Police doing a big business in snagging illegal guns

All these homemade weapons were confiscated in the province of Limón, police said. Photo: Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública

Fuerza Pública officials report that officers confiscated more than 800 firearms from January to May this year. As expected, the greatest number of illegal weapons were found in the provinces of San José and Limón.

The figure comes from the department’s Sección de Análisis y Estadísticas, which said that more than 600 of the firearms were revolvers or pistols. Homemade firearms accounted for 115 of the confiscations.

Many of these are simply tubes that can house a shell. Sometimes the firing pin is a nail. Still they can be lethal.

Even as police officials were announcing the numbers, officers on the street still were confiscating weapons. A .22 caliber handgun came into police hands in Alajuelita Wednesday afternoon as they arrested two men as robbery suspects. There also were confiscation in Puntarenas and Cartago.

The statistical summary made no distinction between weapons confiscated administratively, such as from hunters, and those confiscated from criminal suspects. Some people carry illegal weapons because they are afraid of criminals or are unable to complete the lengthy process of getting a gun permit.

Not all of the confiscations result in criminal prosecutions.

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