Puerto Rico Lawmakers Approve 30-Day Amnesty Extension for Illegal Arms

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - April 20, 2012

Above: Governor Fortuño at the initial signing of the amnesty agreement

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The legislative bodies of Puerto Rico have approved a measure to extend amnesty for the possession of illegal weapons for an additional 30 days, according to Governor Luis Fortuño.

The amnesty programme gives those in possession of illegal arms the opportunity to hand in their weapons to authorities without penalty.

It had been set to expire April 18, but will now extend until May 19.

“Thanks to the collaborative agreement that enabled the weapons amnesty, we collected 1,488 illegal street weapons and 72,524 munitions in the first 60 days of amnesty,” Fortuño said. “We are taking from our streets arms that are being used in an irresponsible and negligent way, against the security and well-being of our children, family and friends.”

The extension came in response to a call by churches and religious communities who are collaborating in the programme.

Fortuño said it was the nonprofit and faith-based organizations who requested that the amnesty be extended, because of its success.

The process for weapons handover will remain the same, with the Department of Recreation and Sport serving as a liaison between the Puerto Rico Police and the community organizations, which have been authorized by the police assist in the collection of weapons.

“It is the duty and responsibility for all to work to fight crime and ensure peace for all Puerto Ricans,” Fortuño said. “I urge anyone with an illegal weapon in his possession to deliver it in order to save one more life.”

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