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Old 20-11-2007, 07:12   #61
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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
doina’s ”pirate report” reads a lot more like a typical encounter with opportunistic “street toughs” (OK, boat toughs), than with “pirates”.
I could understand their concern whilst events developed, and the outcome remained in doubt; but to pine for weaponry as the situation safely resolves* strikes me as either an overstatement (for dramatic purposes) or pure foolishness.

* “… They kept close watch to us at the back of our boat for another 5 minutes. Finally they changed course and went away from us. At that moment I started regretting that I did not bring my shotguns with me…”
my thoughts exactly, though I'd chalk it up to misplaced machismo.
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Old 20-11-2007, 11:15   #62
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If he had a shotgun, would he have used it? would it have been taken form him, and used on the people on board? Would he have spent the rest of his life in a foriegn jail for shooting a native of that country? Better that he didn't!!
I find it odd that he regretted not taking his guns as they turned and left.
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Old 20-11-2007, 14:23   #63
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Dear Compass,
As I write this I am in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, waiting for my passport and bail money to be returned. I have been jailed for three days, detained for 151 days, posted US$100,000 bail, spent $10,000 in attorney fees, and was fined $18,000. I don't think I will be back any time soon. This is no paradise.
I got caught up in a legal trap that is immoral and I believe illegal. I am sure that I am not the first sailboat cruiser entering USVI waters to be victimized by this well-hidden gun law.
Virgin Islanders are good people. To them I apologize. I think they deserve better.
Since selling my business in 2001, I have pursued a lifelong dream of sailing to exotic places. Piracy is a problem and violent crime against "cruisers" in the Caribbean and elsewhere is increasing. For these reasons I carry firearms on board. I register or surrender my guns whenever it is required. My problem here was not due to my negligence. I am a member of the National Rifle Association and have a valid Florida Concealed Weapons Permit as evidence of my responsible gun ownership. I was in an elite army airborne unit and trained to use a variety of firearms. I grew up on ranches in Montana where carrying a gun when leaving the ranch house was standard.
On April 24, 2007 in St. Thomas, ATF and local authorities confiscated my guns following a USCG Safety Inspection. I was not arrested because the investigating officers were satisfied that I posed no threat to the community, and I had cause for possessing my guns. Weeks later, on May 22, I was arrested and jailed for three days. The arresting officer apologized; he knew it served no good purpose. A USVI prosecutor and my attorney agreed that $3,500 bail was appropriate. However, the judge demanded a $100,000 cash bail (O.J. Simpson only paid $125,000 for armed robbery).
I was originally charged with Failure to Register Firearms. However, the over-zealous USVI Prosecutor's Office quickly upped the charges to Illegal Firearms Possession that carries mandatory prison sentences and heavy fines, completely disregarding my Florida Concealed Weapons Permit which is accepted in 30 States and by the USVI Gun Laws.
The USVI Prosecutor tried every way to get maximum penalties charged to me. Twice he tried to get the US Federal Government to press charges, but they refused. I broke no US Federal Laws! I am still puzzled as to why he pursued that route.
After a lot of backroom negotiation between the prosecutor and my attorney, and some encouragement by the ATF Agent, a first-class individual, I was offered a deal. It stipulated that if I plead guilty to Failure to Register Firearms, the prosecutor would recommend to the judge a $5,000 fine with no jail time and the return of my shotgun. I was told that 99 percent of the time the judge accepts the prosecutor's recommendations. My attorney encouraged accepting the plea offer.
So, I made the change of plea, and, at the same hearing, I requested permission to travel because Hurricane Dean was aiming at the Virgin Islands. I explained that my sailboat represents a large part of my retirement net worth and my storm insurance is not valid at this latitude since July 1st. My request to travel was denied because the judge felt that if other boats were willing to stay in St. Thomas it was good enough for me. He also said that "$100,000 is not enough to assure that you will return for sentencing, if you make another request."
On September 21st, I faced the judge again, this time for sentencing. The Pre-Sentence Report explained that boaters rely on the Customs clear-in procedure to define the rules; their cruising guides make no mention of USVI gun registration. He was given examples of other countries' Customs forms, with spaces for gun declarations, versus the US Customs Form (the one used for USVI clear-in). And, paying $75 to register a gun and then having to apply for a separate permit (three local references are required) to actually possess your registered gun makes no sense for cruisers passing through the USVI.
The judge listened to our arguments and examples, unimpressed by their merit, ultimately stating, "You should have known that there was a USVI gun registration requirement: you could have searched the Internet."
I was fined $18,000. No guns were returned.
Is it reasonable to expect visitors to search the Internet to discover critical laws and requirements not defined at Customs clear-in?
A transient boater cannot legally register a firearm in the USVI. You must have a "bona fide residence or place of business within the Virgin Islands" to apply for gun registration. My attorney, a former USVI prosecutor, said, "By this legal wording you would have been arrested if you had tried to register your guns". How does a transient boater approach the USVI Government about gun registration without risk of being arrested?
Nothing relating to USVI gun registration and permitting was in print: no notices at Customs, no notices at the marinas. Boaters are left to chance to discover the USVI gun registration requirement. Some countries require boaters to carry their guns to Customs for surrender, others forbid it. Without a notice at Customs, or anything in print as guidance, what do you do? A wrong decision could get you arrested. In my case it did.
Wayne Lenoir
S/V Novatrix
PS I finally got my passport back, but the bail refund check will not be available until next Wednesday. Within minutes of getting the check I will be sailing to Trinidad.
This is a letter from Caribbean Compass . Think twice before loading your M -16 on board . My wife's girlfriend lived in New York for a year . In one year alone , when commuting to work by subway was mugged twice at gun pint , but never thought of putting a loaded gun in her purse . That's way she's still alive.
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Old 26-11-2007, 09:16   #64
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jesus, what a horror story. perhaps a different set of weapons should be considered. I understand your desire to be able to deal with a threat, however, there are many unregulated items that are as lethal, if not more so than a firearm.

