Panama: More Guns, Less Crime

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All too often we see governments implementing more and more restrictive gun control laws in an effort to “reduce gun violence.” As we’ve been saying here at TTAG for years, that strategy has the opposite result — allowing criminals to run rampant and unchecked, preying on now defenseless citizens, all while the government demands further restrictions on civil liberties to solve a problem that citizens can solve themselves given enough firepower. Panama has finally gotten the message. In an effort to combat their astronomically high murder rate the South American country’s decided to start relaxing their restrictive gun laws and enabling their citizens’ natural right to armed self-defense . . .

From the Pan Am Post:

Public Safety Minister Rodolfo Aguilera said the country will follow in the footsteps of the United States and Switzerland, where the right to bear arms is believed to lead to fewer homicides.

“Everything seems to indicate that there is no direct correlation in the aphorism that says more guns mean more crime,” said Aguilera, who explained that relaxed gun laws have allowed the United States to reduce the homicide rate over the last 20 years.

Aguilera added that new regulations will include criminal and psychological background checks for future gun owners.

Under the current law, in effect since 2012, only state security forces can import firearms. Meanwhile, the Central American Integration System (SICA) has called for a comprehensive review of Panama’s firearm-import ban before any action is taken by the National Assembly.

“It’s a decision for each sovereign government to make, but we should take into account that for criminals, anything that is prohibited becomes more attractive,” said Hefer Morataya, director of SICA’s Central American Programme of Small Arms Control.

They get it! They understand! Hallelujah!

Naturally the rest of Central America is up in arms (metaphorically speaking) about Panama breaking ranks with the region’s gun rights blackout (e.g., Venezuela’s move to a total firearms ban). Even within Panama the decision is controversial, with the usual siren song of gun control blaring loud and clear in the ears of some politicians.

“The issue of security will not be solved because every citizen has a weapon to defend themselves,” Arias said. She believes Aguilera’s comments on US homicide rates differ from reality, adding that the North American country itself struggles with the issue of gun control.

In other words, “nuh huh, I think the Americans are lying about their numbers.” Because obviously more guns equals more murders, so how could reality possibly be different than her preconceived notions about the effectiveness of gun control?

comments

  1. avatar Vee says:

    This will be an interesting experiment, though it would be even more instructive if it were taking place on an island with, presumably, less porous borders.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      Like Puerto Rico or Jamaica?

      1. avatar Vee says:

        Yes, they should try the Panamanian experiment, too. Though it may not make too big a difference in Jamaica, as most of the vulnerable population is probably too poor to afford firearms.

        1. avatar Cowboy T says:

          Hi-Points aren’t too expensive, and they work. While it’s true that, over there, $150 is still a fair piece of change, that’s a lot more affordable than your typical 1911, M&P, or Glock over here.

          There’s also the surplus police revolver market. There are still some jurisdictions here that carry the good ol’ .38 six-shooter, and they’re gradually moving toward semi-autos. Usually these revolvers are in good condition and do a fine job. The “38 Especial” is well known all over the world.

          Regarding the ammo problem, well, here in the USA, we can handload. What are the laws like in Panama regarding components and reloading presses? Or lead for casting your own bullets?

          – T

    2. avatar B says:

      Honestly the experiment works even better in a country with porous borders. Australia and the UK try to blame smugglers even though they are islands. What the heck are they gonna say when a country bordered by one filled with a drug lord backed government has a drastically lower crime rate?

      Wait… we’ve seen that example before, haven’t I? Crap, that’s the US and Mexico isn’t it? Along with all the gun control states and their less criminally infested neighbors.

      Well crap. Even when it does work they’ll just plug their ears cause we’ve had evidence for the past 150 years.

  2. avatar JWM says:

    Now if CA would just learn from Panama. More guns. Less crime. The very meaning of “common sense” gun laws.

    1. avatar Heartland Patriot says:

      Oh, California has guns, in fact, they have a LOT of guns. But, the law-abiding citizenry aren’t allowed to BEAR arms for defense, and if they were to use them, even in their own home, they often get arrested for that. Even if the criminal charges are cleared, then they get sued for it by the family of the criminal who got shot. It’s not a lack of guns in California, it’s a lack of brains because liberals control that place.

      1. avatar Garner says:

        That’s not true. Look at the defensive gun uses as of late in California. We may have shitty gun laws, but our castle doctrine is pretty strong here.

        1. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

          It also extends to your hotel room and car, if you are sleeping in it. Both are consisted a ‘domicile.’

        2. avatar Stuki Moi says:

          Wonder if one of California’s many homeless dudes, has ever gotten to the point of seeing whether it also applies to a shopping cart…. I have personally tested, and can confirm that it applies, to a car one sleeps in, or a tent. You just have to unload it and store gun and ammo separately once you start driving again. This was in rural parts. I wouldn’t want to press my luck by being found passed out in a car in San Francisco with a gun on my lap….

