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Public Security Ministry destroys record number of guns

President Laura Chinchilla and Public Security Minister Mario Zamora donned safety glasses to bring a circular saw down on the last two firearms destroyed out of tens of thousands Wednesday in what authorities say was the largest single destruction of weapons in Costa Rican history.

In total, authorities destroyed 21,318 firearms and incinerated 872,882 small-caliber ammunitions.

“One of the most important blows to violence and crime has to do with the destruction of firearms,” Chinchilla said.

The president added that the policy of dismantling firearms has successfully prevented violence in the small Central American country, and she hoped the next administration would stay the course. Costa Rica has the one of the region’s lowest homicide rates and was recently named the safest country in Latin America by FTI Consulting.

The Organization of American States’ Assistance Program for the Control of Weapons and Munitions Destruction in Central America verified the event at the ministry’s Armament Administration in Dulce Nombre de Coronado, San José. According to OAS, Costa Rica has dismantled more weapons than any other country in Central America and is the country that has destroyed the most weapons used in a crime.

OAS representative Carl Case said that Costa Rica has destroyed nearly 32,000 weapons during the last two years. The Public Security Ministry claimed it has seized nearly 38,000 weapons during the Chinchilla administration.

The ministry destroyed 3,054 weapons in 2012.

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