Guns are Tightly Controlled, but U.S. Virgin Islands one of Highest Homicide Rates

By Dean Weingarten

U.S. Virgin Islands
Guns are Tightly Controlled, but U.S. Virgin Islands one of Highest Homicide Rates in the World
Gun Watch
Gun Watch

Arizona – -( Not counted as a state or a city, the U.S. Virgin Islands is often missed in statistics about gun control in the United States.

Gun ownership is tightly regulated, with permission to own a gun only granted by the Police Commissioner upon application, and subject to the Commissioner’s discretion. Even antique firearms, which are not regulated under U.S. Federal law, are not allowed unless they are inspected and “rendered useless”.

476. Collections of antique firearms; certificates of uselessness.

No provision hereof shall prevent that private collections of antique firearms, which may not be used as weapons. be preserved and maintained and that their owners possess them as ornaments or as matters of curiosity, nor the collections of firearms kept as relics, but for the preservation of any weapon of those included in this section the prior inspection thereof and approval therefor by the Commissioner shall be necessary and he shall render such firearms unless, so that the same may not be used as such. The Commissioner shall issue a certificate of uselessness of all the weapons possessed under the provisions of this section, and the possession of any firearm not included in said certificate shall be subject to all the provisions hereof. ****

In spite of, or perhaps because of, the extremely restrictive firearms laws in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the homicide rate may have been the highest in the United States in 2010, exceeding that of New Orleans, Chicago or Washington, D.C., cities that often vie for the dubious distinction.

In 2010, Washington,D.C. had a murder rate of about 38 per 100,000. New Orleans had a a murder rate of 58 per 100,000.

The U.S. Virgin Islands, with a population of only 110,000, had a murder rate of 60 per 100,000.

The murder rate dropped in 2011, and rose again in 2012, averaging 45 per 100,000 for the three years. This is still one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Because the U.S. Virgin Islands are not a state, and not a city, most statistical crime analysis miss it completely.

Murder rates are primarily related to culture, not to the instruments used or to gun laws.

c2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973.  He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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John Canegata

It’s about time this information is being exposed nationally. I’m sending out an SOS from the Virgin Islands. Ammoland, NRA, GOA, NAGR, JPFO, we need your help! Our police commissioner stated on the floor of our legislature ” that my policies are not aligned with the law, I just use my discretion”….


The VI and other US Possessions are NOT gun-free zones (read the law). It’s true however, that the murder rate is the highest in the US and its Territories. Mostly it is native Islanders, black-on-black, often domestic, and often retaliatory. There are some new Puerto Rican groups, families (?), not really gangs, that battle each other for supremacy, disrespect, money, drugs, and women. As far as the tourist industry, if you walk into places you’re told to avoid, or get too inebriated too late at night, or go drug-shopping, well then, you are looking for trouble and you will find… Read more »


Just out of curiosity, do we know how the murders are committed? That is, do they have a large illegal gun or gang problem, or are they beatings, drownings, etc. Having a gun will protect law abiding citizens regardless of the method of illegal aggression, but I am just curious. I would have thought that the US Virgin Islands would be a tranquil place.


The VI and other US possessions are all gun free zones and have the same problems. If you read relocation books or expat web sites on the VI you find extraordinary corruption at all levels of government. These POS should be made to follow the US Constitution.