August 08, 2013
Amid calls from the business community to amend the Firearms Act to make it easier for business owners to carry handguns, two prominent businessmen have said such a move could worsen the situation in the country.
Superwash President Dionisio D'Aguilar said his business has constantly been targeted by robbers.
"The American school of thought is everyone carry guns and if a robber comes, shoot them to death," he said.
"The British school of thought is no-one carry guns and if the suspects comes in, give it up and go on.
"Superwash gets robbed an awful lot, but I am not sure having a gun will, one, deter the robber and, two, prevent tragedies from happening in our locations.
"I think that carrying guns is not the solution. We have to become smarter than the robbers." Lana Lee-Brogdon, owner of New Oriental Cleaners, shared D'Aguilar's sentiments.
In December, a man allegedly robbed the company's Carmichael Road location before allegedly robbing John Chea #8 on the same road.
The alleged robber was shot dead by a security guard in that supermarket.
Lee-Brogdon said "fighting fire with fire" is not the right way owners should go about protecting their businesses.
"If it is known that you have a firearm inside then they (suspects) are going to come prepared to take care of you," she told The Nassau Guardian.
"I don't think it's going to stop anyone. What we have done is increased security. We have buzzers on our doors for staff to decide who they are going to let in.
"We also have heavy surveillance in all of our stores."
Lee-Brogdon added that a handgun is not enough to deter criminals. She said she would be concerned about a firearm being improperly used by staff, or it being used against them.
"If you are a business owner or someone carrying money for the business on the way to the bank, do I think you should be allowed to carry a firearm? Probably. That's different, but not inside the store."
D'Aguilar and Lee-Brogdon were reluctant to comment on whether they had applied, or considered applying, for a firearm.
But the John Chea #8 owner, Sidney Chea, said while the focus should remain on reducing incidents of crime, the police force has its hands full and the business community needs help.
"To some degree yes. I think it's a tough question because businesses do have people who are responsible," Chea said.
"You would have to be the utmost responsible person to carry a firearm. "...I guess the authorities would be able justify the people who are more responsible to be given a handgun."
Chea said their supermarket franchise is monitored by security guards at each location who "protect themselves", but he has not considered applying for a handgun.
In a recent interview, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage rejected calls to amend the country's gun laws to allow businessmen to carry handguns more easily. He suggested it would likely create a "recipe for disaster".
As it stands, applications for handguns have to be made to the commissioner of police and the policy has been very restrictive when it comes to granting approvals.
Nottage argued that there is enough difficulty controlling licensed guns and there are too many unlicensed guns already in the community. In the past few months, there have been calls for businessmen to be given the right to bear arms.
Last week, Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller, who is president and director of Sunburst Paints, renewed that appeal to the government to amend the Firearms Act, making it easier to obtain handgun licenses.
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