• The San Juan Daily Star

Senator: Fines on gun licensees not going to police

Sen. Henry Neumann Zayas

By John McPhaul

Sen. Henry Neumann Zayas said Tuesday that during a public hearing, noncompliance with the new Weapons Law came to light because the money from gun license fines does not reach the Puerto Rico Police Bureau.

“The person who directs the Office of Firearms Licensing in the Police today told us that in the four years that he has been in the office, the average received for the operation of the office is between $500,000 and $700,000,” Neumann Zayas said in a written statement. “Here it came to light that there is a conflict with the Law because according to my calculations, almost $13 million should be received as a result of the licensing, of the vouchers that must be acquired in order to have the licenses.”

Another fact the senator noted is that it emerged from the presentation of the Police Bureau that it was not possible to specify the amount that is collected and if in fact the money earned from the fines is transferred.

Johnny Acevedo, a lieutenant and director of the Weapons Division, said people who do not renew their weapons license on time are fined $300. But he said he does not have the exact amount that is generated as a result of the fines and it is not clear if such a transfer is actually made to the Office of Firearms Licensing.

Neumann Zayas said that “according to my calculations we are talking about around $18 million that should come in as a result of the work done by that office.”

“However, it receives $500,000 to $700,000 a year and yet the Law tells us that all that money must be used in that office,” the senator said. “What is even more interesting is that the government tax agencies have told us in public hearings that with $17 million a year the problem of the pension of the Puerto Rico Police is solved. Here we have $18 million annually, a product of firearms licensing. So what has emerged from this public hearing today is extremely interesting.”

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