© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Sergeant Onassis Ferguson, Royal Bahamas Defence Force, leaves the Coral Harbour base during a patrol in Coral Harbour, Bahamas, April 20, 2022.REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File photo
Nassau (Reuters) – The United States needs to do more to control the illicit flow of weapons to the Bahamas amid growing concerns about gun violence and homicides in the Caribbean nation, the country’s prime minister said on Monday.
According to official data, more than 90 percent of guns confiscated and used as murder weapons in the Bahamas can be traced back to U.S. manufacturers and gun stores.
“We’re telling Americans they need more,” Prime Minister Philip Davis told reporters during a police conference.
“While we don’t want to get involved in the domestic issue of their weapons being held, we are concerned that gun buyers are not buying firearms not just to carry, but to export and transport.”
Davis said he had spoken to senior U.S. officials about the issue and they accepted his concerns. He declined to identify the officials.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Police said 22 people were murdered in the Bahamas in March, possibly one of the highest monthly numbers on record, apparently driven by gang clashes and drug disputes.
So far this year, police have seized 172 firearms.