The recent increase in gun crime could be blamed on what a CMC
reports has termed the proliferation of “ghost guns” in Antigua and
According to the regional news medium, these weapons are created
using readily available 3D printing technology, and the Police say
this presents a significant challenge for law-enforcement agencies.
The CMC article quotes Deputy Police Commissioner Everton Jeffers
as saying that officers recently discovered at least two of these 9mm
small arms – and this is deeply concerning, due to their untraceable
Apparently, ghost guns lack serial numbers, making it nearly
impossible for the Police to trace their origins or owners; and they
are assembled from components that can be discreetly imported.
Reportedly, they can be constructed even by persons with limited
technical knowledge, simply by following online tutorials and using
Deputy Commissioner Jeffers says the weapons are mainly small
arms and the different parts can be purchased separately. Then, all
a person would require are basic tools, including a drill and
screwdriver, to construct functioning firearms.
According to the CMC report, these weapons use components that
are readily available – such as receivers, barrels, and trigger
mechanisms – that can be imported without raising suspicion since
they are shipped separately.
This poses a major challenge for law enforcement to identify and
intercept the components, Jeffers says.
He says that officers could see a part of a ghost gun and not
recognise it, as the components can be concealed in everyday items
like a tin of paint or detergent pods, which, if not X-rayed, will
simply pass through the port.
Based on data, most of these parts and weapons are originating from
North America, particularly the United States, and from Venezuela,
and Colombia, Jeffers says.
To arrest this problem, he adds, law-enforcement agencies would
have to depend on human intelligence to assist, since they do not
know the source of origin and the manufacturer could be anybody.
Meanwhile, the senior policeman is linking the propagation of ghost
guns directly to the drug trade, which continues to be a major issue
within the region.
In a small country that does not manufacture firearms, Antigua and
Barbuda police have seized 35 firearms and 146 rounds of
ammunition thus far this year, Jeffers reports.
Following the discovery of the two ghost guns locally, Jeffers claims
the Police Force is stepping up surveillance – even as he
acknowledges that “there is no easy way to trace them.”
“What we’re also hoping for is that we can have more joint exercises
between the local authorities,” he says.
Similar weapons reportedly have been discovered in Trinidad &
Tobago, and Antigua and Barbuda is the second CARICOM country to
have publicly announced the discovery of ghost guns.