El Mercurio de Chile On Line | Deadly gun violence in T&T leaves citizens in fear

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.