      2. avatar B says:

        It is pretty funny (in a if you don’t laugh you cry kind of way), California has great self defense protection legally, but then tries to outlaw the actual means to defend yourself.

  3. avatar AnhydrousWater says:

    uh oh Panama, get ready for places like Brazil who are going to start blaming their gun violence on your lax gun laws….

  4. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Panama already had relatively lax laws. You can even own SBRs there. Their permit takes a long time but once it’s yours you can carry and conceal no problems. Importation is the hard part, apparently they are going to make it easier to get the guns into the country.

    1. avatar JWM says:

      My understanding, I could be wrong, is that ammo is the problem in Panama. Little to no domestic production which leaves it up to imports. And that makes ammo costly there.

      Would gladly be corrected if I have the wrong info.

  5. avatar Mk10108 says:

    More guns employed in lawful self defense benefits four ways.

    Stops criminals.

    Culls them from the gene pool.

    Saves taxpayers judicial process..

    One less prisoner in the system.

  6. avatar John Smith says:

    Yeah, Panama’s always been top of the list for places to move. Dom Rep and Czech Rep are the only other places worth considering.

    since you can’t get P. citizenship, probably best to get citizenship in DR, then residency in Panama.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      The Czech’s (lke all of E. Europe) have some fine women. That plus reasonable gun laws makes CZ look reasonable. Panama has the nice warm climate.

      1. avatar Cowboy T says:

        Panama has plenty of fine looking women, too! Actually, that’s true throughout Latin America. And like the Eastern Europeans, the Latinas actually want to be, and know how to be, sexy.

        So…if somebody wants to take from some lovely Panamanian lass that which is hers, perhaps now she’ll have a much better chance of successfully defending herself. That would be a Very Good Thing, folks. I got sisters and nieces, so I do think about these things.

        – T

    2. avatar B says:

      Was there for a while. The place kind of smells and the beaches are gross, but being able to just freaking mountain bike into the jungle down a clay road and watch giant ships go through the canal while fishing was awesome.

  7. avatar gsnyder says:

    It appears Aguilera gets it. Last I checked lawful people are not running around committing murders no matter how many firearms they may own. It’s so simple I become confused how some people come to the point of believing the opposite.

  8. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Other advanced countries do not have the gun violence that the USA has because they have common sense gun laws. More news from our Commander in Chief.

  9. avatar Bob says:

    “Country relaxes eating laws, allows it citizens to eat.”

    (an equally absurd headline)

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      North Koreans should be so lucky

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    A man a plan a canal — Panama!

    1. avatar 80 D says:

      Best palindrome ever!

  11. avatar OneOfTheGoodGuys says:

    Wonder what Bloomberg et al will blame the drop in the mutder rate on? It surely won’t be due to Panamanians defending themselves with firearms. It will have to have been something else … but what?

  12. avatar Dustin says:

    I wonder how many violent crimes I’d commit if I had access to lots of guns… Oh, wait…

  13. avatar DamDoc says:

    Having traveled to Panama for work several time, over several years following Noreaga, i found the Panamanians to be some of the most sensible I have interacted with.. One trip I was on, my Panamanian host pointed out a site on the way to the Job site where a couple folks were found with “Columbian necklaces” the week before. The big fear I had was that after a few elections past Noreaga, that “the bad guys” could get in control again, again turning Panama into a strong man narco state… or worse… Fortunately, a pres can only serve one 5 year term… Also, If Panamanians can arm themselves, I think they are better protected against future wayward governments… if that were to happen, then the wayward government would have to “come get them”…

  14. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    If this happens, it would be disaster for the anti gun crowd here and around the world. Simply put this would encourage other countries to implement and encourage citizens of places like Australia and New Zealand to demand relaxed gun laws.
    Of course there will be plenty of places that are too backwards to recover from their gun control foolishness…there are places like the UK where you aren’t even allowed to damage the bad guy in self defense.

  15. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    What more can be said?

  16. avatar barnbwt says:

    Less Noriega, less crime 🙂

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      Less drug war, less crime.

  17. avatar Joe says:

    This is a turning point in the war for common sense. First S. America, then the world. There is still hope lads.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      Actually,… Panama is in Central America (C. America).

      1. avatar Kevin says:

        Central America is part of the North American continent, Panama is the last North American country before South America.

  18. avatar @covermy6 says:

    There’s no way the anti-gun crowd will attribute any improvement to this new policy. They will piss their pants before admitting that lower murder rates were due to more armed citizens. I’m confident that will be the outcome, but I’m also confident they’ll deny it’s true source.

