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  • Chris Frochaux of SEMUSA REALTY – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
    Answered by
    Posted April 27, 2013

    In Panama, only legal residents may own and/or carry guns, as opposed to visitors and tourists. Therefore a foreigner can apply for gun ownership once he or she has satisfied immigration requirements and obtained legal residence. Since Panama has neither an army nor the equivalent of the N.R.A., gun ownership rules differ sensibly from U.S. regulations. To begin with there are no gun fairs... you can only purchase a gun from a handful of authorized dealers, and the choices are very limited - not to mention prices are about double what you would expect to pay. Unless you prefer to place a special order, which is going to delay the process by a number of months, you can purchase a gun under five minutes, the time it takes to process your credit card. This is however where the similarity ends... The gun(s) shall remain in the store's custody until you secure a permit - which in practice can easily take six to nine months. And this is where the fun begins: you'll have to provide a urine sample on the spot (to check for drug use) and later blood samples (to keep your DNA on file) not to mention fingerprints. Also you'll need to visit a psychiatrist to undergo a psychological evaluation. In the meantime, the store will ship the gun to the police, which will perform ballistic tests and keep all records on file, together with your full ID and address. The permit is valid for 5 years and must be showed prior to purchasing ammunition.
     
    In theory, you could purchase a gun outside the country and import it to Panama. The thought crossed my mind, as I possessed a concealed weapon permit in Florida and was fond of my Sig Sauer handgun. However, after thoroughly researching the matter on gun forums, I concluded that this would have been an excessively complicated and expensive option, and that it would have further delayed the already lengthy permit application process. 
  • Lucia Haines of Panama Realtor Inc. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
    Answered by
    Posted June 18, 2013

    It is possible for Panamanians and foreigners with a permanent residency status to own a gun in Panama.   There are two types of gun permits.
     
    1. Tenencia which is the right to own a gun.
      • These permits are valid for 10 years and can apply for up to 10 weapons
    2. Porte which is the right to carry a gun. (A concealed weapon permit.)
      • These permits are valid for a period of 4 years and can apply to 10 weapons; however only up to 2 weapons can be carried at any given time.
    In order to obtain either of the gun permits you must fulfill the following requirements:
    • notarized copy of your cedula
    • satisfactory psychological exam
    • satisfactory drug testing (anti doping)
    • certificate from shooting/gun safety course from an authorized provider
    • DNA sample which will be kept on record by Forensic Medicine of the Public Ministry.
    • all registered guns must have ballistic tests conducted by the DIJ (police) which are kept on file.
  • Permanent residents and citizens can own guns in Panama but the requirements are stringent -- criminal background checks, blood tests, psychiatric tests -- and it takes a long time to get a permit -- anywhere from 3 or 4 months to a year.
     
  • Gun laws in Panama are very strict.   Foreigners need to be permanent residents before they are allowed to either get a license to import guns or apply for a gun license.
     
    The process to import guns is very complicated and lengthy.  Once the import license is approved and the gun is in Panama, you would need to obtain the gun license, which also takes several months and requires among other items a psychological evaluation.
  • Panama has strict gun ownership laws and the possession and use of unlicensed firearms is a very serious offense.  That said, it is possible to obtain a gun permit if you follow the detailed rules and regulations in place.
     
    You can import firearms into the country but they have to go to a licensed firearms dealer in Panama for processing before you take possession.  Because the process is long and complicated, most people choose to purchase their guns in Panama through the dealer.  To obtain a personal firearms license, you need to be a legal resident of Panama (either through your pensionado visa or other residency options), you need to submit a series of forms through the licensed gun dealer and undergo a psychiatric evaluation with a Panama psychiatrist.  In Panama you apply for a license for a specific firearm so your paperwork, psychiatric evaluation, and ballistic tests are submitted for review and, assuming no problems, your license to posses and carry the firearm is issued.  The entire process usually takes several months to complete.  There are different forms and regulations for handguns or rifles and shotguns.
     
    A word of caution for those who do obtain a firearm in Panama.  The laws regarding the use of firearms in Panama are very different than in the United States.  I highly recommend that anyone who purchases a gun in Panama takes the time to meet with their attorney to get a clear understanding of how, when, why and where a gun can be used in self defense without violating the law.  Using a firearm in an authorized manner will result in harsh penalties and usually jail time.
  • Gonzalo de la Guardia of DENFAB Law Firm – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
    Answered by
    Posted July 15, 2014
    Panama does allow civilians to own and carry firearms by obtaining a permit.
     