It is incontestable that there are lots of people in the world who would do you harm given the opportunity. If you travel around long enough, sooner or later you will meet a few. What happens then, well, like most things dealing with the ocean, foresight and planning may help, or not.

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Old 26-11-2007, 10:17   #65
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If some jackass steals my car no one would care. If he steals my boat, then it's a "pirate attack" and ends up on a web site somewhere.

***********

In regards to the horror story above, I really feel for you. That seems like one of the many reasons I won't be taking any weapons onboard with me. You had an M-16? Jeez dude; that's kinda extreme.

I was in the military too, and have been robbed at gunpoint myself. I've got a gun on the boat here in the states, but only because I had it when I lived on land and it was easier to bring it with me than to deal with the hassle of selling it.

Whenever we leave US waters (takes ah hour to hit Mexico from here), we take the gun off the boat.

I was in the military and I did have a gun stuck in my face a few years back. But I'm not in the military anymore, and all the guy who stuck a gun at me wanted was to know if I knew of a place to by weed.

As you pointed out, it's a hell of a lot more trouble than it's worth.
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Old 26-11-2007, 10:29   #66
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Maybe that story would have been scarier if I was there, but it sounds like some bored kids wanted to sell them some bum weed or basically just hustle them. Am I the only person who didn't grow up in Mayberry?

Like I said above, if these kids steal a car, we don't care. If they stole a dinghy, ten angry cruisers would write letters about it, and it would end up being a footnote in some "piracy report".

Do you think the guy that "wanted his shotguns" has ever walked through an actual inner city before? Heaven forbid at night? Just because people aren't white middle class doesn't mean they want to eat your brains and sell your children into slavery.
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Old 26-11-2007, 11:03   #67
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Rebel,
I don't think we should discount the recent spate of attacks off of South America by armed men who *might* have been affiliated with local law enforcement. There was also a fatality recently. In any event, I'm not going to tell anyone not to take whatever steps they feel entitled to to protect their boat, their property, their family and their own life. That's not my or anyone else's call. On my boat, yeah, its my call. On his, its his call. that's just the way I see it.

Most of these countries are being seriously anal over firearms on yachts. What, they think the cruiser is coming down to foment armed rebellion? yeah right...Seems kind of silly when you think of the Coast Guard, and navy warships pulling into harbot vs. the lone sailor with a shotgun. I somehow doubt that cutter or frigate out there is surrendering their weapons while in local waters...

It will be interesting to see what the Supremes do on this upcoming 2nd Amendment case.

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Old 26-11-2007, 11:34   #68
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I won't argue that there is certainly a huge legal difference when it comes to firearms. But the USA is on the far end of the extreme compared to most other industrialized nations.

But you could easily make the same argument about marijuana. A guy with a few joints on his boat has about as much in common with a drug smuggler as a guy with a pistol does with an arms smuggler.

Laws are laws, and while I certainly agree in principle that I should be able to take my pistol around the world, safely secured in my vessel, I also am fine with that not being the case. And the more I think about it, the whole idea of traveling is to experience other cultures. Not always on your terms, but on their's.

In most countries, you need to wear more formal clothes. Sundays everything is closed. These aren't the kind of culture that people tend to want, but it's culture none the less.

In the case of the kids trying to hustle the guy on his yacht, it's entirely possible that someone with a tad more street sense, meeting these guys in a different venue, could have gotten to understand exactly what it is that they're about.

