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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSenate Looks at Gold Buyers, Gun Sellers

Senate Looks at Gold Buyers, Gun Sellers

Pawn shops and other licensed gold purchasers will have to install video recording equipment if a bill working its way through the V.I. Senate becomes law. Police Commissioner Novelle Francis testified in support of the bill, saying there has been a rise in burglaries motivated by the opportunity to steal and sell gold jewelry.
The V.I. Police Department has staged several stings of gold-buying establishments in recent months and Francis has previously said some of the recent wave of murders in the territory appeared to be motivated by the prospect of robbing gold jewelry from the victims.
There was no opposition to the bill, although Sen. Wayne James suggested there should be more rigorous detail about placement of cameras, to ensure both the faces of those selling gold and the jewelry itself are recorded.
The bill, sponsored by Sens. Louis Hill and Carlton "Ital" Dowe, was sent out of committee without dissent. Voting yea were Sens. Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Patrick Sprauve, Wayne James and Sammuel Sanes. Sens. Alvin Williams, Shawn-Michael Malone and Celestino White were absent.
The committee also sent forward three other bills, including one intended to reduce unregistered firearms in the territory by requiring guns be shipped to a licensed V.I. gun dealer who would only release the weapon once the recipient shows they have the appropriate permits.
Francis testified the Police Department "welcomes any assistance in stemming the flow of firearms into the territory," but that the bill lacked provisions to make it enforceable. He said it might help the department register guns efficiently "provided the licensed federal firearms dealer was required to report any such firearms received by them to the Police Department."
Another concern of Francis’ was the bill, as introduced, did not consider guns brought in via the marine industry or guns brought from foreign jurisdictions.
"If we are to combat the influx of firearms into the territory, we must have the flexibility to quickly adjust to changing times and methods of transportation," Francis said.
Sprauve, the bill’s sponsor, offered an amendment addressing some of Francis’ concerns by prohibiting every other means of bringing a gun into the territory and prohibiting anyone from carrying a firearm to and from the territory unless they already have a V.I. license. His amendment also directed the police commissioner to maintain a list of states which offer reciprocal recognition of V.I. firearms licenses.
"This is not to stop all guns coming into the territory," Sprauve said. "This is just one measure to help.”
The amendment and bill were approved without dissent. Both bills now move on to the Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee for further amendment and consideration.

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