The Firearm Licensing Authority is the statutory body in Ministry of National Security that regulates the legal and lawful use of private firearms in Jamaica in keeping with firearm safe use and handling standards worldwide. The authority was established in 2005 by an act of Parliament to streamline and standardize the granting, renewal, and revocation of firearm licences and all the attendant processes relating to the use of firearms in Jamaica.
The FLA acts as a centralized administrative body with responsibility for:
- - Monitoring and regulating the issuance of firearm licences
- - Conducting relevant investigative checks where necessary
- - Ensuring proper and standardized Training Certification in the Safe Use and Care of firearms
- - Conducting regular audits and security reviews of gun clubs, private security companies, shooting facilities, licensed firearm holders and their firearms
- - Managing and maintaining a Ballistic Identification Database for ballistic information of licensed guns
The Firearm Licensing Authority was formed in 2006 after a 2005 Cabinet Decision 7/04 gave approval for the revision of the policy and procedures relating to the issuing and renewing of the firearm licenses. The FLA was formed to carry out related functions, approvals were given for the allocation of funds for the acquisition of new technology for the operation of the Authority, and the issuance of the drafted instructions to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel who was tasked with amending the Firearms Act accordingly.
The Firearms Act came into being in 1947 and was subsequently revised in 1967 in a vastly different environment from the Jamaica we know today. The primary objective of the Firearms Act then was to control the manufacturing, sale, purchasing, importation, exportation, trans-shipment, disposal, possession and use of firearms and ammunition.
Under the Act, individuals were permitted to own and use firearms and ammunition after applications to the Superintendent of Police were approved. Unsuccessful applicants had the right to appeal to the Minister of National Security who would convene a hearing on the matter.
On March 1st, 2006 the Firearm Amendment Act (2005) came into operation, and with it, the Firearm Licensing Authority was established as a statutory organization within the Ministry of National Security. The main objective of the new policy, implemented through the Firearm Licensing Authority, was to improve the transparency in the process of granting firearm licenses and to introduce a regime that will allow for professional, careful and timely procedures to facilitate the application and issuing of firearm licenses.