Peru implements tougher gun licensing regulations

Peru is implementing drastically tougher regulations for the issuance of permits to own and carry firearms, local media reported Saturday.

The new rules were enacted under a legislative decree published Dec. 7 and are unrelated to the Dec. 14,  Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, which has received broad attention in Peru.

Under the decree,  all authorized weapons must be registered a newly formed agency: National Security Service Control Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives for Civil Use (SUCAMEC). Licenses for handguns must be renewed annually now, instead of every five years. Also, a ballistics test must be performed on every weapon to determine the unique striations or impressions on bullets. Those ballistic "fingerprints" will be registered with the Peruvian National Police.

The stricter requirements are expected to drive down the number of gun license applications, and that is by design, said Luis Gutierrez, director of Gun Control for SUCAMEC.

The issuance of all new gun permits has been suspended until the new regulations are fully implemented, Gutierrez told daily La Republica.

An amnesty was put into place for Peruvians to relinquish their firearms to authorities or get their weapons properly licensed during a six-month period prior to the enactment of the new regulations. Approximately 4,000 of an estimated 150,000 firearms in circulation were reportedly accounted for.