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Whatever, Beach: Turks & Caicos Islands Don’t Want Gun-Owning Tourists!



Thinking of traveling to the Turks and Caicos Islands this summer for a little sun and sand? You might want to think again. Those particular islands have made something of a sport out of arresting, jailing, and fining Americans for having loose ammunition in their luggage. On each and every case of this happening, the ammo was clearly there by accident–but that won’t help Ryan Watson, an American tourist facing a possible 12-year sentence in Turks and Caicos for inadvertently carrying common ammunition in his luggage.

Yes, everyone knows that ammo cartridges–without a striker to set them off and a barrel to concentrate the resulting gases and propel the projectile–are about as dangerous as a tube of lipstick. That doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter if the loose cartridges in the luggage are on their way out of the country (meaning that the tourist’s cartridges somehow got past American TSA as the tourist left the U.S.).

What does matter is that the government of the TCI clearly would prefer it if American tourists (and our tourist dollars) didn’t visit their country at all. I think this is a request we can all accommodate. How about the U.S. Virgin Islands or the Bahamas instead? Here’s the full warning from the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) to help you decide.


To all U.S. gun owners:

Do Not Travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory located southeast of the Bahamas, and if you have already made plans, reconsider your destination.

SUMMARY: Since November 2022, at least eight American tourists have faced “firearms prosecutions” for inadvertently having ammunition in their luggage. In the past, tourists had been able to pay a fine, but as of a judge’s ruling in February of this year, violators are subject to severe prison time.

Firearms and ammunition are strictly forbidden in Turks and Caicos. The U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas last September issued this warning to travelers: “Firearms, ammunition, and other weapons are not permitted in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). TCI authorities strictly enforce all firearms related laws. The penalty for traveling to TCI with a firearm, ammunition, or other weapon is a minimum custodial sentence of twelve (12) years.”

The advisory also stated, “We wish to remind all travelers that declaring a weapon in your luggage with an airline carrier does not grant permission to bring the weapon into TCI and will result in your arrest.

“We strongly encourage you to carefully check your luggage for stray ammunition or forgotten weapons before departing for TCI. If you bring a firearm or ammunition into TCI, we will not be able to secure your release from custody. You are subject to TCI laws and must follow local law enforcement procedures.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Welty

    May 8, 2024 at 9:37 pm

    Done. Was going to dive the islands but no longer. That was an easy fix. We will spend our dollars at a more firearm friendly diving location.

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