Jamaica Melts Thousands of Guns

February 8, 2012 Updated: February 9, 2012

Around 2,000 guns were melted down in Jamaica on Tuesday as part of a nationwide initiative to tackle violent crime and weapons trafficking, according to media reports.

The government intends to destroy around 4,600 firearms and more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition, according to the Jamaica Observer.

Jamaica traditionally has very high gun crime rates.

“The removal will help to reduce the risks of these weapons being possibly diverted back into the illicit trade,” National Security Minister Peter Bunting told the BBC.

Many of the weapons were seized in police actions but old firearms used by the military, police, and prisons were also melted down, according to the broadcaster.

The gun melting session was watched by government officials as well as representatives from the United Nations. U.N. officials are in Jamaica to help conduct an audit on guns in the Caribbean island nation, according to the Observer.