Ecuadorian President Allows Armed Civilians to Fight Crime

On April 2, 2023, Ecuadorian Guillermo Lasso announced an authorization that allowed civilians to carry and use firearms as crime is increasing across the country.

According to a Reuters report, crime has reached a point where it has become difficult to tame. The Lasso government believes that arming lawful individuals will help his government fight this surging crime wave.

As he announced this policy, Lasso stated, “We have a common enemy: petty crime, drug trafficking, and organized crime.”

“We’ve modified the decree that allows the possession and carrying of guns,” he continued. “In other words, in general terms … the possession and carrying of guns for civilian use in personal defense is authorized, in accordance with the requirements of law and regulations.”

Per a report by Uruguayan outlet MercoPress, Lasso initially declared a state of emergency “in the provinces of Santa Elena (west), Los Ríos (center), and in Zone 8, which includes the cities of Guayaquil, Durán, and Samborondón in the coastal province of Guayas (southwest).” AWR Hawkins noted that the  “impacted cities and provinces were placed under a 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.”

On top of the curfew and the measure to allow for civilians to be armed, Lasso announced that his government is launching a “crusade for security,” which involved locating and arresting “15 high-value targets” who are suspected to be connected to the heads of criminal gangs.

Ever since former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro implemented pro-gun reforms in Brazil during his presidency (2018-2022), Latin America appears to be gradually embracing the concept of lawful gun ownership as a tool to battle crime. Hopefully, this momentum can continue because Latin America is a crime-infested region that desperately needs some form of check against criminal activity given how incompetent law enforcement is in that region.

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