Lawyer in heavy weapons case explains reasons

The lawyer who successfully argued against police carrying more powerful weapons said that he was opposed to allowing local police chiefs determine when such weapons could be used, particularly when the police are confronting a peaceful public protest.

The lawyer is Luis Roberto Zamora Bolaños, who also challenged Abel Pacheco when the former president listed Costa Rica among those countries supporting the United States in its invasion of Iraq, the lawyer said. That was in 2003.

Zamora said that Costa Rican law requires the president to authorize the use of heavier weapons but only in times of invasion or riot.
The Sala IV said that police could not use any weapons other than .22-caliber, 38-caliber or 9-millimeter. But then Thursday the court issued a clarification that said certain units, mainly tactical outfits, could use heavier weapons.

Typically most police officers carry 9-mm. pistols, but some officers, such as those at the border crossings, carry long guns.

Zamora said that he first challenged the directive by then-president Óscar Arias Sánchez permitting discretion on the types of weapons in 2011.

The Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo agreed, but then the Procuraduría General de la República appealed the decision, he said.

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