Griffith: Claim of 108 legal guns used in crimes is ‘effort to mislead’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

NTA political leader and former police commissioner Gary Griffith. FILE PHOTO –

FORMER police commissioner Gary Griffith says National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob are bent on misleading the nation by saying 108 legal firearms were used in criminal activities, including four murders.

Speaking in the Senate on Tuesday, Hinds said information given to him by Jacob was that 108 legal guns were used in the commission of crimes, including murders, and this emerging trend was of concern to the police.

In a press release on Wednesday, under the aegis of the National Transformation Alliance – of which he is political leader – Griffith demanded Jacob and Hinds bring facts or evidence to prove their claim.

“I challenge both Jacob and Hinds to present the evidence, especially (of) the murders, and I want to once again categorically state that during my tenure as police commissioner, not one legal firearm was used in the committal of a crime, far less a murder,” Griffith said.

Adding that when the authorities say things such as TT is not experiencing a spike in murders, “when every other citizen knows we are,” Griffith said it would not surprise him if the 108 legal firearms referred to by Hinds were an aggregate of figures from some ten or even 20 years.

“In the same vein, the four murders they refer to may also be an aggregation of over a decade or decades, or it may include firearms issued to defence force personnel, police officers, and other arms of the protective services, and not civilian-issued firearms, which in the public’s mind is what is referred to by the term, legally-issued firearms.

“Maybe if Jacob didn’t dismantle things like the chip card for FUL holders, and virtually shut down online and app reporting for domestic violence victims, he too would be able to state that no crimes with legal firearms took place under his watch.”

He reiterated that law-abiding citizens should be given the opportunity to arm themselves.

“Call it desperation or plain insanity to focus on law-abiding citizens having legal firearms, as opposed to criminals having illegal ones, what Hinds’ response represents, and the information supplied by Jacob’s indicates, is a willingness to do anything possible to hoodwink the population into believing that legal firearms is what is denying them from feeling safe and secure, and not illegal ones.”

He promised that if the NTA is elected when the next general election is called, an NTA government would ensure suitably qualified citizens had a right to access legal guns to defend themselves against criminals.