Multi-Million dollar illegal gun business in T&T

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Multi-Million dollar illegal gun business in T&T

Illegal guns continue to wreak havoc on citizen security in Trinidad and Tobago. The Strategic Services Agency (SSA) reported that illegal firearms were used in 8,472 fatal and non-fatal crimes in 2016-2020. The SSA alos reported that the statistical estimate of illegal firearms in circulation within TT for 2021 was 11,043 which represented a 17 per cent increase from the initial 2019 estimate of 9,389.”

In a five-year period (2019-2023), the police had seized 3,531 guns, the report said. These were 1,915 pistols, 673 revolvers, 347 rifles, 325 shotguns, 191 home-made shotguns, 68 sub machine guns, and 12 “other.”

This astounding information contained in the findings in the Report of the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on National Security on the inquiry into the safety, security and protection of citizens with specific reference to the factors that contribute to the prevalence of illegal firearms and gun violence in Trinidad and Tobago, which was laid in Parliament on Friday.

The report spoke about the lucrative and dangerous firearms industry in Trinidad and Tobago, valuing anywhere from $56 million to $144 million with an average black market price of $17,429 per firearm.” Most illegal firearms are reported to be pistols and handguns (84 per cent) with rifles and shotguns just 14 per cent.
It is estimated that every long-arm rifle smuggled through the border has generated a gross profit of on average US$5,500, while the gross profit for handguns ranges from about US$1,000-$2,000 based on the demand.
By comparison, the report said an illegal AK47 in northern Mexico (near the USA) sells for US$1,200-1,600 but in southern Mexico sells for US$2,000-4,000.

One of the most dangerous illegal weapons in the streets an AR15 semi-automatic rifle costs US$630 within the USA but sells on the TT black market for US$6,000, earning a gross profit of US$5,370. An AK47 semi-automatic can be bought for US$700 in the USA but sells on the TT black market for US$6,500, a mark-up of US$5,800. A pistol such as a Glock 19 costs US$580 in the USA but sells illegally in TT for US$2,625, a difference of US$2,045.
A revolver such as the Smith and Wesson 637 costs US$500 in the USA but sells on the TT black market for US$1,650, a profit of US$1,150.