Costa Rica is a conservative country, which has inherited it´s culture, language, social norms and legal system from it´s mother country, Spain. The country is very Catholic, and laws and social norms tend to side with guidelines established by the Vatican. Abortion is illegal in Costa Rica. Thus, when Costa Rican women get pregnant, even if their career or personal condition is not optimal, they bit the bullet and give birth, and move on.
This whole concept flies in the face of liberalism in the US. If getting pregnant is inconvenient, then the laws are setup to make abortion illegal. And, in a similar manner, Costa Rica is conservative with respect to gun laws. Guns are not illegal in Costa Rica, but there is an intelligent set of laws around gun ownership, that lower the risk for gun violence. It is interesting that Barack Obama came to Costa Rica to learn about renewable energy; however, he never once asked Costa Rica for advice on healthcare and gun control. The Costa Rican healthcare system rates higher than the US. And, Costa Rica has around 8 violent deaths per capita, per year. that is just 8 per 100,000 residents! This beats many large US cities such as:
- Detroit – 48 per 100,000
- New Orleans – 58 per 100,000
- Oakland – 26 per 100,000
- Chicago – I lost count. However, why should I be counting? Guns are illegal in Chicago.
Barack Obama has darker skin, but he is still a Gringo in Costa rica, and stuck to true form. He flew down with a big arrogant attitude, and an army of security; and he missed some obvious things that Costa Rica is doing better than the US.
How to Buy a Gun in Costa Rica
In order to buy a gun in Costa Rica, you will need some to follow a process that normally takes two to three months. Before I even begin, forget about it, if you are a tourist. The law starts by only allowing permanent residents and citizens of Costa Rica to apply for gun ownership. Here is what you will need:
- Cedula – A Costa Rican ID card with residency or citizenship.
- Hoja de Delincuencia – your criminal history
- Finger Prints
- Gun Training Course
- Pass the firearm exam (This is offered in English and Spanish)
- Psychological exam
1. Hoja de Delincuencia
In order to obtain your criminal history, you must first request it. Thankfully, you can do this online:
This link takes you to the Sistema de Administration y Control Electronico de Juzgamientos (The System of Administration and Electronic Control of Judgments) and complete the form. Please note the first field asks for your cedula, and pasaporte is a listed option. I think regardless of your residency status, you can request your certificate, but if you do not have residency, you will not be allowed to apply for a gun permit. This is free and within 5 days, you can pickup your certified criminal background check at the Ministerio Judicial which is 10 minutes east of San Jose central:
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Look for a building on the northwest corner of Avenida 6 and Calle 21. You pretty much just walk in and stand in a short line. It took me about 10 minutes, and was not a major inconvenience.
2. Comprobante de Huellas (Fingerprints)
You then must go to the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica and the Spanish web site is located here:
The office is located in a commercial center Barrio Córdoba of San Jose, which is located onAvenida 36, In front of Liceo Castro Madriz. If you have GPS or google maps enter “Centro Comercial del Sur” in San Jose, Costa Rica.
If you speak Spanish, you can call them at 2586-4000. I take that back, they speak English as they process fingerprints for foreigners all the time. You need to take with you two photographs the size of a passport: one facing forward and one facing sideways.
3. Gun Training Courses and Exams
You can receive gun training courses anywhere in the world. You will need to understand basic firearm safety and usage and pass an exam. In Costa Rica, you can go to the Poligno De Tiro located in Pavas. Here they offer training courses, shooting booths and annual memberships ($200), which includes the following benefits:
- 12 months of unlimited use
- Reservations for shooting
- Eye protection
- Ear protection
- Discounts on renting arms and courses
Here you can also take the official exam that is an important document in the gun permit process. The exam takes about two hours.
4. Psychological Exam
You must then have a psychological evaluation by an authorized Psychologist in Costa Rica (Authorization code 2105). At the Poligono de Tiro, you can make an appoint with a certified doctor. This is there current affiliate psychologist:
- Dra. Vivian Solis Mendez