  19. avatar John P. says:

    Panama’s murder rate is far from astronomical. In Central America, the highest rate by far is in Honduras. The South American “champion” is Venezuela.

    The Panamanians have pretty good government, a diverse economy, and a fairly sizable middle class compared to their neighbors. I think their making guns more available will work well.

  20. avatar Sebastian says:

    Guns have always been available in Panama. The process to acquire a concealed weapons permit was as follows;
    Go to the gun shop, pick out you gun.
    Gun then is shipped via armored police truck, to the local police precinct for ballistics, and extensive background check on the gun owner.
    After checks are done, the gun owner would then be required to pick up his gun at the police station, where a detective would fingerprint you and issue you your gun permit.
    this is the process that I understand will be reinstated.

  21. avatar MiniMe says:

    Gun (control) laws in Panama are currently very draconian for the most part. These obnoxious gun control laws are leftovers from the 2 previous dictatorships (Gen. Torrijos & Gen. Noriega), and were put in place to better control the population… typical tactic of tyrants & despots all over history.

    You can try to get a gun legally but the quagmire of bureaucracy you have to go thru makes it incredibly difficult to get a permit to purchase a gun (unless you know someone on the “inside” and have extra cash to butter the right hands, nudge-nudge, wink-wink), much less a concealed carry permit.
    And since firearms imports are currently ubber restrictive, the price of a gun is very cost prohibitive for the average law abiding citizen. Add to that the cost & hassle of trying to get a permit-to-purchase and most people will either give up or look for an “alternative,” gun control laws be damned as long they can defend their families.
    Seen it happen several times, and I’m guessing the average citizen considers this calculated risk worth it if it keeps the gangbangers and crooks from hurting or murdering their loved ones.

    I hope these draconian laws will be amended or abolished for real and that this is not just another political grandstanding from the Panamanian government. The crime & gang problem was getting pretty nasty last time I visited this country. Here’s hoping their government has truly seen the light.

  22. This would have been an interesting situation when I was stationed in Panama in the early 80’s. This could have made ‘Just Cause’ have a prolonged outcome, with armed citizens added to the mix.

    1. avatar JD says:

      I was born and raised in the Canal Zone and Panama. You are right about gun control being a left over from the dictator years….that is how Torrijos and Noriega were able to maintain power. If the citizens had been armed there would have not been an Operation Just Cause. They would have backed the various presidents they elected but were removed by both dictators. Panamaians were killed standing up for their presidents towards the end of Noriegas era. During the treaty negotiations there was an issue with Zonians being allowed to keep their guns per our Constitutional rights being in a US territory. It was worked where they would however they would be registered. The PDF were very aware of who was armed. During Just Cause my parents stayed in the home of friends who were armed for protection from the PDF and the Dingbats (dignity battalions) who were Noriega civilian henchmen armed by the Dictator. Guess what…..no Zonians who had guns were bothered by either during the first night and days of Just Cause. It works.

  23. avatar Jim says:

    I was in Panama from 91-97 and my family has been there off and on since they started building the canal. I was in the U.S. Infantry down there and had a carry conceal permit for my handguns I brought with me from America and took back with me when I stationed back to the U.S. Panama has always had more relxed handgun/shotgun laws then the U.S. but you cannnot own a rifle legally unless its for a special sercurity company and thats still iffy. In Panama your gun must be tested ballistically with two shots by the police and you must have you record checked and psychologically testing done regardless your a citizen or not. Buying a gun as a citizen its first sent to the police once purchased by the gun store along with two bullets you purchase and tested by police. You then pass tests and a criminals record check and the police have you pick the gun up at their main station for your area. You permit allows up to 9 handguns and or shotguns and you carry your handguns concealed. My grandfather and 7 great uncles went to Panama to work as engineers on the enw canal after two of my great uncles went down their with the navy and Army to secure the area from Columbia attcking the newly formed indepedent nation of Panama. All of them had guns for protection legally in country as ddi my uncles and aunt that served in the militray later in the 1930s,40s,50 &70s. I went in the army in the 90s becuase of the stories I heard from them and their wives soem married there. I was not let down Panama was a beautiful country with nice people but it has changed since the late 1990s with American gangs setting up with lcoal criminals. You can live there but you better buy and own a gun and carry it. Basically its like inner city American cities and if your white your a target and if visiting leave all jewelly to include wedding rings never carry your passport in public or elave unsecured in the hotel just carry one form of your nations i.d. and bring copies of passport,visa and i.d. her eif a criminal gets you passport or I.d. they rob you and hold it for money and when you bring the money to get it back your robbed again plus police/taxi drivers may be in on any robbery. BEst to elarn spanish well before visiting and buy local clothes to blend in if visiting.

  24. There are too many law enforcement in the country, but there still some laws which are not strictly followed yet. How about that?

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