Plenty of firearms are illegal, and some are just homemade

Despite police efforts and registration requirements, illegal weapons proliferate.

The Fuerza Pública confiscated eight firearms Tuesday, including one homemade device with four barrels.

Some expats have said they keep illegal firearms because the registration process is too difficult and has to be repeated frequently.

That was born out when police went to a La Uruca home this week and found an 85-year-old man with two  pistols. His wife had turned him in and told police that she worried about the safety of the family because of the man’s declining mental state.

The man showed documents to police, but the documents to keep the weapons legally had expired in 1975, they said.

Not everyone who carries an illegal firearm is a crook. Only permanent expat residents here can obtain a firearm permit, but many so-called perpetual tourists, pensionados or rentistas keep a pistol or shotgun in their home for protection.

There also is a steady commercial trade in illegal weapons. Those who cannot afford even a cheap handgun, can consult the Internet for ways to build one.

That might not be a good idea. A street robber killed earlier this month had a homemade weapon. The man who killed him carried a legal and professionally built firearm.

This homemade pistol is fired by pulling a cord.

This homemade pistol is fired by pulling a cord.

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