“We’re in Puerto Rico which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation,” Kaj Larsen begins in his report for Vice News. “At the same time it has the world’s highest murder rate by firearm.” And that pretty much says it all right there. Especially as the island nation’s gun control advocates can’t blame surrounding states’ “weak gun laws” for criminals’ firepower. Larsen reckons this “paradox” makes Puerto Rico “ground zero for the gun control debate.” Yes, well, no. Like Mexico, PR’s abject not-to-say-horrific failure to control criminality via gun control doesn’t get any play in America’s mainstream media. Why would it? The “gun control doesn’t work” message is the last thing they want to propogate. Of course, Vice doesn’t get it, either . . .
“The police are trying to crackdown on illegal guns and the resulting rise in violent crime.” I don’t think that means what Vice thinks it means. The rise in violent crime does have something to do with the government’s crackdown on illegal guns. The “crackdown” on guns for law-abiding citizens leaves the criminals free to prey upon the public. Can you say “No Issue”? wikipedia.org can . . .
Puerto Rico has a very stringent and restrictive licensing process necessary in order to purchase a firearm in Puerto Rico. A person has to be 21 to get a weapons license along with several other requirements. A person must present a sworn statement attesting to compliance with fiscal laws, purchase a $100 internal revenue stamp, submit 3 statements from community members who aren’t related to them attesting to their good reputation, submit a signed application that is notarized, be fingerprinted and photographed, and submit a negative certificate of debt to the child support administration.
That process is just to be able to purchase firearms to store in a residence or business and not for a concealed carry permit. In order to acquire a concealed carry permit a person must first have a Target shooting license and then appear before a Judge and present proof of a strong reason for a permit. Due to this process, in many cases concealed carry permit applications are denied. As such Puerto Rico is considered to be an effective “No Issue” territory for concealed carry permits except for in exceptional cases despite the official “may issue” policy.
So why does Larsen say that “This year alone gun permit applications have doubled, possession of guns has tripled and licenses for shooting ranges have quadrupled”? Because Vice is reporting on the rates, not the numbers. In absolute numbers, the amount of people “allowed” to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms is still proportionally low. PR’s permitting around 15k – 20k citizens per year – out of a population of 3.7m (and falling). Also, this is not the stat for concealed carry permits, which remain more-or-less unobtainable.
As Vice reveals. What did we learn from all this? Gun control doesn’t work. “Arm yourself,” a victim advises. “Defend your lives.” And…the NRA is there. Will the gun rights org restore Puerto Ricans’ gun rights, and will the restoration reduce crime? One thing’s for sure: if it does, the media will ignore that, too.