Ex-Ministers and Experts Request Limit to 1 the Number of Weapons Allowed per Person

    Reform of the Weapons and Explosives Law Is Discussed in Security and Drug Trafficking Commission

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    Abelardo Canelo
    I am not only a fluent Spanish-English reader/speaker but also a bi-cultural person who has a broad solid background. I also have a passionate interest in different expressions of music, especially many American styles and their combinations (Folk-Country, Jazz, Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Soul, and so on), dance, stage and screen, and some other forms of artistic expression.

    A group of citizens, including ex-ministers and experts on the subject of Public Safety, requested the deputies to leave in 1 weapon the one allowed to register per person.

    Bill 20,509 aims to reform the Weapons and Explosives Law, and was initially established to reduce the number of weapons a person can register from 3 to 1. However, the previous Monday, the congressmen in the Security and Drug Trafficking Commission approved a motion that maintains the limit in 3, as established in the current legislation.

    Meeting of the Security and Drug Trafficking Commission

    Among them stand out some who were during the administration of Laura Chinchilla; Leonardo Garnier, former high-ranked officer in the Ministry of Public Education (MEP), Carlos Roverssi, former Minister of Communication, and Max Loría, former Vice Minister of Peace, aside from María Luis Ávila, who was in this administration and in the Government of Óscar Arias.

    They are joined by the communicator Cristiana Araya, Evelyn Villarreal, who works for the State of the Nation, Rafael Eduardo Núñez who is the director of the Costa Rica program, as well as Gonzalo Elizondo, an expert on human rights, the official adviser Pablo Soto, Sara Castrillo of the Foundation for Peace and Democracy.

    Loría informed that they will seek to send all the deputies a letter explaining and justifying their petition. “There is abundant scientific evidence that shows that increasing the possession of weapons in a community increases the homicide rate. This has been proven in many countries, different contexts and periods, but the impact is much greater in societies such as the Costa Rican with high development rates, purchasing power and highly urbanized. In that context, the relationship is much clearer: more weapons equals more homicides”, they sustain in the letter.

    More guns imply more homicides, according to the experts

    “In particular, we are concerned about the intention of some legislators to establish special permits for children under 12 years of age, which would undermine the rights of children enshrined in multiple international instruments”, they added.

    The Ex-Vice Minister of Peace said that when he was in that position, they pressed for the issue of arms control, even executed armed violence programs which allowed them good results in terms of security. Along with the Cabinet and the baton of Chinchilla, they came to the conclusion that the best thing was the possession of only 1 weapon, although he personally considers that the ideal is 0.

    Among the questions to the 20,509 project, is that, legal carriers, do not use these weapons to kill opponents as they do criminals. Therefore, before the wave of violence in the country, citizens are defenseless.

    Loría argued that this is not about opposing the legal bearers or pointing them out as the makers of crimes, however, the weapons pass into the hands of criminals, because, according to data provided by the Ministry of Public Security (MSP) through of the pro-government faction, reveal that during the last year, 778 weapons were stolen from the State, private security companies, and people who register them. “The perverse cycle of weapons makes weapons go from legality to illegality and end up being used in homicides. Therefore, if we want to have fewer crimes, it is urgent to have fewer weapons”, he said.

    In total, the document bears the signature of 17 citizens. As of December 2018, 280,163 weapons were registered with the General Directorate of Armament, which corresponds to 5% of the population.

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