A good example for ya: I used to play paintball a lot, and we'd go to this place about 30 miles south of the border in Mexico. Best paintball field I've ever been to, anywhere, hands down. Coolest people, best range, etc. We would run into the Tijuana SWAT team down there, and random TJ (nickname for Tijuana) cops. Eventually we hung out with them enough and started having lunch with them, and learned that in Tijuana, you're supposed to know certain cops. Unlike America, where we don't really know police unless you're doing something wrong, in Tijuana you're supposed to know a cop in your neighborhood. If you don't know a cop, then you *probably* are doing something illegal, otherwise why don't you know any cops? Doesn't make sense to an American, but down there, it's the way it works.

There's a about a million miles of gray between suburban-white-collar-pudgy-middle-class-white-man on a million dollar yacht and meth crazed pirates with AK-47's.

Living near Tijuana, I see a lot of that polarized thinking. Even my own parents think it's crazy down there. They hear reports of kidnapping, Mexican prisons, etc. I've been going down there off and on for 20 years; no problems.

Sure, some Marines have been locked up in Mexican prisons down there. The part you don't see (that I do) is a drunk Marine pissing in the middle of the street while drunk off his ass, because Mexico isn't a country to him, it's just a theme park where he can get loaded and get a hooker.

Sorry for the rant. I don't mean to be judging anyone, and I know there are bad people out there. Half of my piss and vinegar about this is my own argument inside my head with the problem. I still have that knee-jerk Americanism in me that whipers "protect your family... have a gun!".
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Old 26-11-2007, 11:34   #69
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...It will be interesting to see what the Supremes do on this upcoming 2nd Amendment case.seer
Perhaps not to those cruising outside of the District of Columbia, and certainly not to those outside of U.S. waters.

Any decision from the court, in it's appeal of D.C. vs Dick Anthony Heller, will only apply to the Federal government, and not laws passed by states and cities, because the District of Columbia is a federal entity.
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Old 26-11-2007, 11:47   #70
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As much as I would like to take my gun aboard, it's not going to happen. Not for traveling to foreign countries. The greatest irony is how easy it is for criminals to get guns yet those who need to protect themselves against this element are left defenseless. While in the mean time, the countries who are telling us that we cannot possess firearms are incapable of protecting us from those same criminals. It is almost as if some countries are trying to protect the criminal against a yachtie who might pull a gun on them in defense.

This brings me to my next thought. For those who do "pack", has anyone ever found a clever way of concealing a firearm onboard? I don't expect anyone to reveal any specifics, but some ideas might be handy.
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Old 26-11-2007, 12:27   #71
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Perhaps not to those cruising outside of the District of Columbia, and certainly not to those outside of U.S. waters.

Any decision from the court, in it's appeal of D.C. vs Dick Anthony Heller, will only apply to the Federal government, and not laws passed by states and cities, because the District of Columbia is a federal entity.
Not my point Gord. (I'm a member of the Supreme Court Bar and am familiar with the case, AND, in any event, any interpretation of the Second Amendment will dramatically effect all US jurisdictions).

The importance (to me anyway) will be in how far they are willing to go in defining exactly what Jefferson and his cohorts had in mind when they wrote/approved the amendment. For me, the issue is settled. Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Madison etc. all left ample evidence in their writings to convince me that their intent was to protect the right of the individual to at least defend himself /family and friends from a 'tyrannical' force, even should that force turn out to be his own federal government. This bunch loved individual freedom, (at least among occidentals); and in some ways clearly and intentionally hampered the efficient operations of our government-writing off that efficiency in favor of individual liberties. Also, beyond this issue we'll get a peek at how the new Court intends to weigh present day circumstances against the Framer's expressed intentions.

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Old 26-11-2007, 13:18   #72
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... 1. The greatest irony is how easy it is for criminals to get guns yet those who need to protect themselves against this element are left defenseless. 2. While in the mean time, the countries who are telling us that we cannot possess firearms are incapable of protecting us from those same criminals...
3. This brings me to my next thought. For those who do "pack", has anyone ever found a clever way of concealing a firearm onboard? I don't expect anyone to reveal any specifics, but some ideas might be handy.
1. Those who illegally bring firearms into jurisdictions that prohibit them*, or conceal their possession in jurisdictions that regulate them*, ARE criminals.

* Virtually all jurisdictions regulate firearms possession in some manner.
See also: “Firearms Regulations by Country” http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f57/firearms-regulations-country-1641.html
Link: http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ntry-1641.html

2. In most countries, you are “safer” from violent crime than you are in the USA.


3. Your query about “clever concealment” appears to be soliciting advice of a criminal nature.

The Admin/Mod team never thought to specifically address this issue, but I wouldn't think it permissible.

As Dorothy said to Toto: “I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore".
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Old 26-11-2007, 13:49   #73
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Technically I could "cleverly conceal" my firearm on my boat, totally legally. In fact I do keep it somewhat concealed, just in case some drunk hops on my boat while I'm off it and starts rumaging around the lockers.

If you do keep a firearm on board, keep it wrapped. I have my pistol in a ziplock bag, in a locked plastic case. Again, I mainly have it because I haven't gotten rid of it yet.

