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Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

Costa Rica police have been systematically seizing legally carried firearms, citizens complain to the Constitutional Court

man with gun in wasteband


January 8th, 2016 (ICR News) Costa Rica police officers have been systematically seizing legally registered firearms from citizens with the proper permits to carry them since mid-October of last year, and the situation has worsened since mid-December, according to complaints filed by a number of gun owners to the country’s Constitutional Court.


The Constitutional Court, however, has been throwing out the cases, apparently because it was the Court itself that gave its endorsement to an order to confiscate weapons in “trouble spots” and high crime areas – areas which are not defined – even if the person carrying the firearm has a permit to carry the weapon and has committed no crime, through at least two resolutions or court orders issued since mid-October of last year.


The first order, known as Order Number 0217-2015-DO-PYO, apparently grants police officers the right to seize any and all firearms – regardless if the person has a carry permit and the firearm is legally registered – from any vehicle in which at least two people are traveling, between October 13th, 2015 and January 13th, 2016.  The order cites “a significant increase in homicides involving firearms,” in justifying the seizures.


One appellant alleged that officers of the Operational Support Group (GAO) and other police officers stopped his vehicle at a checkpoint in San Jose.  Despite having been determined to have committed no crime, even after a search of his vehicle, officers confiscated the man’s legally owned and registered firearm, despite the fact that he carried a valid and up-to-date concealed carry permit and paperwork for the firearm.  Despite this, the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the officers’ actions in case number 2015019428, dated December 10th, 2015 and of which ICR News has obtained a copy, citing the above mentioned order.


Days later, in a second resolution (15-017928-0007-CO), the Constitutional Court once again gave its endorsement to confiscate weapons in “trouble spots,” apparently with no regard if a weapon is legally owned and a person has the proper permits to carry the weapon.


In another similar case, police allegedly seized both the person’s firearm and their carry permit.


In neither case were the appellants accused of committing any crime, and were not issued so much as a traffic citation, according to court documents.


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  • prdatki

    THe President and the top 10% of the Police force should be sent to hard labor for life. The only way the Country will be safe is to have trained and armed Citizens. Wake up the Police and limp liberals can not stop crime.

  • disgusted

    Reading this article about how it now legal for the police at their discretion take our weapons. Even though WE follow the laws and law abiding citizens here. Really makes one angry. Look many of us travel to a farm or isolated property it is the only thing I have that I can use to defend myself. I wonder how many of the weapons get lost from the police pick up to the police station. And how you waste a day doing that….

    I hope some smart Tico lawyers if any here will be able to make a case against this thievery and disarming us the people. Look what happened another couple being robbed and nearly killed.. 3 stores in 45 minutes robbed I think one killed last night on the news today at lunchtime.

    The judges, diputados, ex Presidents, OIJ personal, Police all are armed however we the common Peons are left in the sewer of humanity defend ourselves with sticks while the murders have guns .. CR over thinks everything from a 5th graders view point.

  • Ken Morris

    Worrisome is that the Constitutional Court is allowing this to happen. While I can understand how many people, and possibly the police too, can believe that this is a good idea, the judges ought to be held to higher standards of jurisprudence. This isn’t the first time those judges have inserted their personal opinions to make laws, but it should be the last time.

    By the logic of this ruling, any property anybody has can be confiscated anytime by the police. Or, if the Court wants to say that only property requiring a special license can be confiscated, it would follow that anybody’s vehicle can be confiscated anytime too. Heck, a doctor’s medical bag can be confiscated. And so on.

    This is just a Court out of control. If the legislature wants to pass a stiffer gun policy–or even pass a law banning guns altogether–it can do so and the Court can uphold that law. However, the Court has no authority to add its own riders to the law.

  • simple man

    One must remember that as we refer to the Constitutional Court rulings in Costa Rica under their Constitutional Laws. You cannot antiquate the Napoleonic origins of Spanish law with the English origins or U.S. Constitutional Law. The cornerstones that lay the groundwork for individual freedoms may not always in cultures be necessarily equal across the board, or the great oceans. The high courts of these cultures opinion on the stability of it’s social fabric will change as the statistics harm to the public changes. Thus begins the process of removal of privileges, not freedoms previous granted.

    • Pj River

      The problem in here, is that we have the law on the law abiding citizen side, but the police is charging against common sense and the seizing are completely ilegal.

  • Joe1047

    This thought process never ceases to amaze me. They have a record year for murders, then say that these increasing problems are only within gangs and drug dealers. Now they decide they need to take guns away from law abiding citizens. If they took the time to legally buy a firearm and get a permit in a place where it is quite easy to get a firearm on the black market do they really think it is that high of a risk. It makes my head spin the lack of intelligence used within the Judicial system. Can’t help but just laugh and shake my head.

  • aj seaman

    When will the world learn that in
    Costa Rica the police ARE the criminals? I am so sad over what has happened to my beautiful country.

  • Chris Thomas

    The police are the private security guards of the rich in CR the people who run the country, as long as they protect the government from the people in case of a coup they let them do what they want. The CR police is always stopping people in CR harassing people to look for shakedowns all the time, there is no difference between them and the criminals on the street, only difference is the uniform and clean cut appearances, it is one large mafia syndicate.

  • Pj River

    Vote for Right Wing PARTIDO LIBERTARIO next elections. Is the only way to stop this madness.

  • Tab RicciBestPot Grower in CR

    There are plenty of guns you can buy on the street and therefore afford to lose. Why go through all the hassle of passing the stringent requirements?

  • Sally

    Politicians and government employees are a crime gang.

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