The gun laws in Panama are tough in some ways.
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.”