Gun Law in the USVI  

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rotorhead
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June 27, 2015 2:32 am  

As anyone who has lived here for very long knows, the gun laws in the USVI are very restrictive. They not only require that you register each and every gun that you own with the police department, for a carry permit they also require that you have a business reason to need a gun and that you take a training class and that you have two references from long term residents.

This is unconstitutional. The law is too restrictive.

The SCOTUS decided in "District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)" and again in "McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010)" that gun ownership is an individual right, not something reserved for militias. They said that ALL of the Bill of Rights are individual rights.

They invalidated the restrictive gun laws in Washington,DC and Chicago. Last week a judge in Puerto Rico invalidated the restrictive gun laws in PR which are much like ours.

Individuals in PR got together and filed a class action lawsuit, about 500 of them, to have the law thrown out. It is currently in a hold for 60 days to give the PR government a chance to appeal. They would lose. Chicago and DC lost.

Anyone interested in doing the same thing here? I would join in the lawsuit. Individuals have a right to defend themselves. The VI has a murder rate twice that of St Louis, the worst location in the US. It has a murder rate 10 times the national average.

Something needs to change. Right now only criminals have guns, law abiding citizens have a right to own a gun without having to justify themselves to government. So says the SCOTUS.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ


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Ca. Dreamers
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June 27, 2015 11:35 am  

Sign me up!

CD


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SkysTheLimit
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June 27, 2015 12:41 pm  

I'm in!

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000


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IslandHops
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June 27, 2015 1:06 pm  

I'm not.

We are an island.

We could, if committed to the cause, ban and eliminate hand guns and automatic weapons, while at the same time implement clear and non-biased rules on individual rights to own shotguns and rifles.

Such a ban would require expeditious and independent judicial application of law with mandated penalties for violations. It would also required increased border security.

There is no practical reason for the use of handguns in an evolved society.

There is no reason an inspector from DLCA or WAPA needs to wear a hand gun - that's just intimidation and dick waving. The rent-a-cops at various government agencies and banks are next to useless as is, sitting playing with their cell phones all day. No reason for them to be packing either.

Sure I know the response below this post will be "if you take away the guns, then only criminal will have guns". Yep, I'm sure it would be difficult up on the mainland but down here I don't buy into this. We are an island. We can do it.

Unfortunately we all know of folks who have been victims of crime. But instead of arming ourselves to the teeth, lets take the more evolved track and address the root problems of education, employment, opportunity, and social structure.


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East Ender
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June 27, 2015 1:54 pm  

Island Hops: Yes, we are an island with porous borders. It is even easier for the bad guys to transfer the various goods of their trade:cash,drugs,guns, people.


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dougtamjj
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June 27, 2015 2:40 pm  

This is an older article but I think it accurately portrays what is still going on in the VI. The gun and drug trade is alive and well in the VI and in my opinion, huge on St. Croix. With the lack of jobs it is a very lucrative business and I see no way to stop it unless you make gun ownership easy with no requirements to stop open carry. Same with drugs. Make them all legal. If you want to put the gun and drug trade out of business, take away the the profit from the trade. The VI has not changed since the pirate days. It is business as usual. Trading and smuggling between the islands has never stopped. It won't stop. There is way too much money to be made. You can pass laws that only stateside American transplants will obey which will make them easy targets.

http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2010/01/12/drugs-gangs-and-guns-fueling-caribbean-wide-crime-surge


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monogram
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June 27, 2015 4:44 pm  

I agree that the gun laws are flagrantly unconstitutional, but you'd take a lot of heat for challenging it. Anyone who challenges it should expect harassment by police, Senators, etc. Though they might be hailed a hero on the East End of STX and select areas of STT.

IslandHops makes a good point, but the incompetent police force will never take the issue of gun sales seriously, and the feds are too busy lounging on the beach. As such, a challenge is probably the best option.

PS- I can't believe there wasn't more outrage when the Senate passed that law arming probation officers, etc. They've given all the rent a cops guns!

[quote=OldTart]
I can rattle off the names of half a dozen people who were born and raised here, have excellent professional credentials and have tried unsuccessfully to come back and give back to the "their" community only to be shunned. If I as a mere "transplant" can come up with that number then I'm sure that number is infinitely greater.[/quote]


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speee1dy
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June 27, 2015 6:31 pm  

just wondering why the east end would hail them as heros?


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CruzanIron
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June 27, 2015 6:37 pm  

I've been in the international shipping industry for close to 40 years. If I wanted to smuggle guns into the VI, I could easily do so no matter what controls you put in place.

How do the guns get in now? The same way and often at the same time as the illegal drugs.


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Novanut
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June 27, 2015 7:18 pm  

Aren't there facts available that the states who have legalized open carry have lower incidents of crime then those who haven't?


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speee1dy
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June 27, 2015 7:26 pm  

yes there are. illegals will always get guns while the legal gun owners suffer.


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rotorhead
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June 27, 2015 7:34 pm  

Gun laws only prevent law abiding citizens from getting guns. Guns are as easy to buy on the street here as are drugs, often from the same people.

I have sent email to the NRA and SAF asking for help with organizing this. Since SAF was involved in PR, I thought they might have some ideas about attorneys, costs, etc.

The main problem with our laws is not that there shouldn't be background checks but that our laws are too restrictive. SCOTUS has ruled that we have an individual right to own a gun, it is not a privilege granted to us by a benevolent government. If government wants to deny us that right then it is their responsibility to justify on a case by case basis why an individual should be turned down.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ


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rotorhead
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June 27, 2015 8:55 pm  

We could, if committed to the cause, ban and eliminate hand guns and automatic weapons, while at the same time implement clear and non-biased rules on individual rights to own shotguns and rifles.

