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Puerto Rico crime scene (courtesy

TTAG reader AJB writes:

In Puerto Rico, you need a license to own, buy or sell a gun. The license costs $240. There’s a six-month wait. Last year, Puerto Rico expedited 19,555 gun licenses. According to, the government has expedited 10,948 licenses so far this year. That’s out of a population of 3.7 million [ED: and falling] with a homicide rate that’s seven times higher than the continental U.S. The number represents a rise of . . .

fifty-six percent over the previous year. Free Public servant permits (free to government employees, two-day wait) went from 215 to 1,071. Gun permits that require going to a judge (CCW and Police officer, article is not too clear if it includes both) went from 5,571 on 2013 to 23,121 this year.

The report says nothing about Concealed Carry Weapons permit. They costs $950. Applicants must go to court and convince a judge that they are in fear for their life. Assuming you’ve got a good lawyer (more money), anyone in good standing – no criminal record, you’ve paid your taxes, etc. – you can get the permit.

We’ll see what effect rising gun ownership has on the island’s crime rate. If any.



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  1. Watched Shooting USA the other day on Outdoor Channel. Major IDPA match from sunny Puerto Rico. There were lots of PR shooters-seemingly all doctors, lawyers, bankers, cops & rich folk. Obviously you need lots of $ to shoot in PR. BTW we have a standing offer to move there from a family friend. Love to go-can’t figure out how to make $ in PR.

  2. We’ll see what effect rising gun ownership has on the island’s crime rate. If any.

    It probably won’t have a salutary effect. The level of crime in PR is epic. The level of government corruption would make any Third World sh1th0le blush. Mainland business won’t go anywhere near the island due to the changes in PR’s tax code (two of my companies had factories there when the tax picture was good).

    The only thing that PR has going for it is tourism, which is up but not by enough to make up for the drop in manufacturing.

    In short, PR is in free fall and it will take a lot more than firearms to turn it around. Pray that PR doesn’t decide to become a state.

      • PR is one cartel away from being Jalisco.

        I have former clients down there. Great people — cultured, sophisticated, educated and decent. They took great care of their employees, too, for as long as they could and longer.

        My former clients are still doing fine — money will do that — but the handwriting is on the wall.

      • PR could become Cuba II. Puerto Ricans I knew in the Army always spoke highly of Cuban culture & food. Whether that included admiring Castro for standing up to us Yanqui Imperialistas, I don’t know.

  3. In Puerto Rico You have to go to the judge so he can grant the Concealed Carry Weapons permit, if you convice him that you fear for your live. The costs of $950 most like cover the cost of the lawyer and goverment fees.

  4. From what I understand, there’s a definite shortage of legally available firearms, but that’s not at all the case of illegal ones
    shocking, right?
    Still, this is more of a culture shift, and while it will take time, PR will eventually see some change in their crime rate.
    Its been true since firearms came into existence, criminals just don’t like getting shot.

  5. I Live here in pr, I spent on a ruger sr40 and the license $1500…..4 years ago! And is not a six month wait, it’s 3…… Not great, but not 6……. Police can only expedite permit (about $250) for u to purchase and store in your residence……Only a judge can expedite a ccw(lawyer fees and government fees=alot of money) my ruger $500, lawyer and other fees $1000!!!!!

  6. For the last 100 years Puerto Rico is a USA colony , the last in the planet. We are prepared to go forward, but the politics in DC don’t let us decided our political issue .
    We fight in all USA wars, we are American’s from birth like the rest of all the American in the main land. When the politics lets us decided our north, the island will change for good.
    Now I’m a NRA member, like all my family. We fight for the 2d amendment . But is not going to be easy, the antigun government in the island make all kinds of stupid law. The last time they wanted to put a tax of .10 cents for each bullet.

    We Will win over this government, now tanks for tell the rest of USA what happened in the island.

    • More than a century, ceded to USSA by Spain after the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898.
      You left out American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and Guam also, Solomans too.

  7. Thing about PR is that our local goverment loves to pick and choose what laws and rights apply to us.

    PR has been a colony as stated before, since 1898 and us puerto riccans have been U.S. citizens since 1952.

    And yet the local courts have stated that the second amendment does not apply to PR citizens, because “we have our own constitution/bill of rights and in neither of them is the right to bear arms in. So it is a privilege granted to you by the state and may be revoked at any moment.”

    But yet mind you that the right to due process, right to privacy or right not to incriminate yourself are not in said constitution and yet you hear lawyers using terms as fourth, fith and sixth amendment.

  8. “The number represents a rise of . . .fifty-six percent over the previous year. …
    We’ll see what effect rising gun ownership has on the island’s crime rate. If any.”

    The Bloomberg Mommies for Everytown GunBans can answer that! Gun ownership goes up by 56%, “gun violence” has to go up by the same amount, right? (Ignore the fact that “gun violence” has gone DOWN over the last 20 years while gun ownership has doubled.)

  9. I haven’t been in PR for many years. I still recall that the houses had bars on the windows, at least on the ground floors.
    A guy in the PR National Guard wanted to shoot in civilian rifle marksmanship matches, and went to the local police to ask about what it would take in permits and paperwork to get a rifle. They told him to take up another sport.

  10. This is a truthful report but it is missing a lot of information. Although gun ownership and permits have been growing for some time now, most of the increase quoted in this report came as a result of an amnesty law that allowed people with expired licences to get up to date without penalty.

    PR gun laws are very restrictive and discriminatory. Despite this many people jump through all kinds of hoops to get theirs. Less that 3% of the islands residents own guns.

    Crime on the other hand has always been high in proportion to the US mainland. Picture PR like a Chicago of DC. Most violent crime is related to the drug trade. The vast mayority of murders are drug gangs fighting for turf. THis violence at time spills over and affects innocent people, but it is not the norm.

    Actual murder rate has been declining despite having a dysfunctional Police Department. THis is mostly due to s state of “peace” among the mayor drug gangs and hardly related to gun sales.

    I have noticed a sharp increase in the number of self defense shootings in recent years. It appears more citizens are using guns for self defense and that is a good thing.


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