The Commissioner of Public Safety in American Samoa says a programme to train police officers in the handling of firearms has been approved and the arming of officers could become a reality late next year.
William Haleck has the support of the governor to allow police officers to carry guns and is in the process of setting up a training course.
Mr Haleck says a small number of officers would initially receive training in the use of less lethal types of protection such as batons, pepper spray, and tasers.
He says using firearms is a last resort but says officers must be able to protect themselves as long as handguns continue to be smuggled into the territory.
"The bad guys have the guns and we don't have any guns so it's best to be safe than to be sorry and we've already had incidents in the past. I think it's high time that we need to take a very serious look at this because why not have it in case we do have a situation."
A police officer was fatally shot outside the High Court in 2010.