The Bahamas experiences a high crime and homicide rate and significant levels of armed violence, mainly related to gang activities and gang warfare on the island of New Providence.1 It is notable that more than 90 per cent of weapons confiscated and used for armed violence can reportedly be traced back to US manufacturers and gun shops.2 The country is also considered as a transit point in the transnational arms trade, and certain gangs are directly involved in arms smuggling. Furthermore, a significant part of firearms in the Bahamas are reported to be unlicensed.3
In terms of weapons and ammunition management, national firearm regulation is considered restrictive. The Bahamas has signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty.4 The country also notably receives technical assistance from the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) to prevent and combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking.5
1 “Bahamas,” DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, January 9, 2015, https://issat.dcaf.ch/Learn/Resource-Library/Country-Profiles/Bahamas-Country-Profile; Royston Jones Jr., “‘OUT OF HAND’: Leaked Briefing Exposes Police Investigation into Gang Warfare,” Eyewitness News, March 24, 2022, https://ewnews.com/out-of-hand-leaked-briefing-exposes-police-investigation-into-gang-warfare.
2 Jasper Ward, “The Bahamas Says U.S. Must Do More to Control Weapons Smuggling,” Reuters, May 30, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/bahamas-says-us-must-do-more-control-weapons-smuggling-2022-05-30/.
3 “Bahamas,” DCAF.
4 Philip Alpers and Marcus Wilson, Bahamas – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law (GunPolicy.org, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2022), https://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/bahamas.
5 “UNLIREC Trains Officials of the Bahamas Customs and Excise Department and Royal Bahamas Defence Force on Interdiction of Small Arms, Ammunition and Explosives,” UNLIREC, May 24, 2021, https://unlirec.org/en/unlirec-trains-officials-of-the-bahamas-customs-and-excise-department-and-royal-bahamas-defence-force-on-interdiction-of-small-arms-ammunition-and-explosives/.
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Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, no accidental explosions have been reported in the Bahamas.
Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021, https://smallarmssurvey.org/database/unplanned-explosions-munitions-sites-uems.
Cases of diversion
Insufficient information on cases of diversion in the Bahamas.
The Bahamas has disposed of its ammunition since at least 2012; however, there is insufficient information to estimate the number of tonnes of ammunition disposed of annually.1
1 “UNLIREC Destroys Firearms and Small Arms Ammunition in Bahamas,” Mapping ATT-Relevant Cooperation and Assistance Activities database, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2014, https://att-assistance.org/activity/unlirec-destroys-firearms-and-small-arms-ammunition-bahamas.
No needs have been identified for the Bahamas.