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The Second Amendment Foundation offers this warning 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.”

CBS News reported on the most recent cases:

A 30-year-old Virginia man has become the latest American tourist to face serious legal troubles in the Turks and Caicos after being arrested for having ammunition in his luggage, according to CBS News.

Tyler Wenrich was taken into custody on April 20 after two bullets were allegedly found in his backpack as he attempted to board a cruise ship. The discovery could lead to a mandatory minimum sentence of up to 12 years in prison, under the territory’s strict gun control laws.

This incident is part of a concerning trend for American visitors to the British territory. At least four other U.S. nationals are potentially facing long prison sentences for similar offenses.

Michael Lee Evans, a 72-year-old American, pleaded guilty to possessing seven rounds of ammunition after his arrest in December. He is currently on bail in the U.S. for medical reasons, with a sentencing hearing scheduled for June.

Another tourist, Michael Grim from Indiana, has already served nearly six months in prison after pleading guilty to accidentally bringing ammunition in his checked luggage.

On April 12, Ryan Watson, a 40-year-old father of two from Oklahoma, was also arrested when airport security found four rounds of hunting ammunition in his carry-on bag. He was released on a $15,000 bond and is required to remain on the island and check in bi-weekly at the local police station while his case progresses.

In an interview with CBS News, Watson expressed that the incident was a mistake, noting that even the TSA failed to detect the ammunition during a security screening at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.

The TSA acknowledged the oversight and stated they are addressing the issue internally.

Following these incidents, the U.S. State Department has reiterated warnings to American tourists traveling to Turks and Caicos to meticulously check their luggage for any forgotten ammunition or weapons.

The Turks and Caicos government emphasized its commitment to enforcing its laws strictly. “All visitors must follow its law enforcement procedures,” a government spokesperson stated following the recent arrests.

These cases highlight the consequences of even unintentional violations of local laws regarding firearms and ammunition, which are far stricter in some countries than in the U.S. It also highlights how our State department is failing American citizens being taken prisoner in some banana republic, while we allow people from similar countries to break the law by sneaking across our borders with few if any consequences.

It is incumbent upon every gun owner to be careful when they travel and obey the laws, but honest mistakes are just that, honest mistakes, and while fines are understandable in such situations, imprisonment is not and the Unites States should institute similar penalties for their citizens found here in violation of any laws.

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55 COMMENTS

  1. Cheaper and safer to have bags that you never use for gun stuff.

    Cheaper and safer yet to just not be one of the millions of money wasting tourist travelers seeing the same things, doing the same things and photographing the same things everybody else is.

    • Never mind this and that travel destiny when you do not have to travel far in the USA to encounter Gun Control insanity reminiscent of the third reich…

    • RE: “It is incumbent upon every gun owner to be careful when they travel and obey the laws, but honest mistakes are just that, honest mistakes, and while fines are understandable in such situations, imprisonment is not and the Unites States should institute similar penalties for their citizens found here in violation of any laws.”

      Honest Mistakes will get your American home raided at the crack if dawn and get you shot dead…comes with an agenda called Gun Control.

    • Yes. How hard can it be to check your luggage or use non-range bags?

      When I went on a work trip to Indonesia I checked my bags thoroughly before packing and even left my firearms license behind. When chatting with the client in small talk I made no mention of firearms or shooting sports.

  2. Thank goodness for President theBiden and Bidonomics.
    With his foresight traveling to the grocery store or anywhere else is near impossible. Yes I’d like to buy a turkey and some cacao, beans beans, the musical fruit.
    His poverty plan has made me safe.
    Long live President theBiden.

    • I have to agree with you possum.
      Thanks to Biden and his awesome Bidenomics, I cannot afford to buy a pound of roast beef lunch meat. Back in the day, when that mean ol man, President Trump was in office, a pound of roast beef lunch meat was $6.99/lbs for the store brand. The expensive still like Bore’s Head was $9.99/lbs.
      Now, the store brand is $14.99/lbs.
      Hey! In my new found Bidenomics induced poverty, I have lost 10lbs!

