New bill proposed in new effort to revamp the firearms law

A legislative commission presented Monday a new rewrite of the country’s firearms laws. Under the proposal, all foreigners except those with permanent residency are prohibited from possession of a firearm, just as the law says now.

But the new twist is that even those with permanent residency have to have held the status for five years before getting a firearm, according to the proposal.

The bill also seeks to create a data base of firearms that includes every weapon in the country.

The proposal came from the Comisión Permanente Especial de Seguridad y Narcotrafico in the form of a 19-page presentation. However, the actual bill, No. 19.716, is not available yet online.

The proposal was put forward as a measure supported by members of a number of political parties represented in the committee.

The presentation also characterizes possession of a firearm as a concession of the state and not a human right to self defense, as the U.S. Supreme Court has called it.

The bill also gives limit rights to those under 18 to use a firearm to participate in sports shooting. A prior version forbade this. In fact, the new measure contains parts of two previous proposals that never were made into law.

The proposal also would create more restrictions of where someone could carry a firearm. The law already prohibits carrying a weapon into large gatherings of persons, bars and similar.

The measure also would make law the provision in a recent decree that said persons carrying weapons while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs would lose their permit.

The measure also puts the burden on the person buying a firearm to complete all the requirements with the  Departamento  de Control de Armas y Explosivos of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. Under current law arms dealers frequently register weapon sales for their customers.

Those with multiple weapons would have to obtain a permit to carry for each one, and carrying more than one weapon at the same time would be prohibited.

Law enforcement would be given broad powers to question and search individuals in order to seek illegal weapons.

The proposal would continue to require an assessment by a psychiatrist of the mental state of those seeking a permit to have or to carry a firearm. These assessments generally are considered to be worthless, except for psychiatrists who charge a fee.

There also are more restrictions on those who can obtain a permit to have or carry a firearm.

The proposal includes criminal and administrative penalties.

Carrying a firearm without a permit to do so would bring a 50-day to one-year prison sentence. Selling arms illegally could bring a one-year to six-year prison sentence.

International arms trafficking could be penalized for a prison term of up to 10 years.

Fines would be levied on those with more weapons than their permits allowed, those who test positive for dope or alcohol and those who carry their weapon into places where it is prohibited.

Carrying a licensed firearm in a place on the body where it is visible also would continue to be illegal.

A lot of the regulations are modified for law enforcement and those working with security firms.

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