I would be interested in hearing how you propose to eliminate handguns and automatic weapons. Are you suggesting house to house searches for contraband? Are you suggesting 24 hour patrols of our shoreline?

Why shotguns and rifles? We have no hunting on the islands. Handguns are much more useful for self defence. We all know that the police, no matter how hard they try, cannot be everywhere at once. We have the worst murder rate under the US flag, one of the worst in the world. And we have the strictest gun laws possible already.

What are you proposing?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ


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Spartygrad95
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June 27, 2015 9:08 pm  

My position has evolved. Statistics do not lie. Guns in homes lead to higher suicide and homocide rates http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1814426. That said, I believe in civil liberties, one of which that is protected is owning firearms. The Supreme Court HAS ruled over and over of American's rights to possess them. I am fine with that hear, as well as, more CCW permits being honored. The Supreme Court has also said there CAN be restrictions on guns based on laws requiring waiting periods and they recently refused to hear a case in which a San Francisco law required guns to be locked up or unloaded when not being carried. This cannot be the Wild West, but people should still have access to firearms. Just like in the case with marriage equality guns do not affect me personally, I won't have them with a small child but civil liberties should not be restrained.


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Novanut
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June 27, 2015 10:41 pm  

I have never owned a gun and have no desire to start now. That may change. I do feel that an armed citizenry has, or, should have a profound influence on potential crimes committed. If only the bad guys have guns, and the good guys do not, it seems like a no-brainer to me to re-establish reasonable laws allowing for protection.

Seems like I read that, during Hugo, shop keepers stood on the roofs of their stores, with guns, protecting their inventories from looters. Were the laws different then? I can't see why the citizens do not have the same opportunities to protect themselves.

Just my 2 cents...


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OldTart
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June 27, 2015 11:01 pm  

Seems like I read that, during Hugo, shop keepers stood on the roofs of their stores, with guns, protecting their inventories from looters. Were the laws different then?

Many business owners here legally carry guns. As far as, "shop keepers ... on the roofs of their stores, with guns, protecting their inventories from looters" after Hugo, it's not unlikely that this may have happened but I'm sure some hyperbole was added to any such incident. Like the report in one stateside newspaper which quoted a visitor describing (either after Hugo or Marilyn, don't recall which) how terrified she was to hear the "native drums echoing through the mountains ...". Not to mention other visitors relating their post-hurricane terror at seeing "natives" walking around with machetes. I walked around for two days swinging one like many others - to clear the driveway of the mess of debris. 😀


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ms411
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June 27, 2015 11:54 pm  

In a small community such as ours, most people know the business owners and many assume that they carry large sums of cash which makes them easy targets for robbery. That is why business owners are able to own/carry guns.

In fact, there's a gas station (maybe more than one, but I've only noticed the one) that has a sign of a pointed gun that reads, "We Don't Call 911." That gas station, or one near or related to it, shot a robber who demanded money. The gun was legal, and from what I remember no charges were filed against the station owner.

IMO, if you want to protect yourself with a gun, you have to carry it 24/7, be a good shooter, and stay alert 24/7. If not, the bad guy may have an advantage, because he's probably more desperate than you, so you end up losing even with your gun. Then the gun gets stolen so it creates another cycle of violence.

There is no guaranteed way to protect yourself, your family, your business, or your home, so it's best to be informed, cautious, and alert.

I'm surprised that there aren't more robberies since there are so many cash businesses on all the islands. Keep your cash and jewelry to a minimum for business or personal and you are less likely to be an attractive target.

Also, get involved with your Neighborhood Watch or equivalent program or start one in your neighborhood if it's not a gated community. Let the police know about the organization. They will gladly come out to your neighborhood gathering to give you tips on protecting yourself and your neighborhood.


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RevFD
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June 28, 2015 2:02 am  

Here's for you Rotohead


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rotorhead
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June 28, 2015 6:28 am  

Thanks RevFD,

I like this one better.

And regardless of what your comedy video makes fun of, they really do come for you in your own home.

And besides, the SCOTUS has already ruled on this. You don't get to pick which constitutional rights other people are allowed.

Edited to add: Don't take the video too seriously, it is a parody, Automatic weapons have been illegal for private owners since 1934.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ


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speee1dy
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June 28, 2015 9:06 am  

i could be wrong but what i read yesterday for some reason with the new gay marriage thing this somehow ( in the states ) makes it possible for a law abiding cc gun owner to have their cc permit be recognized in any state they travel in?


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OldTart
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June 28, 2015 9:24 am  

i could be wrong but what i read yesterday for some reason with the new gay marriage thing this somehow ( in the states ) makes it possible for a law abiding cc gun owner to have their cc permit be recognized in any state they travel in?

There's a direct link between "the new gay marriage thing" and gun laws?


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Spartygrad95
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June 28, 2015 12:10 pm  

A direct link? No. Other than SCOTUS ruling on both. I don't remember reading about a dowry for same sex marriage being an AR-15


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speee1dy
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June 28, 2015 3:19 pm  

haha sparty. let me find that thing i read yesterday about the link between the gun thing and the gay marriage thing


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speee1dy
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Spartygrad95
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June 28, 2015 5:58 pm  

A piece from a website of a disgraced former colonel and one term congressman. Ok. It may play out that way in courts but wow.


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