        • Careful…I was warned by the gadsden the magnificent not to interfere with the finances of others…apparently money talk and how to save a buck during bidenomics is forbidden. Then some other azzhat complained about my suggestion for the $12.00 pizza hut deal, a Supreme pan lasted us 4 days and I don’t want another pizza for a month. KFC had an 8 piece for $10.00 online deal, the counter person didn’t have it ready for pickup so she added 4 more pieces…When ordering online KFC sends a quality questionnaire which is probably an incentive. With the weather warming I don’t heat up the house frying chicken, and that money time saving suggestion didn’t set well with some a-holes on this forum either…and that’s too bad.

      • Yeah, what used to be a $200 trip to Kroger a few years ago hit $300 yesterday. That was after coupons & sale discounts too. The only extravagant item was a couple packages of blueberries, so we could celebrate Blueberry Pie Day with a blueberry cream pie. Oh man.

        But don’t lose hope. Word is beginning to get out, about Biden’s house of cards.

        https://youtu.be/OgLD1yhxNik

        Highlarious.

        Program note. TTAG’s censor policy snagged me again, blocking posts from my home ISP. This one got through from the ipad via a smartphone hotspot & Verizon.

      • In Venezuela poverty starvation was called the “Maduro Diet”.

        Coming soon to the USA.

  3. The federal government should be discouraging travel to places like this. It is one thing to expel a tourist and even forbid them to ever return, it is another to jail them for something they didn’t intend to do when those items are completely legal where they come from. Economic incentives work, damage their tourist economy and they will fire the judge and change their law.

    No doubt the Biden bunch is happy about this. They want to punish Americans for owning guns.

    • “It is one thing to expel a tourist and even forbid them to ever return, it is another to jail them for something they didn’t intend to do when those items are completely legal where they come from.”

      Preach it, brother! Or even a $5,000 fine.

      Accidents. Occasionally. Happen.

      Their response is so egregious (they want to literally ruin your life!) for something so innocuous as a single missed round of .22 lr ammo (their punishment clearly doesn’t fit the crime), the only conclusion I can make is that they literally hate American’s civil rights in America.

      Fuck them, sideways. I will not spend one dime of my money there, ever.

      You hate me that much, Turks and Caicos, I hate you back… 🙁

    • theBiden bunch just wants to punish, be it gunms or trumpets.
      At first theBiden was all happy, then the Let’s Go Brandon chants gained popularity. Now theBiden has hatred for the Country and the Constitution it swore to protect.

    • The Federal government should make it clear that we will not allow some tiny banana dictatorship to kidnap our citizens over nonsense technical violations of absurd and unjust laws.

      Give these punks twenty four hours to release our citizens, or a complete air and naval blockade will begin.

    • And in the TCI government’s infinite wisdom think US tourists are supplying the gangs?

      dacian and miner would believe such a thing and agree with the punishment.

  4. “Firearms, ammunition, and other weapons are not permitted in the Turks and Caicos Islands”

    What do they consider to be “other weapons”? Does that even include a pocketknife? Sounds like a good place to stay the hell out of.

      • “Off the Bikini’s”

        Some of those, I’ll pay them to keep them on.

        *Shudder* 😉

        (I pray to God Above I never see deb-the-dunce’s un-rolled one day…)

        • If anyone knows about women’s fashion it will be you…you cross dressing perverted pos.

  5. Originally the wife was charged along with the husband but because Gun Control nazis had mercy they allowed her to return to America, the husband waits to be judged by the fuhrer. Frankly lawmakers should get off their behinds and ban travel to and from such insane destinations. Until Gun Control is justifiably treated as the racist genocidal turdsandwich History Confirms it to be it will be business as usual.

    • Its British controlled. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t carry much weight there, well come to think of it not much in the U.S. either. By gawd We shall sue our way to righteousness.
      Go gettem Scotus, hit them with another Bruen, yeah that really showed’em.

