Ecuador’s president, Guillermo Lasso, had already announced on April 1 that civilians may carry weapons for personal defense. In the country plagued by violence and drug trafficking, there was an attack last week in a fishing port that killed at least ten innocent civilians. On Thursday it came out that the arrangement for this has been completed. Those who want to carry a weapon must meet a number of conditions.
Ecuador’s Defense Minister, Luis Lara, stressed that “carrying and possession is regulated” and that there will not be a situation in Ecuador like it is now “in the United States.” A permit is the first requirement.
From now on, anyone in the country can apply for such a permit from the Chief of the Joint Forces in the country. The applicant must not have a staff record and be over 25 years of age, provide proof of address and sign a manifest describing the reason and necessity for carrying a weapon. The serial number of the weapon must also be recorded.
Applicants must also submit a biometric certificate issued by the National Police for identification of the permit holder.
In addition, applicants must provide a forensic psychological evaluation report. There must also be ‘a toxicological analysis’ showing that there is no question of drug or alcohol addiction.
Number of murders doubled
The lifting of the gun ban by the government of President Lasso was prompted by the increasing violence and influence of organized crime in the country, especially the cocaine trade. The country’s homicide rate has almost doubled in the past year.
In the region where this trade is concentrated, the coastal region and the area around the large container port of Guayaquil, it is not succeeding in maintaining public order in the streets, reducing the number of murders and shootings and the influence of drug trafficking on companies and institutions. to return.
Weapons clearance appears to be primarily a political strategy. In 2011, the ban on carrying weapons was introduced, in the following years the violence figures fell, but in the last three years they have risen exponentially.
The license will not apply to modern and highly dangerous assault rifles popular with civilians in the United States, such as the AR-15, HK416, and M4/M16. With such weapons, a large number of bullets can be fired quickly with enormous power. These are also the weapons that criminal organizations have in abundance in Mexico, and which are also increasingly appearing in Brazil at powerful drug organizations. In Brazil it is possible to purchase assault rifles with a license.
Experts in Ecuador believe that organized criminals in Ecuador will mainly continue to buy illegal weapons that are widely available on the illicit market, but that the release of weapons will nevertheless further worsen the security situation.