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ATF Report Shows Young People With Guns Is A Big Problem For Law Enforcement in the V.I.

An ATF agent puts a pair of rifles taken from Larry McCoy's car in the back of an SUV Thursday Aug. 13, 2009. Federal agents and Mobile police raided Lary's Gun Shop, which McCoy owns and operates, on Pleasant Valley Road Thursday morning. Law enforcement officers took McCoy into custody shortly before 10 and seized a handgun and a pair of rifles from his vehicle. (Press-Register, Bill Starling) METRO

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Nearly 80 percent of the firearms recovered from Virgin Islanders are from people aged 18 to 30, according to the latest statistics made available by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

The average age of someone possessing an illegal firearm in the Virgin Islands is 29 years old, while the national average is 34 years old, the ATF said in a report on its website covering the time from January 1 to December 31, 2014.

During that time period, the ATF recovered 110 pistols, 21 revolvers, three shotguns and one rifle, according to the ATF’s Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information.

Some 34 weapons were “found firearms,” 28 were discovered on individual suspects, 23 were firearms under investigation; 15 weapons came from a robbery; nine were from homicides; seven were weapon offenses; five were part of weapons trafficking; three each were from aggravated assaults, dangerous drugs and simple assault cases and two were from weapons discharged cases, the ATF said.

The source of the weapons seized were identified in 99 cases, with the vast majority, or 39 weapons charges, involving the state of Florida; 27 cases had weapons coming from the territory itself; the third biggest source of weapons was Georgia with 14 and the fourth most was Texas with five, according to the ATF.
In 72 out of 97 cases charted by the ATF, the average Virgin Islands person in possession of an illegal weapon waited at least three years before committing a crime with the firearm, the bureau said in its report.

In 2014, 16 people in the Virgin Islands were in possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime were 18 to 21; 17 people charged with possessing a weapon during a crime were 22 to 24 and 17 people caught with a weapon during a crime were 25 to 30, the ATF said.

Some five people charged with a crime involving a weapon in the territory were 31 to 40 years old; three people with weapons during a crime were 41 to 50 and six people charged with a crime involving a weapon were more than 50 years old, according to the ATF.

To read more of the ATF report please click on the following link:

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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