A.M. Costa Rica staff
The security ministry reported this week
that its officers confiscated 340 firearms
in the first four months of the year.
Not all the confiscations followed shootouts
like the one Monday in San Rafael Abajo de
Desamparados when a gunman fired on police.
Only 15 of the confiscated guns came from
drug raids. Almost always when the Fuerza
Pública and the Policía de Control de Drogas
officers conduct raids, they find weapons.
That makes sense. Drug dealers and producers
are big crime targets and keep weapons
around to protect themselves and their stash
Expats can draw some conclusions from the
1. Plenty of people are carrying weapons
illegally. If police officers found more
than 300 weapons simply by stopping and
frisking individuals on the street, the
number of unregistered weapons must be much
2. A high percentage of these weapons are
carried for self-protection as are all sorts
3. The poor and youngsters make their own
firearms. Police said the ministry
statistics show that some of the confiscated
weapons were made in Costa Rican workshops.
Several major criminal gangs also use the
services of specialists who can make guns
that then become untraceable.
de Seguridad Pública photo
One of many confiscated
The gangs also export these
specialists to other countries for the
4. The complex gun rules generally
can cause people to carry illegal firearms
instead of going through the lengthy
process to obtain permission from the
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.
Frequently private guards are found with
5. Expats should remember the next time
they shout out the window of their car to
a driver who has cut them off that there
is a good chance the offending motorist is
packing a weapon.
Police said that they thought the man
arrested in Desamparados was a hitman
trying to commit a murder. They said the
man fired 18 shots at another individual
who is suspected to be a major drug
The presumed victim was injured but lived.
He was hospitalized.
The gunman received a bullet in the leg
from police and also received medical