      • At least have the appropriate agency issue a “Travel Advisory” notice about the TCI.

        And a general notice about traveling to places that are not the United States.

  6. The Turks and Caicos government is making examples of the Americans for domestic political consumption. The local plebs face the disarmament laws every day and are reminded of this when they see the Americans facing prison.

    When traveling outside the United States, obey the local laws especially regarding firearms, drugs, commercial sex and politics. Doing time anywhere especially overseas should never be on your Bucket List.

    • Ranger Rick,

      There is another potential GIANT danger when travelling to many/most foreign countries: corrupt locals and even “officials” jamming you up for something that you did not do. What is their motive? One significant motive–many foreign locals and “officials” despise the relative prosperity and liberty that we enjoy in the United States so they go about punishing us any way they can out of jealousy and spite. Another significant motive–many foreign locals and “officials” figure that U.S. tourists must be obscenely wealthy so they go about extracting as much money from the tourist as possible (via fines, bribes, and even ransoms).

      When it comes to the United States State Department protecting U.S. citizens travelling abroad, the State Department has demonstrated an absolutely abysmal track record over the last several years. It is a fool’s wager to bet on the U.S. State Department rescuing you if foreigners jam you up in a foreign country. Plan accordingly.

      • Indonesian police in Bali call foreign tourists “ATMs”. Punch them a few times and you get cash. The officers in Bali have to pay a $100,000 bribe to get posted there and they have to recoup their investment.

    • As for me, I ain’t leaving my state and leaving the U S A is out of the question.
      I have been to Grand Turk and Salt Cay several times. They are beautiful, but not that beautiful.

    • Block ALL domestic travel/exports to TCI and see how long the 12 yr. min sentence remains in place.

      “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”

      We instituted a government to secure our rights REGARDLESS of where we are. So do it.

  7. Was there last September. The scuba diving sucks, and shit is expensive.

    I have bags for travel, and bags for hunting and the range, and never the twain shall meet. I keep them in different closets.

  8. I’ve been to a couple of those fancy islands, and the only thing I left there was some stuff in the sewer, so I don’t need to go back. If I get a hankering to visit an island, I’ll make a run up to Kelleys and catch a couple big smallmouth bass off of Fag Point.

    Program note. TTAG’s censor policy snagged me again, blocking posts from my home ISP. This one got through from the ipad via a smartphone hotspot & Verizon.

    • hawkeye,

      I am hearing/seeing multiple reports of people experiencing difficulty interacting with various Internet sites/applications from their home Internet service–only to have everything work fine on a hotspot over a cell-phone carrier.

      I am convinced that something is amiss. I have not yet been able to nail it down entirely. I was able to nail down one instance, though. A neighbor was unable to access the local school system’s interactive educational portal. We discovered that the school district’s educational portal was using some screening service which had blacklisted a large range of Internet addresses–including my neighbor’s Internet address (incorrectly at that).

      My hunch is that many Internet sites/applications are lazy and are using bulk-lists of “bad actor Internet addresses” as a security measure–in lieu of actually running up-to-date operating systems and anti-malware software on their servers. Given that your Internet address is almost always subject to change, a “bad actor Internet address” list is worthless–both in its ability to stop bad actors (because their address could change any second) and its propensity to inappropriately block good actors.

      • (firing up the hotspot…)

        I think you are correct. Had a bout of ISP constipation last year, and I did some research. I have landline DSL through the local telco, with a “dynamic” IP address. Quotes because dynamic in this case means it changes every 30+- days. Last time, the pipe cleared after a month. Twist: I have the same service at my business, and it’s a dynamic IP also, but we’ve never had this problem there. Perhaps residential v. commercial is a thing?

        So yes, I think you are onto something. Take note, TTAG.

      • Try restarting your home internet service to see if it gets a different IP address. That may solve the issue.

        • Southern Cross,

          Some Internet providers assign “dynamic” IP addresses which are static for-all-intents-and-purposes. Example: I know someone’s router which has had the same “dynamic” IP address for about three years now.

