SAN JOSE – Costa Rican authorities have seized more than 8,000 firearms since President Laura Chinchilla took office in May 2010, the Security Ministry announced Tuesday.
“It is important to emphasize the planning and preventive work that is being carried out at different places in the national territory and conflict zones, where we are seizing these weapons every day to thus prevent crimes and violent acts,” said Security Minister Mario Zamora in a communique.
Among the weapons confiscated are 6,587 handguns, 353 shotguns, 596 rifles, 20 submachineguns, 785 homemade firearms and 130 grenades and other explosive devices, the official report said.
Authorities calculate that at least 70 percent of the assaults, robberies and murders in Costa Rica are committed with firearms.
The Security Ministry also said that so far this year about 9,000 illegal weapons have been destroyed, many of which had been stored for years after being seized.
Costa Rica is the country that is the “leader in the Central American isthmus and an example for the world” in terms of the number of illegal weapons authorities have destroyed, Zamora said.