Let's assume you have a weapon on board and either never get searched, or never get very thoroughly searched. If you never have to use the gun, there most likely will never be any consequences. However, that's isn't why you smuggled an illegal firearm into another country in the first place. What happens if you actually shoot someone, or even just scare someone off by waving a pistol around? NOW you are probably going to have to answer some very tough and important questions posed to you by some people who probably won't look to kindly upon foreigners trafficking weapons into their country (and "trafficking weapons" is how their legal system will look at your actions).
IF you wind up shooting a real thug, the local officials MIGHT look the other way with regards to the weapon, or they might not. In many parts of the world one MIGHT be able to grease a few palms and get out from under the local legal system without too much trouble, but I wouldn't count on it. Or, the local constabulary MIGHT be grateful to you for getting rid of someone who has been a problem for a long time, but I wouldn't count on that either. Even if they are secretly happy that they have one less local ne'er-do-well to worry about, they are likely to frown on your shooting one of their own and/or see an opportunity to extract a whole lot of cash from some "rich gingo yachtie". In any case, they are much less likely to get in trouble for throwing a gun-running, cowboy, americano into jail than they are for looking the other way (and in many parts of the word, once you are in their legal system it ain't easy to get out of their legal system)
But, what if you panic and shoot some kid who's trying to pinch your dingy or its outboard at 2am? Do you think that the local officials are going to "look the other way" in that case? What if the kid is the nephew of the mayor or police captain? You just shot (maybe killed) a relative of a local official in a foreign port with a weapon you aren't even supposed to have. What do you think your chances are of seeing US soil any time soon? Do you think the US Embassy is going to do much for someone who knowingly smuggled a gun into the country and then shot a local over an outboard (or even the whole boat)?
The bottom line is that if you bring a firearm into many countries without declaring it you will be risking a world of hurt. If you never have to use it, you might very well get away with it --- but, that isn't why you brought it. If you use it UNDER VIRTUALLY ANY CIRCUMSTANCES you will very likely loose your freedom for a very long time, and your boat forever.
Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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Last edited by SlowButSteady; 06-04-2011 at 01:13 AM.