          Outside of that, though, I know what you mean.

  9. 2/3rds of Turks and Caicos income is from tourism.
    Time to go scorched earth on them. Not one dime from me said the guy who won’t even drive through Illinois. LOL!

    • Don’t go scorched Earth on them. Go scorched flesh. Just a few dozen detonations of Megaton class nukes at high altitude will expose those beautiful islands to enough thermal radiation to ignite their clothing and inflict fourth degree burns without destroying the local infrastructure or flora. Once these islands are properly sterilized, we can take them over from the British to administer them as an independent, free country where the original Constitution is still honored.

  10. Same goes for anything worn while reloading… one of my brothers was detained at Phoenix airport, missed his flight, and had his checked bag impounded at his destination. He had driven my parents to Arizona, left them their car, and carried a coat with him as the weather back here was below zero. Unfortunately, it was a coat he had worn months prior while reloading a large number of cartridges and set off the detector in the security screening.

    • About a decade ago I worked for an agri-business and rural supply company. While on a project to install new IT equipment at remote (VERY remote) sites I was randomly selected for explosives testing on every flight. I had to tell the tester about the business I worked for in case I tested positive.

  11. Have your chit together gat owner’s! Haven’t been on an airline since 1990 but things have changed a helluva lot since 9-11-2001. No real sympathy from me. It ain’t your friendly sheriff who’ll give you a pass🙄

  12. Only the stupid and in many cases, the bigotry of the open borders crowd. These are the Americans who think they can break the laws of other countries.

    They think they can do whatever they want, in someone else’s “home.”

    They don’t believe in Liberty. Because they don’t believe in the concept of responsibility and consequences.

    It’s your responsibility to make sure your luggage is “clean.”

  13. “comments moderation”

    So now the words “res.pon.sib.ility” and “con.seq.uen.ces” are on the list of banned words???

  14. Man, those words went out back in the ‘60s. Tech is just now catching up. Or setting up a reset…

  15. Off topic , but related.

    Back in the day , when my ship pulled into port , we all had to take a class on local rules and customs. We were continually warned that if for whatever reason ( arrest , hospitilaztion etc ) we missed departure that we were UA ( unauthorized absence ) and after our local ordeal was over that we would be charged under the UCMJ.

    This article got my attention because a friend is currently buying a house in T&C. My first words of advice were to learn every rule , boundary and local customs as he can.

    Theres no constitutional protections , or rights in foreign countries. Sure fire way to piss off local law is to spew some shit about being an American and wanting your rights honored.

    Yes I can understand the simple mistakes made. But those simple mistakes could easily cost you everything by the time you get released.

    • In middle eastern countries showing the bottom of your feet or shoes is a serious insult.

      And this was in US military guide books from WW2!

  16. What the U.S. government should do, as noted in the article, and what they likely will do are unfortunately far removed from each other. Seems like the following question is, sad to note, well founded. Whose side is our government, that is the U.S. government, on?

  17. While I think TCI is going overboard don’t use your travel bags for your hunting/shooting bags! They aren’t that expensive so have one for travel and one for gun related gear.

  18. OK, I get it. Be respectful–they have their own rules. But a 12 year prison sentence for having 2 bullets? I’ll say it again 2 bullets. What can you do with 2 bullets, throw them at the locals? Fire them from a bamboo cannon? No wait, I don’t think there’s any bamboo. I would send an Aircraft carrier group with Seal Team 6 and demand the immediate release and and end to a ridiculous law. Keep the gun law if you like, but not the bullet law, especially not 1 or 2 bullets.
    Just my simple thoughts.

  19. Other countries can make their own laws, applicable within their own borders. They may markedly differ from American law, but that’s the way cookies crumble. Should you choose to go to another country, it’s your responsibility to find out about their law, especially regarding arms and ammunition if you take any. Of course, going to foreign countries is usually a voluntary act on your part, not something you are required to do, something you should keep in mind. If the laws of another country are hostile to one’s preferences, one would be well advised to avoid that country. It’s that simple.

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