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Costa Rica’s stricter gun laws pass second debate

August 21, 2019

The Legislative Assembly approved in a second debate a reform to Costa Rica’s gun laws which will impose stricter limits on individual firearm possession.

The bill, which on Tuesday received 43 votes in favor to just three against, sets a limit of two firearms for most Costa Ricans. It also better defines what types of firearms are legal and complements recent changes to the country’s laws to impose prison time for unregistered firearm ownership.

Other notable parts of the bill include a mandate that legal entities (personas jurídicas) can only register firearms if they are to be used for private security services, and the weapons must first be approved by the Ministry of Public Security (MSP).

MSP said in a statement that the new regulations will “provide new and better controls to prevent weapons from passing from security companies to organized crime.”

The reforms will become active once they are published in La Gaceta, the official government newspaper. Read the full text of the bill here.

The stricter gun laws come as Costa Rica experiences a rise in homicides. Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) say figures reached 12.1 violent deaths per 100,000 citizens in 2017.

That number decreased in 2018 to 11.7, still significantly higher than the worldwide average of 5.3 in 2015, according to the UN office on drugs and crime.

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