In response to rising crime rates in Panama, its national government is ending a ban on firearm imports. Under the import ban, which went into effect in 2012, only state security officials are allowed to import firearms.
However, Panama, which shares a border with the illegal drug-producing nation of Colombia, is currently experiencing an increase in crime and gang activity. Panama’s murder rate is four times that of the United States, whereas its gun ownership rate is one-fourth that of the United States.
In announcing the lifting of the firearm import ban, Public Safety Minister Rodolfo Aguilera said, “We will follow in the footsteps of the United States and Switzerland, where the right to bear arms is believed to lead to fewer homicides.”