Buying Ammo and Guns in the US Virgin Islands

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

This piece digs into the laws and regulations that govern ammunition and firearms sales, carriage, and possession in the US Virgin Islands. To do so, we first explore the ammo laws in the territory. From there, we explain the gun laws in terms of both buying and carrying firearms. To wrap things up, we leave you with some resources that you’ll find useful if you want to buy, own, and carry firearms in the US Virgin Islands.

We do not intend this piece as legal advice. Instead, our hope is that you can use the information here to begin your own research before making decisions.

The US Virgin Islands is a territory administered by the United States. Because of this, federal laws generally apply in the territory even though US Virgin Island residents do not vote in Federal Elections. There is also a territorial legislature: thus, firearms regulations in the territory come from both federal and local laws.

The US Virgin Islands have firearms laws that are far stricter than most states. This territory requires several permits to own and carry firearms, and the permitting process for firearms carriage is an expensive and complex one. The sheer number of regulations, bans, and restrictions in the territory mean that it is a highly restrictive environment for firearms ownership. 

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in  the US Virgin Islands 

The US Virgin Islands are fairly restrictive when it comes to ammunition purchases. Much of this restrictiveness comes from the fact that the territory requires a permit for any firearms and ammunition purchase or ownership at all.

Aside from that restriction, the territory also has an explicit ban on .50BMG ammunition.

Federal laws apply in addition to the territorial restrictions. The ATF has two sets of relevant requirements. First is an age requirement: those who want to buy ammo for long guns  (shotguns and rifles) have to be at least eighteen years old, and handgun ammo buyers have to be at least twenty-one. Secondly,  buyers cannot be prohibited persons, which the ATF defines as those who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, those who have been found mentally incompetent in court, and people who have been involuntarily committed to an inpatient facility for mental health treatment. 

The requirement to have a territorial permit to acquire any ammo at all makes the US Virgin Islands restrictive on its own, and it also adds an additional dimension. Because retailers do not want the legal responsibility for administering territorial law-which is always a legal grey area since territories and states are treated differently under the Constitution- retailers are unwilling to ship ammunition or firearms to the US Virgin Islands.

This means that the only reliable way to get ammunition to the US  Virgin Islands will be to purchase it at an FFL in the territory, which will check the status of the territorial firearms permit with every purchase. This process will not only mean higher ammo prices for consumers, it means that it is virtually impossible to ship ammunition to a residence in the US Virgin Islands. 

Firearms Laws in the US Virgin Islands 

The firearms laws in the US Virgin Islands are similarly restrictive to their ammunition laws. The same permit mentioned above is necessary to purchase firearms in addition to ammunition.

There are also bans in the state: there’s a territory-level assault weapons ban, but this ban is unusual. The assault weapons ban in the US Virgin Islands’ assault weapons ban uses the more common definition of an assault weapon from scholarship on military strategy, which defines an assault weapon as being capable of automatic fire and firing an intermediate cartridge. Thus, the US Virgin Islands do seem to allow for semi-automatic rifles as long as the owner does not also have a kit (such as a drop-in sear) that would convert that semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic one. The territory also bans machine guns and short-barreled rifles and shotguns. 

The ownership permitting process can take up to thirty days in the US Virgin Islands, meaning that there is a de-facto-month waiting period for the first gun purchase that a buyer makes in the US Virgin Islands.  With the permit in hand, the buyer should bring it, another form of ID with a US Virgin Islands address on it, and payment to the local FFL. There, the FFL will have the buyer fill out ATF Form 4473 to fulfill federal background check and purchase record requirements. All firearms bought in the territory are also registered to the buyer at the time of purchase. 

Though the territorial government does not publish much on the matter, some sources indicate that there is a month's waiting period to buy any firearm even with a permit within the territory. Private sales of firearms are not possible in the US Virgin Islands since there is mandatory registration of firearms and a likely waiting period for every sale.

The carriage of firearms in the territory is very restricted. Not only is open carriage of a firearm totally prohibited, but the violation of either the carriage or possession laws of the territory can, in some instances, result in a life sentence in a territorial prison.

The concealed carry scheme in the US Virgin Islands is the most complex out of anywhere under the banner of the US Constitution. There are six separate permits to carry firearms. Some are only for farmers, others are for business owners, and only one allows a person to carry a firearm outside of their home. Making matters worse, at the time of this writing, there is no indication of how to apply for said permit on the US Virgin Islands Police website. The only way to begin the process might well be to call or go in person. Consulting with a local attorney will be necessary, it seems, to make any headway in the process of acquiring a permit to apply for a firearms permit in the US Virgin Islands.

Since the territorial police’s website is so bare of information, it is difficult to discern where one can legally carry a firearm. Thus, the only guideposts we have available are to follow the exact text for the issued permit if you are successful in obtaining a weapons license in the US Virgin Islands. In terms of carrying firearms, this territory’s laws more closely resemble European gun laws in terms of both opacity and a slightly veiled effort to keep people from even applying.

Everywhere under US jurisdiction prevents people from carrying firearms on federal property such as post offices and military installations.

The US Virgin Islands has extremely strict gun laws. A permit and waiting periods accompany all firearm transactions. Once in a person’s possession, it is almost always illegal to carry that firearm in public either openly or concealed, and as of this writing, there are no good, governmental sources for even begging a firearms permit application. Calling a local attorney for guidance will be a must given the long sentences the territorial laws have for violating its opaque firearms laws.

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in  the US Virgin Islands 

There is no sales tax in the US Virgin Islands. There are however business taxes, excise taxes, and import tariffs that will likely get passed onto customers when buying firearms in the territory. It’s also safe to assume that any firearms permits will come with fees, though these are not publicly listed online. 

More Resources:

  • is a great tool for finding ranges that are convenient for you. Use the mileage, city, and zip code features to find a range that suits your needs.

  • The ATF keeps a list of every FFL in the country down to the state level, which you can use to find gun stores. Gun stores are typically Type One or Two FFLS.

  • The gun stores in the US Virgin Islands are of limited quantity and quality according to Yelp, sadly. 

  • We cannot stress enough: since the local gun laws are opaque and the penalties include life in prison for some offenses, call an attorney if you plan to buy firearms in this territory.

US Virgin Islands Gun Laws FAQ:

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Absolutely not. Doing so violates local arms trafficking laws and carries massive penalties. Best to buy ammo in person in this territory.

Yes, but the ban seems to use the academic definition of an assault weapon, meaning that they consider automatic weapons as assault weapons.

Yes, but they have to be declared upon entry, meet the standards of USVI law, and will be registered to the owner.

There are, but they are few, and far between, and have little online presence. The Virgin Islands are extremely anti-gun in their policies.