More restrictions on firearms draws opposing opinions

Two views on firearms surfaced at a legislative hearing Tuesday.

One witness maintained that bearing arms was a concession by the state. She was Elizabeth Fonseca. Her view was challenged by Ricardo Guardia, who maintained that the right to bear arms is a constitutional right.

The U.S. Supreme Court has found that possessing a firearm for self protection is a human right.

Ms. Fonseca is the president of the Partido Acción Ciudadana. Guardia has been associated with hunting organizations and now promotes access for everyone.

The two were commenting on a reform of various sections
of the arms and explosives law. The proposal prohibits the manufacture of any type of firearm in Costa Rica or components.

Minors would be excluded without exception from using firearms. There also would be more restrictions on issuing firearms permits.

The revisions are supported by the Chinchilla administration. The testimony was before the Comisión Permanente Especial de Seguridad y Narcotráfico, which is likely to pass the bill onto the full legislature.

Lawmakers heard that violence against persons, mainly robberies, increased 116 percent from 1990 to 2000.

Firearms were used in more than half of these crimes during 2003, lawmakers heard.

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