We wrote a very popular blog about whether you can take your lawfully possessed pistol on vacation with you in Puerto Rico, subsequent to the easing of gun laws in Puerto Rico. Now we explore the gun laws in the US Virgin Islands and in particular whether you can take your pistol to St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.
At first glance, the US Virgin Islands appears to have extremely liberal reciprocity laws however that appears to be far from reality. A review of the USVI Police website clearly indicates that visitors are required to declare their firearms before arrival in the US Virgin Islands and to immediately report to the US Virgin Island Police Substation upon
According to Title 23, Chapter 5, Sec. 460, a license to carry or possess a firearm issued by a competent authority of any territory or state that is issued with the same or similar standards of the US Virgin Island Laws and which requires a fingerprint background check shall be valid within the US Virgin Islands. This means that reciprocity should be fairly universal since most States require a fingerprint background check. However, according to Title 23, Chapter 5, Sec. 454, a person may only get a license to carry a firearm if that person has good reason to fear great injury or death to his person or property and that fear has to be proven by an affidavit from the applicant and two credible witnesses.
Title 23, Chapter 5, Sec. 454 is where the requirement that one must declare the firearm at the airport comes from. It appears that sec 473v requires registration of all firearms in the US Virgin Islands.
Despite the provisions in the law that (a) establishes reciprocity, (b) requires registration at the airport and (c) establishes police substations at the airport baggage claim areas for those to register their firearms the police in the past have strongly discouraged anybody from bringing guns to the US. Virgin Islands. The website in the past had strongly recommended not to bring firearms onto the islands claiming they had very strict firearms laws. Those warnings have since been removed from the US Virgin Islands Police website. However, we do understand that even those carrying under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) are required to get some form of USVI pink identification.
It appears that the USVI is set up and anticipates that US citizens will bring their firearms to the US Virgin Islands on vacation. The above 24 hour police substation at the airport baggage claim terminal seems to suggest that people can and do bring firearms to the US. Virgin Islands. However, as noted on another site there is no listing anywhere of States for which the US Virgin Islands grants reciprocity and no one in a position of authority was willing to state to this other website that they grant reciprocity for other States’ Concealed Carriers. It appears that they are being deliberately vague to discourage gun possession on the islands.
Given all of this, it seems highly risky to take a firearm to such a gun restrictive territory. I am sure people have tried it and we would love to hear from them. Please contact us and let us know your experience.