It's a good idea, like when storing them in your home, to not have them in an easy to find location in the event that a robbery occurs. Keep the magazine in a seperate ziplock bag, in a very different location.

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At least when I was boarding boats, it was illegal to have a sealed off compartment that makes it look like it's part of the hull. Generic rule to nab smugglers.
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Old 26-11-2007, 13:54   #74
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Not my point Gord. (I'm a member of the Supreme Court Bar and am familiar with the case, AND, in any event, any interpretation of the Second Amendment will dramatically effect all US jurisdictions)…
…The importance (to me anyway) will be in how far they are willing to go in defining exactly what Jefferson and his cohorts had in mind when they wrote/approved the amendment… seer


I too have been admitted to a number of bars – in fact I’m drinking in one at this moment. (Sorry, couldn't resist)

The words "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State." (… the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.) might be interpreted to mean that “right” exists only for individuals actively serving in the militia, and then only pursuant to such regulations as may be prescribed (the “collective” model). Until Parker v D.C, the United States federal courts have consistently interpreted the Second Amendment on the collective right model, protecting the rights of states to maintain militias.

You’re right. It will be an interesting decision, and an insight into the near future: “at how the new Court intends to weigh present day circumstances against the Framer's expressed intentions.”

I understand your point - but mine was that:
Notwithstanding, I don’t believe the case has much interest, nor application to most cruisers.
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Old 26-11-2007, 14:07   #75
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This brings me to my next thought. For those who do "pack", has anyone ever found a clever way of concealing a firearm onboard? I don't expect anyone to reveal any specifics, but some ideas might be handy.
I wouldn't think of ever taking a gun aboard any vessel, but the notion of hiding valuables on a vessel begs the same question you've raised, David.

It brought to mind the account in Pat and Ali Schulte's log of their circumnavigation, of a thief boarding their catamaran while they visited friends on a nearby vessel, less than a hundred meters away. The incident occurred while they were cruising Turkey:

~ ~ ~

"Around 7 o'clock we noticed some friends of ours had come into the anchorage. Ali locked up the door and we went over to say hi. Around 11 o'clock we came back to the boat and I went downstairs to check e-mail. While I was doing that Ali came down next to me and noticed water on the floor. We turned on the lights and couldn't figure out where the leak was coming from. It seemed strange but we finally assumed that when I had run back to the boat a couple of hours earlier to turn on the anchor light and grab a couple of things that I must have had wet feet. A couple of minutes later I remembered that there was a part I wanted to work on the next day that was in the locker in the port engine room. I flicked on the light and was about to grab the part when I noticed a pair of my shorts balled up in the corner.

"I yelled to Ali to ask her what they were doing there and then it suddenly dawned on us that somebody had been on the boat. Ali grabbed her bag and found her wallet but when she opened it up she found the money gone, 400 Lira (about $250 US). All except twenty lira which I guess was left as a joke. Then she noticed that the camera was gone too. We then started scouring the boat to see what else had been taken. We found that the thief had gone through all of our lockers but hadn't taken anything, and had tried to straighten things up so that it wouldn't look like anybody had been there. He had gone through the nav station which had two laptop computers and an iPod sitting in plain view but they were left alone. He had obviously been looking for cash and probably knew that every boat has a hidden stash somewhere on it. He had been just inches away from our US cash stash, but didn't find it, and would have been disappointed anyway since we spent it all in Africa.

"Everything had been touched and then apparently wiped down with my shorts. We found that he had come in through an open hatch in the port engine room because the bed was wet. I always give Ali a hard time because she insists on always locking up the house. If we had gone into town every window would have been shut and the door locked. But since we had only gone over to a friends boat 100 meters away we didn't think anything of it, yet she still locked the door. The only other thing we found missing were our Bumfuzzle boat cards, which are in Ali's wallet and just have our e-mail and website address on them. So I suppose now the thief will be sitting in an internet café reading about this. Our credit cards and drivers licenses were left alone and he never found the key to the safe which has all of our boat papers and passports in it. The worst thing for us is losing our camera. That makes three lost cameras on this trip and this one had cost us over $800 in New Zealand. And to top it all off, the camera is completely worthless to him because he doesn't have the cords to charge it or to transfer pictures from it so that already today it is probably sitting in some garbage can."

(From
bumfuzzle jul 2006 July 5, 2006: Gocek, Turkey.)

~ ~ ~

I almost bought Bumfuzzle last spring, and I wanted to know where their great hidey-hole was, but I wouldn't have even considered asking until after the closing.

So, I think your inquiry has merit, David. Setting aside the whole gun thing, a cruiser is just as interested in secreting other valuable items (cash, passports, cameras, laptops, etc.), and it would be interesting to know some of the clever ways others have dealt with this.

TaoJones


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