The new minister of espionage and repression, Raúl Mulino, has found a group of Panamanians that were not yet alienated from the government: Gun owners. So he is preparing a new law that will piss them off just like everybody else is already in this country, by limiting firepower to the police which, since the sausage law was approved, enjoys near-total impunity for crimes committed.
While you, dear reader, were watching important soccer games, your Bananama Republic met with a coughing man wearing a long raincoat in an underground parking garage, who gave us the top-secret draft of the latest legal masterpiece of our beloved rulers.
First of all, the law is very creative. It introduces new words and concepts into the Spanish language. It talks for example about "portación", which is a word that does not exist! It also introduces the novel "huellas balisticas", a term used hardly anywhere else in the world and that appears to be derived from "huellas dactilares" or "huellas digitales" - both mean "fingerprints". In the world outside the parallel universe of Mulino, lawmakers use the term "pruebas balisticas" or at least define such terms.
But these linguistic novelties are just the beginning. The law is so badly written that even a foreign amateur like your author had no problem finding the many inconsistencies, contradictory articles, unexplained terms, sloppy language and so on. The proposal is yet another piece of evidence of what we reported here earlier: Those in the legal profession in Panama in general don't know how to read nor write coherently.
Also: An awful lot is left to the so-called "reglementación" of the law, which is traditionally where they do all the nasty stuff in Panama. Basically Mulino is asking the legislators to approve the law without knowing how big gaps will be filled in and how the law will be implemented by him.
So, what's new in this law? First of all, it introduces a myriad of new licenses and permits and bureaucracy that is just begging for bribery and corruption. You will now have to get a license to own a gun, and then another one if you want to carry it with you. You can only own so many guns, and only in two houses, and only certain guns. You can only buy 100 rounds of ammo per year. Then the police will have the right to enter your house, just like that, to check you for illegal possession of arms.
Oh, and this is also nice: If you bought arms legally under the old law, you have one year to give them to the government without being fined or thrown in jail. The law is retroactive, so anything you bought earlier, well, tough luck. To specify: If you shoot sniper rifles as a sport and bought one of those specialty rifles for thousands of dollars, you will have to turn it in, without reimbursement, or you're all of a sudden committing a crime.
Hardest hit by this law are the hobbyists, the shooting clubs and their members. The clubs can not sell ammunition any more, and since purchases are limited to 100 rounds per year, exercising the hobby will probably be limited to about two weeks a year - based on the experience of the Bananama Republic staff. Then we have traveling salespeople and such who have a gun to protect themselves - getting a license is prohibitively expensive, bureaucratic, and most likely will depend on how much in bribes you can pay. The ammunition restrictions are also expected to affect big rice farmers and the like, who fire lots of rounds to scare birds away.
If you have a gun at home for protection, not much changes other than that there are all sorts of new licensing and registration requirements.
Nice: This law treats BB guns and pallet guns as if they were firearms. So you can say good bye to those too!
The only ones who are totally unaffected by the law are the criminals. They never cared for licenses and other gun-rules anyway, so the new measures won't change that much for them. Well done, Mulino!