Local July 10, 2014 | 8:35 am

Gun- toters are thugs’ target

Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic’s population has 220, 553 legally registered guns, most of them pistols of various calibers, but instead of defense for their owners, they also make them a target of thugs who sell them, but often commit murder.

An example of this is the arrest of Juan Carlos de la Cruz (El Menor), 24, over the weekend, carrying a 9mm pistol stolen from a Police major. The detainee said he got the gun from "Ronny" in exchange for two grams of cocaine, according to police.

For a Glock pistol, a citizen pays as much as RD$250,000 for a legal one, or as little as RD$20,000 “in the street,” and the main reason why criminals stalk people to steal guns.

"The fact that a person bears a weapon makes them a potential victim of robbery, debunking a myth that it’s safer to carry one," says a statement issued earlier this week by several organizations which call to maintain the ban on gun imports.

Big business for government

The Interior and Police Ministry registered 213,000 weapons last year, including 143,293 pistols, 55,360 shotguns, 22,0 22 revolvers and 878 rifles.

The government collected RD$50.0 million for renewal of permits and transfers, with a cost of RD$5, 850 for pistols and revolvers and RD$5,525 for shotguns and rifles.

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