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New Law Aims To Stem Sale Of Illegal Weapons


November 9, 2000
Copyright © 2000 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Puerto Rico’s new gun law aims to stem the illegal sale of weapons. Next March, local gun owners must comply with modified regulations pertaining to the acquisition, registration and use of firearms.

Recently, Gov. Pedro Rossello signed the new measure [Gun Law No. 404 of Sept. 11, 2000], introduced by Representative Augusto Sanchez (NPP- District 36). The new law repeals and replaces the outdated legislation of the early 50’s.

According to Victor Gonzalez, Owner of AAA Gun Shop, the new statute gives gun carriers more leeway in certain areas. For example, Gun Law No. 17 of 1951, allowed only the head of a household to hold a firearm possession license. The new law will now extend the privilege to all adults over 21 years of age, with no restrictions in the number of licenses per household.

The new law, which will become effective March 1, 2001, allows minors from age seven (under the tutor’s license) to practice shooting as a sport. According to Gonzalez, that was not permitted under Shooting Law No. 75 of 1953.

"Before that, minors were not allowed to begin target practice until they reached the age of 12. That put us at a disadvantage in the Olympics against competitors who started to train at a much younger age," said Gonzalez.

The application fee for a license will increase from $50 to $100. Munitions are no longer limitless and must match the weapon’s caliber.

Also approved, was a change in the application fee, from $214.50 every three years, to $250.00 every five years.

Among other provisions, the new law also allows permanent residents from the mainland to apply for a license in Puerto Rico.

New license format

Under the new gun law, a card-size format for licenses will be issued. "The license will be the size of an identification card, and have a picture of the owner or carrier, as well as his personal information, and license numbers," said Gonzalez.

Currently, these licenses, issued by the Police Department, consist of letter-size papers, some with four and even up to 15 pages, according to Gonzalez.

He explained that the card will also have a magnetic stripe containing information about the carrier’s privileges to buy weapons and munitions.

"This promises to help stop the illegal sale of weapons because, once the card is swiped through the payment terminal, the computer will display a description of the specific munitions that the person is authorized to carry," said Gonzalez. He added that the new license format should be issued within the next 12 to 18 months.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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