Vol.19 No.0524 Friday Edition, May 24, 2019
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After the announcement of this new law, the president made a symbolic act, destroying weapons that were confiscated from people linked to crimes. / Ministry of Security courtesy photo

President signs weapons law reform

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This Thursday, President Carlos Alvarado and the Minister of Public Security, Michael Soto signed a reform to the Weapons and Explosives Law at the Judicial Investigation Organization building* in San José.

President Alvarado congratulated the deputies for approving this reform to the current law, "Costa Rica is moving towards [being] a safer country."

The reform was approved by the deputies of the Legislative Assembly on April 9. The main change is the increase in jail sentences illegal weapons possession. The old jail sentences were four years the new one is eight years for "owning, buying, selling, storing, export, import, or manufacture weapons that are prohibited by this law, including its parts or components."

In addition, the prison period for someone owning a non-registered weapon has increased from three to five years.

The law establishes the obligation of the seller of a weapon to report any sales to the Department of Weapons and Explosives of the Ministry of Security.

The approved reform also applies sanctions for those who do not report the loss or theft of a weapon within five days after that loss.

Any company or person that receives weapons, ammunition, or explosives as a guarantee of a loan will be sanctioned.

Private security companies have to give their weapons to the Ministry of Security when they close operations to prevent the guns from ending up in the hands of criminals.

According to the Ministry of Security statistics, this year the police have been seized 863 illegal guns.

Michael Soto, Minister of Security, says, "one of the main goals has been to take illegal firearms from the streets, many of them used to commit crimes."

After the announcement of this new law, the president made a symbolic act, destroying weapons that were confiscated from people linked to crimes.

The law goes into effect after it is published in the government newspaper known as La Gaceta. It is expected that this publication will be in a couple of weeks.

In addition, the new law only applies to new gun purchases. The people who bought or sold any gun before this law will not be affected by these changes.

At the moment, deputies of the Legislative Assembly are analyzing another reform, this one to articles 7, 20, 23 and 51 of the Law of Weapons and Explosives.

The goal of that new reform is to reduce individual ownership from three to two. There is no deadline for deputies to approve or disapprove this reform.


Do you think it is reasonable to allow an adult to own only two weapons?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story.  Send your comments to:

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