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PR Supreme Court upholds gun law


The high court ruling upholds a law restricting gun owners from carrying weapons whose license is expired.

By John McPhaul

jpmcphaul@gmail.com


The Puerto Rico Supreme Court on Monday overturned a Court of Appeals ruling in a case seeking to declare unconstitutional Article 5.04 of the Puerto Rico Weapons Law of 2000 on the carrying, transportation or use of firearms without a license.


The ruling upholds a law restricting gun owners from carrying weapons whose license is expired.


“Accordingly, we conclude that the article under consideration herein is constitutional under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, supra. The Court of Appeals therefore erred in ruling otherwise,” read the ruling signed by Associate Justice Ángel Colón Pérez. “For the reasons set forth above, we revoke the determination of the Court of Appeals that declared unconditional Article 5.04 of the Puerto Rico Weapons Law of 2000, supra.”


The case originated when in the months of December 2015 and January 2016, the commonwealth prosecutor filed complaints against Luis Rivera Carballo, Alvin Rodríguez Rodríguez and Roberto Rodríguez López for violation of Articles 5.01 (manufacture, import, and distribution of arms), 5.04 (carrying and use of firearms without a license) and 6.01 (manufacture, distribution, possession and use of ammunition) of the Puerto Rico Weapons Law of 2000.


After the hearing, the Superior Court determined probable cause for their arrest for the offenses charged in the complaints.


Rodríguez López presented before the primary forum an urgent motion involving the fundamental right of all citizens to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America and the right to the due process of law outlined in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and requesting that the Puerto Rico Weapons Law be declared unconstitutional.


The Weapons Law declared constitutional said that in the case of a person who is transporting or carrying a firearm that is registered in his name that is expired, is not charged with the commission of any felony involving the use of violence, is not charged with the commission of a less serious offense involving the use of violence and the firearm transported or carried is not altered or mutilated, such person, at the discretion of the court, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months.

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