    The process and requirements to obtain a Firearms permit are set forth on executive decree No. 409 of 1994, which was reformed by executive decree No. 245 of 1998.
     
    Probably the easiest way to obtain a firearms permit is by purchasing the firearm from a local licensed dealer, as they usually assist clients with the processing of the permit.
  • Roger J. Pentecost of Boquete Valley of Flowers Condos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

    The gun laws in Panama are tough in some ways.Line drawing of handgun, side view – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living

    In order to qualify for a gun permit in Panama you have to be, relative to the general population, somewhat prominent.  The reason is that the people granting the license have to think or know that you have money, which would give you a legitimate reason to have a gun, as opposed to having a gun for political or nefarious reasons.  In Panama, pretty much all gringos are considered “rich”, so almost all gringos qualify on this count.

    In addition, in order to qualify for a gun permit in Panama you need to have a bank account here and have lawful status in Panama.  You also need to have a psychological evaluation where they will ask you questions such as “Have you ever committed a murder?” or “Do you and your wife fight a lot?”  They will also do a ballistic check on your existing gun, which is kept on record in Panama. 

    Because of all these things, you won’t find your gardener or the average guy on the street carrying a gun in Panama.  You will find your business friends, politicians and powerful people carrying them, though.

    Under the previous president, certain guns were being restricted.  I don’t believe that you’re allowed to have an uzi.  Most of the guns that people have here in Panama have the capacity up through a Glock and that sort of thing, but not fully automatic.

    I have purchased guns, sold guns and received guns legally here, so all can be done.  It just takes time.  It will take about six months to get your permit.

    You can have quite a few guns, if you like.  I personally have 12 gauges, 22s, rifles, etc.  (By the way, there’s no reason to bring your big hunting guns to Panama because there’s nothing big to hunt here.)

    You can carry a gun here in Panama as long as it’s concealed.  You’re not allowed to take a gun into certain locations such as banks, bars, nightclubs, and certain other financial or government buildings.

    You can take a gun to the airport here in Panama, which I have done.  I had to declare to the security guards that I have a gun and have a copy ready of my permit to carry that particular gun.  The security guard took the firearm to the proper airline for the firearm to be shipped separately and when I got to my destination, I could pick it up.

    It is VERY dangerous to bring a gun to Panama undeclared, or to smuggle a gun into Panama.  Do NOT ever be tempted to have an unregistered, unlicensed gun in your possession.  The jail time in Panama to have an unregistered gun in your possession is big and it is automatic.  No “if’s, and’s or but’s.” 
  • Roberto Diaz of United Country Panama Coastal Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

    In order to get a permit to have a gun in the Republic of Panama, you have to be living in Panama legally.  You have to go through a background check / psychological check, and you even have to take the gun to a gun range and prove that you can shoot.
     
    They will take your gun through a ballistic test to make sure it hasn’t been used in a crime.
     
    Once they check all of that, they issue a permit for five years.
  • Rafael Alvarado of Rafael Alvarado / Attorney / Real Estate Broker – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

    Collecting weapons is one of my hobbies.  If you are coming to Panama as a tourist and then later on retire here, you can request a permit to carry a gun after 5 years of being retired here in Panama.
     
    It is now extremely difficult to get a gun permit in Panama. The government stopped the importing of different brands of guns that we used to be able to import in the past. Applying for the gun permit is not so much the problem; it is that the process takes too long. You can easily go to the store and buy a gun that you like, but then you should take the gun to the authorities and your weapon will stay with them for ballistic proofs. It took me 8 months to finally get my gun permit, and I am Panamanian. So I guess it would take a lot longer if the applicant were an expat.
     
  • Jose Broce of Broce-Pinilla & Associados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
    Answered by
    Posted October 31, 2014
    In order to buy a gun, hold a gun or carry a gun in Panama, you need to have a gun permit, and for that, you need to be a legal resident of Panama. Once you’re a resident, you can go to a gun shop and buy a gun. Then you need to be certified at a shooting range by a shooting instructor to verify that you know the security rules and you know how to handle a gun, and if I’m not mistaken, you need to have 6 hours of shooting range experience per year certificated, to keep your permit.
     
    You are able to have a lot of handguns in Panama, but you cannot legally buy or own automatic guns, only semi-automatic guns.
     
    Within the last 5 years, the government prohibited the importation of guns to Panama, but that restriction is due to change soon.
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