Above: Governor Luis Fortuño
By the Caribbean Journal staff
A firearms collection push spearheaded by Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño has netted a total of 1,966 weapons and 100,129 munitions, according to the island’s government.
A collection drive was held in Puerto Rico over a 90-day period.
“Today, we see the fruits of the effort and commitment of hundred of volunteers who took to the streets to bring a message of hope and overcoming to those who went on a bad path,” Fortuño said, thanking the community and religious leaders who joined the initiative.
“We have rid our streets of nearly 2,00 weapons and over 100,000 munitions throughout the island — this means there are 2,000 fewer weapons that could be used for aggression and violence on our streets.”
The drive included amnesty for those who turned in weapons during the period. According to Fortuño, the last time the island conducted an illegal weapons amnesty drive, the government collected just 12 weapons in 2004.
Fortuño used the occasion to point to several anti-crime initiatives undertaken by his government, including the amendment to the right to bail, to take criminals off the streets.
“We will fight for you to give back the piece that you deserve, and to take criminals out of our communities,” Fortuño said.
It was the religious sector that was a key to the collection drive, according to Secretary of the Department of Recreation and Sport, Henry Neumann.
“Thanks to them, but, more importantly, the cooperation of citizens, this amnesty created awareness for many, recovering weapons and rescuing souls,” he said. “It was hard work but a lot of personal satisfaction.”
The program was extended in April for another 30 days.