Gun owners group sues Police Bureau over vouchers
By John McPhaul
The Puerto Rico Corporation for the Defense of the Weapons License Holder (CODEPOLA), led by Ariel Torres Meléndez, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Puerto Rico Police Bureau to enforce Puerto Rico Weapons Law 168- 2019, which establishes that people with physical disabilities are exempt from paying a voucher with the filing of an application for a new weapons license and/or renewal.
“Once again we knock on the door and seek the aid of the court in defense of the rights of people with physical disabilities, upon learning that people with physical disabilities have been adversely affected by the illegal practice of collecting a receipt with the filing of their new application for a weapons license and/or renewal,” Torres Meléndez said in a written statement.
The aim of the lawsuit is to put into effect the right acquired by people with physical disabilities/members of CODEPOLA when requesting a new weapons license and/or renewal free from the collection of a voucher.
Torres Meléndez questioned the intervention of the Legal Division of the Puerto Rico Police in opposition to the rights of people with disabilities, noting that when they began to grant licenses to deaf people and others with various physical disabilities, “the Puerto Rico Police were delivering the weapons licenses without proof of payment without any problem, as dictated by law.”
According to the 2010 Census, Puerto Rico averaged a population of over 150,000 deaf people, while thousands of others suffer from various physical disabilities.
“There is no room for arbitrary interpretation,” Torres Meléndez said. “The Weapons Law cannot be amended from a desk, at the whim of the legal advisors on duty in the Puerto Rico Police [Bureau].”
The CODEPOLA president noted that the Puerto Rico Weapons Registry, under the direction of Lt. Johnny Acevedo, is working correctly.
“This decision to collect receipts from people with disabilities arises under a directive from the Legal Division of the Puerto Rico Police,” he said. “It is necessary for the Legal Division to retract and comply with Law 168-2019, which establishes in its Article 2.06, subsection A, that any person with a physical disability and/or high-performance athletes are exempt from paying for stamps and receipts.”