If you are a citizen or permanent resident of Panama you have the right to try to buy a gun.
I put this in the indefinite because if you can find a store that sells guns and actually has some inventory, you can buy the gun and request a license to carry the gun. I did this five years ago in Panama City and I want to share the experience. Today I needed to renew my license in David, so I can share that experience also.
Five years ago in Panama City a friend took me to gun store where I purchased a gun. They then collected urine for a drug test, did a psychological test, took copies of my carnet, passport, finger prints, money and then sent me off to have a blood sample taken for a DNA exemplar.
Then I waited six months for the call that I had a license and could go back to Panama and pick up the gun. Gun purchasing in Panama is not cash and carry. They take everything except your first born child including test firing your weapon and keeping a bullet for future comparison purposes.
My gun has never been discharged in anger but my license expires in December. Being my compulsive self I started to ask about the current procedure for renewal. One constant in Panama is that nothing is constant, they changed the law.
In addition addition to psychological testing you now need to show proficiency with the weapon by doing some serious range time, twenty-five hours. I decided to find a helping hand who could make it all happen with less pain and suffering.
Unlike other licenses in Panama do not wait until the last minute to renew your license for a weapon. Start this when you have 60 days left on your license. Email me for contact info for the man that can walk you through the entire process in two hours. Believe me it was worth the $30 he charges. That is in addition to the $100 for the government, the $30 for the psychologist and the $25 for the pistol range, total $185 for a renewal.
The one thing that they do not require is understanding the law regarding the use of a lethal weapon in Panama.
To appreciate this law and other criminal laws in Panama, understand that unlike most developed countries, in Panama if you are arrested for a crime, you are presumed guilty unless you can prove youself innocent.
The following is an unofficial translation of the law.
Acts of self-defense that the local courts may find justified are as follows:
The existence of an unjust aggression, actual or imminent.
Using a rational means to prevent or repel aggression.
Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of one who advocates or is defended
It is presumed to be acting reasonably in self-defense to repel an attack against you, when without your consent, a person has entered your residence, dwelling, house or room.
What this means is simple in explanation, but never simple if you are the person arrested.
The last, highlighted point first. IF YOU ARE IN THE PLACE YOU ARE LIVING, your home, a home you are house sitting, where you are residing and you act to defend yourself from a person who did not have your consent to enter the dwelling the burden shifts. You are presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. It does not cover your car, your front yard or someone you invited into your dwelling.
If this does not apply and you use lethal force, you need to prove the following.
There was agression against you, actual or imminent and you used a RATIONAL means to prevent or repel the aggression.
This section implies that you cannot use excessive force, you cannot shoot someone for hitting you with a fist, repelling a machete attack might be permissible since it is lethal force being met with lethal force. You also must show you or the person you defended did not provoke the attack. Note, the burden of all of this is on the person committing the act. You are presumed guilty if charged. Link
My advice, by a taser or some pepper spray and you will never face the issues that will happen if you shot someone. I, of course never seem to follow my own sagely advice.