rate is the fault of the CIA — especially operations 45 years ago.

    LOL.

    Robert Henry
    Guest
    Robert Henry

    I grew up in Jamaica, during the ERA described by the author 1967 to 1978, and I maintain close ties with my extended family there. There is one undeniable fact that the author does not address. The vast majority of murders committed are political/gang murders. The guns used to commit the murders weren’t really present in 1962. Guns became readily available in the early 70s when the CIA began running guns in order to destabilize the pro Castro socialist government of then Prime Minister Michael Manley. His party the PNP then took up arms to win turf against the JLP,… Read more »

    Janek
    Guest
    Janek

    Is Jamaica the 57th State that Obama was talking about?

    Russ
    Guest
    Russ

    Ya, I think we should hear the story of how Ross and Oliver screwed the bill of rights.
    That’s riddling me, and distracted my attention to the rest of the article.

    Pamela
    Guest
    Pamela

    Rusty, you spoke my thoughts EXACTLY; The author must have a burr in his panties about Oliver for some reason.
    Bandit makes some good points also.

    JimmyD
    Guest
    JimmyD

    Thanks for the article! Like the saying goes, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. This “Bad Guy” can also extend to include the government. Our Second Amendment is designed to do just this! Thanks again for the info. JimmyD

    Rusty
    Guest
    Rusty

    “…everything else that you can imagine Oliver North or Ross Perot doing to our Bill of Rights in your worst nightmares.”

    I will admit to having no such nocturnal projections and am curious as to what indignities he thought either of these men would subject the Bill of Rights to.

    Bandit
    Guest
    Bandit

    This is the type of gun control that our current DICTATORwants for this country, of course if that were to happen the crime rate would skyrocket to levels never before seen in this nations history. Of course all the crimes that are being committed are because of those hordes of guns that are running loose a chasing people all over the place “sarc”. What we need to do in this country is stomp down hard on the criminals (the gangs and those pesky mazlamz), if we were to do that the crime rate in this country will drop so would… Read more »