82.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesA NEED FOR GUN CONTROL

A NEED FOR GUN CONTROL

In an attempt to curtail violent crimes committed with assault weapons in the Virgin Islands, a bill is winding its way through the legislative process.
Sen. Lorraine Berry and Sen. George Goodwin have joined me on Bill #23-0038 which I initially proposed in the 22nd Legislature and is now in the Government Operations Committee.
The bill seeks to reduce or even eliminate dangerous assault firearms that are too prevalent in this community. Some of these very guns are in criminal hands—exposing decent law-abiding citizens and police officers to great danger.
This proposed legislation does not seek to prevent law-abiding individuals from bearing arms. The law basically restricts the type of weapons one may possess. It also intensifies the screening process and restricts easy access to this powerful weaponry. The policy will be very stringent indeed.
Although the weapons banned by the legislation have been used only a few times in the commission of crimes in the territory, I feel that these weapons pose a threat to public safety because they are capable of firing many rounds in extremely rapid succession. My argument is that the characteristic of these weapons increases the offenders ability to kill and wound several persons at one time. Furthermore, these weapons inflict multiple wounds to a victim; therefore, a decrease in the use of assault weapons would reduce the fatality rate in gun attacks.
The penalty for the violation of gun laws in the Virgin Islands will be so strict that criminals will think twice before they commit a crime with an assault firearm. As far as I am concerned, we will continue to be a community under siege as long as criminals possess greater fire power than Virgin Island's law enforcement officials. Guns and criminals go hand in hand while the economy suffers.
Some of the detractors of this legislation, testifying at the August 13 Government Operations Meeting, complained that a $200 registration fee for an assault firearm was too steep. They further went on to say that previous gun bans proved ineffective.
I disagree with both issues. The guns we seek to ban are incredibly expensive to begin with. If someone will spend in excess of $1,000 for the initial purchase of a firearm, then why shouldn't a community exposed to this weapon expect a $200 licensing fee?
Additionally, according to the National Institute of Justice, the 1934 federal restriction banning the ownership of fully automatic weapons (machine guns) was very successful. The measure of success was based on the rarity of crimes committed with these weapons nationwide for ten years after the enactment of the law. Furthermore, Washington DC's restrictive handgun licensing system, which went into effect 1976, produced a drop in gun fatalities that lasted several years after its enactment.
I believe this bill, with some amendments will, stand on its own. If we save just one life, we will have been successful.
Those who are illegally importing guns to the Virgin Islands must be prepared to face the music. We must prevent the horse from getting out of the barn rather than chasing after it when it is gone.
I am asking every Virgin Islander to stand up and support this non-political, extremely important legislation. I am interested in hearing from everyone concerning your views and mine as it relates to the ban on assault weapons.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
In an attempt to curtail violent crimes committed with assault weapons in the Virgin Islands, a bill is winding its way through the legislative process.
Sen. Lorraine Berry and Sen. George Goodwin have joined me on Bill #23-0038 which I initially proposed in the 22nd Legislature and is now in the Government Operations Committee.
The bill seeks to reduce or even eliminate dangerous assault firearms that are too prevalent in this community. Some of these very guns are in criminal hands---exposing decent law-abiding citizens and police officers to great danger.
This proposed legislation does not seek to prevent law-abiding individuals from bearing arms. The law basically restricts the type of weapons one may possess. It also intensifies the screening process and restricts easy access to this powerful weaponry. The policy will be very stringent indeed.
Although the weapons banned by the legislation have been used only a few times in the commission of crimes in the territory, I feel that these weapons pose a threat to public safety because they are capable of firing many rounds in extremely rapid succession. My argument is that the characteristic of these weapons increases the offenders ability to kill and wound several persons at one time. Furthermore, these weapons inflict multiple wounds to a victim; therefore, a decrease in the use of assault weapons would reduce the fatality rate in gun attacks.
The penalty for the violation of gun laws in the Virgin Islands will be so strict that criminals will think twice before they commit a crime with an assault firearm. As far as I am concerned, we will continue to be a community under siege as long as criminals possess greater fire power than Virgin Island's law enforcement officials. Guns and criminals go hand in hand while the economy suffers.
Some of the detractors of this legislation, testifying at the August 13 Government Operations Meeting, complained that a $200 registration fee for an assault firearm was too steep. They further went on to say that previous gun bans proved ineffective.
I disagree with both issues. The guns we seek to ban are incredibly expensive to begin with. If someone will spend in excess of $1,000 for the initial purchase of a firearm, then why shouldn't a community exposed to this weapon expect a $200 licensing fee?
Additionally, according to the National Institute of Justice, the 1934 federal restriction banning the ownership of fully automatic weapons (machine guns) was very successful. The measure of success was based on the rarity of crimes committed with these weapons nationwide for ten years after the enactment of the law. Furthermore, Washington DC's restrictive handgun licensing system, which went into effect 1976, produced a drop in gun fatalities that lasted several years after its enactment.
I believe this bill, with some amendments will, stand on its own. If we save just one life, we will have been successful.
Those who are illegally importing guns to the Virgin Islands must be prepared to face the music. We must prevent the horse from getting out of the barn rather than chasing after it when it is gone.
I am asking every Virgin Islander to stand up and support this non-political, extremely important legislation. I am interested in hearing from everyone concerning your views and mine as it relates to the ban on assault weapons.