(CNS): A licensed firearms holder from the state of Georgia in the US who arrived in Cayman Brac last week on a private jet with a loaded .22 Magnum pistol and extra ammunition has been fined $8,000. But Paul Arthur Grenier (54) avoided a mandatory jail term of seven years, despite not having an import permit, because the magistrate found exceptional circumstances. Concerns were raised by prosecutors in this case that while he had a licence in the US, the American visitor was well aware that he had the gun with him but had not declared it when he arrived at Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on 19 January.
It was not until the visitor, who was understood to be the owner and pilot of the private plane, was going through a security check ahead of his planned departure from the Brac that he mentioned the gun. When he was asked to place his bag on the X-ray machine and asked the usual questions, he told officials about the loaded firearm and bullets He claimed that he had not mentioned the weapon as he had not seen anywhere to declare it on the customs forms.
Grenier appeared in Summary Court on Wednesday, where he was given a $5,000 fine for the loaded gun and another $3,000 fine for the additional ammunition.
The issue of people who are licensed gun owners in the US bringing their weapons and ammunition into Cayman by mistake or intent because they are ignorant of local gun laws is not uncommon. And while magistrates have persistently tried to deliver the message that visitors should not be bringing guns with them, local customs officers are still dealing with these infractions on a regular basis.
But so far, no one who is a legitimately licensed gun holder from the US but who does not have a Cayman licence has ever received the mandatory minimum sentence for possession of a gun when passing through local airports.