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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection


by Ed
May 2007

Many people would be surprised how often we get asked this question.

The answer is an emphatic NO - you should not bring a gun into The Caribbean, or any other popular cruising ground.

'The right to bear arms' is strictly a U.S. concept and is not recognized by most other major powers. The British Virgin Islands, not surprisingly, have been influenced by Britain's policies. When you enter the BVI, you will be asked to leave any firearms with customs while you are in the islands. If you misguidedly ignore this and are caught with a weapon in your possession, you will almost certainly go to jail. Superintendent James, at the Royal BVI Police Headquarters said the normal sentence is five years. It does not happen very often, but occasionally "someone assumes we will not be inspecting his luggage". The new BVI jail is certainly better than the old one, which can still be seen in the center of town, but it is still no picnic! Without easy access to sympathetic U.S. lawyers, regaining your freedom is harder than you might think.

We cannot stress enough, that other countries have very different policies to the U.S. when it comes to drugs and guns. Quoting the 'Economist' magazine, the new wave of powerful semi-automatic guns "are available only to police, in virtually every other country, but can be bought over the counter in America". Any civilian bringing a remotely similar weapon into almost any popular charter cruising ground, even if they declare it, would immediately be labeled as suspicious. Most people in these areas do not feel that an increase in the number of guns carried by the general public makes an area safer, and point to the U.S. as proof. Please respect their views and leave any weapons at home. If you have to bring a gun while traveling, ALWAYS declare it when you enter the country.

It is true that anyone looking for trouble can find it wherever they go in the world, but The Caribbean is a remarkably safe place for travelers. Crimes that can go virtually unnoticed in cities make the national headlines if they occur in the more peaceful Caribbean Islands - these countries have a justified reputation for low crime rates and they want to keep it that way.

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
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