Defensoría urges tighter regulations on firearms

The  Defensoría de los Habitantes wants to tighten firearm regulations and estimated that there are 500,000 legal and illegal guns in the country.

Meanwhile, members of the Partido Acción Ciudadana would like to know where some 7,000 pistols and shotguns have gone. They are weapons assigned to security firms that have gone out of business.

The Defensoría said it wants better regulations for the importation, storage, registering, use and possession and carrying of arms. Citing data from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the agency said that the acquisition of firearms increased 94.68 percent since the year 2000 while there was no similar increase in the population.  In 2014, it said there were  225,348 registered firearms in the country.

The Defensoría de los Habitantes urges that security firms be permitted just one firearm for each armed employee. The other suggestions basically were to tighten regulations that already exist.

The legislature’s Comisión de Seguridad y Narcotráfico is considering a bill to reform the firearms law. The views of the Defensoría were presented there, and this is where members of the Partido Acción Ciudadana wanted to know about the missing firearms.

Marco Vinicio Redondo Quirós and Marvin Atencio Delgado contended that security companies have vanished, mostly for economic reasons, but the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública has not been quick to determine the whereabouts of the registered weapons.

The lawmakers called this a risk to citizen security.  They also said they would like to find out why hundreds of security firms are behind in payments to the Caja Costarricense Seguro Social.

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