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.