Law-abiding citizens are being outgunned and gunned down by criminals. Gunmen are armed to the teeth with sophisticated weapons, challenging the police and other members of the protective services.
Businessmen and regular citizens have been left vulnerable to criminals as many have expressed difficulty in obtaining Firearm User’s Licences (FUL). Even those with licenced firearms were up to recently limited in the quantity of ammunition they could legally possess, putting them at the mercy of lawbreakers. Originally allowed to carry 25 rounds of ammunition, that number was recently increased to 40.
On the flip side, criminals and gang members have no constraints using high-powered fully-automatic and select-fire (the capability to fire in semi-automatic, three-shot, and/or fully automatic firing mode in rapid succession) weapons with extended magazines that give them more firepower than licenced firearm holders’ firearms and even the weapons used by the protective services.
Research done in 2019 by the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) found that more than 8,154 guns were circulating in Trinidad and Tobago then. Sunday Guardian was unable to get any recent data on the amount of guns circulating since then.
However, some 680 illegal firearms were seized last year. And only last week, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds revealed that 84 firearms had already been seized for this year.