As a New York Second Amendment lawyer I get asked all kinds of questions everyday about where and when people may carry their lawfully possessed firearm. Most of these questions pertain to New York and Federal Law. However, this week I was contacted with an interesting question. Can a New Yorker who has a license to possess a firearm take his lawfully owned handgun on vacation with him in Puerto Rico. After doing the research I learned that surprisingly, the answer was, hopefully, yes, soon.
Puerto Rico had some of the most restrictive gun laws in the United States prior to 2015. In June 2015, a local Court ruled that Puerto Rico’s restrictive gun laws were unconstitutional. For a brief time, Puerto Rico had no enforceable gun laws. That decision was soon overturned and local and Federal Judges later found that the Puerto Rico’s gun laws were constitutional. However, in recent years Puerto Rico had become increasingly dangerous especially after the hurricane wreaked havoc on the territory’s infrastructure.
In 2016, Puerto Rico had one of the lowest rates of gun ownership in the U.S. with only 225,000 firearms owned. A rate of just 6.6 guns per 100 people. At the same time, Puerto Rico had a murder rate of almost 4 times the national average and almost twice the murder rate in Louisiana which had the highest murder rate of any State.