Saturday, May 11, 2013

Gun Ownership In Belize

I have been asked by my Pittsburgh NRA friends, to blog about firearms here in Belize. Yesterday's blog about my new hometown also brought some questions as to weather or not I feel safe here. I think I can kill two birds with the same stone here...I'm going to try.

First, let me give you all a little background on my personal thoughts on gun ownership. I was raised in a very rural area in the Appalachian Mountains...a little ridge known to local folks as Laurel Ridge. I had the most beautiful and safe childhood anyone could wish for. Guns were commonplace; hunting for sustenance was common among my neighbors. Everyone, even girls as young as 4 or 5, knew how to load, shoot, and clean a gun. We used them as tools. As I grew older, I also began to see the benefit of a pistol for protection. I have never had cause to use a gun in that way, but I have always been comfortable knowing that I had the ability to protect myself if the "fit hit the shan!" As I said...it was something that was just normal and sort of a given. Mountain ladies are armed. Hunters pack shotguns and rifles; the women pack revolvers. Culturally, it is the way of life. I know there is a big stink right now in the USA about gun control laws. My opinion...If the government limits legal gun ownership, only the criminals will have guns. Criminals don't buy their guns through legal channels and so even a background check could be ineffective in stopping the gun crimes the US is dealing with. If I had all the right answers for this huge problem, I would be in the States lobbying for MY GUN laws. I don't. I just know that all of my peers, and all of their children are growing up familiar with guns. They know the benefit and the destruction guns can cause and have been ingrained with the respect firearms deserve. Gun safety is taught to children from the time they are old enough to walk. The same way you teach your children to not touch the stove, children are taught to point that thing at the ground! I am most assuredly Pro Gun Ownership.

That being said, there are different laws and customs here. The information I found online was that there are 2 types of gun licenses in Belize. One for hunting, and the other for protection. Never satisfied with someone else's interpretation of the law, I went ahead and found the Firearms Act of Belize. It actually provides four types of licenses, each with different yearly fees. They are as follows:

Special Protection License- $75 for citizens/ $500 for non-citizens
Gun Repair License- $200 for citizens/ $500 for non-citizens
Sport Hunters License- $150 for citizens/ $250 for non-citizens
Farmers Gun License- $5 for citizens/ $250 for non-citizens
*For my friends who are gun dealers....the fee for a dealer's license is $650 for citizens and $7000 for non-citizens.

As you can see by the fees alone, farmers are allowed to protect their animals with a gun. When a puma comes out of the jungle, for the small yearly sum of $5...you can eliminate him before he kills off your profit. Some of the provisions in the law state that no one under 16 can own a gun. They also state that if the police think you're not well suited for gun ownership, they can squash you right. If you've ever had a gun lost or stolen, you no longer have the right to gun ownership. (That one is kind of cock eyed to me...Wouldn't it cause people to NOT report the theft of a gun?!?)

The following are the provisions (as far as I can tell from reading the Firearms Act) as to what type of guns are COMPLETELY PROHIBITED throughout Belize:
(a) rifle of 7.62 or higher calibre;
(b) revolver of .44 or higher calibre;
(c) magnum revolver of .357 caliber;
(d) sawed-off shotgun of any calibre;
(e) machine gun of any calibre.

So...I guess my favorite Smith and Wesson .32 Five Screw, would have been OK? The tough part would have been bringing it into the country. Upon entry, all firearms are to be turned over to the police for a period not exceeding 30 days. That is to allow the owner to secure his proper permit and to assure the government that the gun itself meets the requirements of the law. (Again...this is my interpretation of the actual law, I'm not a lawyer. If someone would like to read where I got this information, feel free to message me or comment on this post. I will gladly send you the pdf of the gun laws...)

So...in practice...Here in Dangriga, I have seen a couple people with guns. Once I saw a truck load of guys and all of them were carrying what I thought were .410 rifles. I would assume this was a hunting party. The police (sometimes) carry guns. (Last evening, I saw 3 police persons carrying clubs. I hadn't seen this before and it looked strange to me. Not a "billy club" like you would see the police in the states carry...not a police baton. Actual wooden clubs...like ball bats but skinnier for good grip.) I have seen a guy or two in town with their gun tucked into their waistband. I thought one was a 9mm? Guns are here, but I don't think there are nearly as commonplace as they were in my hometown.

NRA friends...I hope I answered your questions. I currently am unarmed. I will apply for a Special Protection License if I get involved in a business that requires me to handle cash. If I do, I will let you know how easily I get permission to carry. In the meantime, I do indeed feel safe here in Dangriga. The police with the clubs were scarier to me than my neighbors. The police with clubs were scarier than the police with guns.

I like to post pics every day with my blog, but I have no pictures of the guys with their guns. I have no pics of the police with their guns, or the police with their clubs. (They didn't look real jovial, not ready for touristy photos. lol) So...Today's pic is unrelated to today's post...I was out playing around with the panorama setting on my camera...here's a couple of them for you to enjoy!





I'll get better at the panorama feature, I'm sure. Watch for more panorama pics to come!







25 comments:

  1. hi...i am planning on moving back home and i was wondering if u can please send me a pdf copy of the gun laws in bze.thanks

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  2. Italian guns are way too gorgeous and stylish than American made guns. There isn't any lesser number of people who are carrying firearms just for safety of their families. These days, it is important and getting mandatory to have a gun.

    Regards,
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    MA Gun License

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  3. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post. The whole blog is very nice found some good stuff and good information here Thanks..Also visit my page motor vehicle dealer license Dealer Licensing Made Simple, Fast & Affordable.

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  4. Thanks for the info, someday I would like to retire in Belize

    ReplyDelete
  5. How available are 22lr, 380, 9mm, 38 special and 357 mag (the 357 is for a rifle ). I am going to be moving to the Corazol area and would like to know about buying my plinking ammo

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello Melanie, you have a good insight about guns and licenses. I give training in firearms to people and so I don't have to buy the guns for self gratification. I have one handgun for self defense. It is very important to know that what kind of license you own and what you can do with your gun, otherwise it is very easy to get caught under the government law and get your license revoked.

    Regards,
    Jacky
    MA Firearms School

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  8. Hi I was wondering if someone could post a link as to where the guns laws in Belize are stated. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi I was wondering if someone could post a link as to where the guns laws in Belize are stated. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi: We are taking a trip to the Belize specifically to buy some property preferably with a house on which to retire In early 2016. Will you please send me the P DF file of Belize gun laws? Also any and all information you may have on the Dangriga area which is of great interest to us will be most helpful. I have questions on such things as safety, mosquitoes, sandflies, snakes, etc. Any and all information you may send will be very much appreciated. Thank you. Beverly Sydney7177@gmail.com

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  11. My last comment contained and email address which was unclear. I'll give that to you again; sydney7177@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are having a nice post. If anyone want to get proper training in licensed gun he can come or contact us. We provide best training among the all.
    Regards:
    Jacky
    Mass License To Carry Class

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is you address there.
      Thanks

      Delete
    2. You can visit the Boston Firearms Training Center
      151 Bow Street
      Everett, MA 02149
      Tel: (781) 284-6677
      Tel: (855) 582-6277
      There you can get proper training.

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  20. Off of the the loan conversation and back to the original Belize conversation; I am planning on taking a trip to Belize later this year. I'm extremely interested in relocating for an upcoming retirement, but one of my major concerns has been of gun ownership. I appreciate your information and I could use some more help, if you have the time. adamk702@gmail.com

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