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The Legislative Assembly approved the afternoon of this Tuesday (yesterday) in the 1st debate reform of the Law of Weapons and Explosives so that the number of firearms allowed per person in Costa Rica is reduced from 3 to 2. This initiative is processed under file 20,509, which was approved with 42 votes in favor. Its purpose is to help reduce violence and crime.

On the contrary, the Social Christians Aracelly Salas, Shirley Díaz, and María Inés Solís, as well as the independent Érick Rodríguez and Zoila Volio of National Integration (PIN). The initiative proposes, in addition to reforming the possession of weapons, that bearers are forced to renew their permits every 6 years.

All public and private institutions that possess weapons are also required to report semiannually on the amount they possess, the type, the name of those who use them, and the state in which they are located.

Sample of weapons properly identified

Another aspect that was included has to do with a broader specification of the people who are inhibited for the possession of weapons. It includes all those who have been brought to trial for crimes against freedom, sexual and infractions of the Law on narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, drugs for unauthorized use, related activities, money laundering and financing of terrorism and any other crime where violence mediates.

In the same way it does it with those who have criminal or police records for the same reasons, as well as those who have been imposed protection measures for behavior included in the Law Against Domestic Violence.

One of the major changes that the text incorporates has to do with an obligation for security companies, which must deliver their weapons to the National Arsenal when they cease operations. That entity will guard the weapons for 6 months, with the possibility of extending it by 6 more.

In the same period, the company that owns it will be able to recover the weapons if it manages to recover or transfer them to a 3rd authorized. Otherwise, once the period is completed, the Arsenal must proceed to destroy them.

The project that reduces tenure will now have to be voted on in the 2nd debate and signed by President Carlos Alvarado Quesada to become effective. This reform is complementary to another approved this Tuesday in the 2nd debate.

Definitive approval

The 2nd initiative, processed in file 20,508, received the unanimous approval of 39 legislators this afternoon in the second debate.

This plan raises the penalties for the possession and carrying of weapons allowed, the carrying of weapons without permission and the possession of prohibited weapons.

In the first of the scenarios, the text imposes between 3 and 5 years of prison, when until now it has been between 1 and 3 months of communal work. For the 2nd, it proposes punishments between 2 and 4 years in prison, while for the 3rd between 4 and 8 years.

The proposal establishes new regulations for automatic weapons but leaves semiautomatic free ones, as long as these are not modified to fire bursts, as has occurred in massive shootings in the United States and, recently, in New Zealand.

“These projects are an advance,” said Deputy Gustavo Viales after approval. “24 years passed so that the Legislative Assembly could finally discuss the issue of weapons and, as president of the Security and Drug Trafficking Commission, I am proud to lead this process”, the congressman added.

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