Citation(s) from the literature library

Townsend, Dorn. 2009 ‘Legal Ownership of Firearms.’ No Other Life: Gangs, Guns, and Governance in Trinidad and Tobago; Working Paper No. 8, p. 25. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. 1 December

Relevant contents

Legal Ownership of Firearms

It is possible to obtain a firearm legally, but this is a lengthy process, and not many applications succeed. After would-be gun owners submit an application to purchase from a licensed merchant, police investigate whether applicants have criminal records and deny requests from known criminals.

During police interviews, applicants are asked why they want a gun and where it would be safely stored. Spouses are questioned too and are asked whether they object to a gun in their house. The applicant's fingerprints are also recorded and compared against prints taken from unsolved crimes.

Should all go well, the applicant is sent to the country's police commissioner, who has the authority to grant or deny all applications. This screening can take several months. Even after a permit is awarded, it can be revoked if the applicant fails to pass classes in firearm safety.

No public records exist on how many applications succeed, but police sources indicate that the percentage is small. The rise in the availability of guns, therefore, does not seem to have come about via the legal route.

ID: Q3410

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