A question I often get from private clients is which country to move to for easy access to guns.

Panama is one of those countries. Once you are a permanent resident, which you can achieve in as little as a month if you are willing to invest $300,000 in local real estate, you can buy guns and even semiautomatic rifles.

Concealed carry is easy to obtain as well.

In this video I went to my agents’ favorite gun shop, and we discussed gun laws in Panama, the gun culture, as well as the pricing of various guns.

You don’t NEED a gun in Panama

To be clear, Panama is not particularly dangerous. Having a gun is not a NEED. But for people who like to exercise this right, for sports or out of principle, it is a good destination.

If you are interested, you can contact Giovanna and Wi Men and find out more information about how to obtain residency in Panama.

To a World of Opportunities,

The Wandering Investor.

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Transcript of “How to buy a gun in Panama – Gun rights in Panama”

LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. Ladislas Maurice from thewanderinginvestor.com. Today, I’m in Panama City together with Giovanna and Wi Men, and we’ll be discussing how to buy a gun in Panama, and the gun laws in Panama. It’s a bit of a different topic, but many people who move to Panama have this question. And the two of you are gun enthusiasts, right?

GIOVANNA: That’s correct. We actually practice gun shooting. There’s a range in Panama where you can go, once you have your license, or you can also rent from these guys. They offer great service, and we have been using them for gun acquisition.

Can foreigners own guns in Panama?

LADISLAS MAURICE: I know that citizens of Panama can own guns here in Panama, but what about foreign residents?

GIOVANNA: For foreigners, you need to have a permanent residency. The fastest way to get permanent residency will be the qualified investor visa, when you come one time to Panama, and then there’s a 30-days process, and you can get immediately the permanent residency.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And then the gun?

GIOVANNA: And then you can purchase the gun, that’s correct.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, perfect. I went a different route, I went the route of the friendly nations visa, which is more affordable. I’m going to be a temporary resident for about two, two-and-a-half years. Can I get a gun with my temporary residency?

WI MEN: No, for now, you cannot get that gun with the temporary residency. You will need to wait until you get the permanent residency, then you can buy the gun. And these guys will help you with all the paperwork for the purchase.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Giovanna and Wi Men have helped me obtain residency here in Panama, they helped me open a local corporation, open a personal bank account, a corporate bank account. There are more details on all these services, how to obtain residency in Panama. And now we’re going to go into the shop, we’re going to meet the shop owner, and we’ll be discussing the types of guns that one can buy here, the prices, and the whole process to get a permit, which is really not that complicated. Let’s go. Jose, how are you?

JOSE: I’m fine, I’m fine. How are you?

LADISLAS MAURICE: Good. Cool. Let’s do a little bit of a case study here.

JOSE: Okay.

How to get a gun license in Panama

LADISLAS MAURICE: Let’s say, I come to your shop. I am a new permanent resident, I have the proper Panamanian ID. And I tell you, “Jose, I want to buy a gun.” How does it work?

JOSE: Okay. Thanks for coming here. The first step is purchasing the firearm. That’s the first step in order to start the process of the license.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so I don’t need a license before purchasing the firearm, it’s the other way?

JOSE: You don’t need a license because it’s a parallel process that we’re going to do when you purchase the firearm. You purchase the firearm, and then we’re going to ask you the following, we have to comply with Panamanian laws.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Let’s say I want to buy this Glock.

JOSE: Okay.

LADISLAS MAURICE: I buy this Glock, I give you the money, and then what happens?

JOSE: Okay. You have to pay for the firearm and also the license or the process of the license.

LADISLAS MAURICE: How much does this cost?

JOSE: About $500.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Per gun or just to have a license overall?

JOSE: No, just for having license.


JOSE: You have a license, and then you can add firearms to existing license. The cost is really cheap. You don’t have to go to follow the process again, just need to make an inclusion in your existing license.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And how long is the license valid for?

JOSE: The license valid, that depends, if it’s the tenant license, it’s valid for 10 years, and the concealed carry license is valid for 4 years.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. Well, we’ll go into the two–

JOSE: We go into different licenses.


JOSE: Okay. You asked me, first, what’s the process with the licensing. You have to comply with the Panamanian laws. They are very simple. You have to complete the psychological test, you have to complete the drug test, it’s marijuana and cocaine. It’s either you go to a lab, you pee in a bottle, and that’s it. You have to go with–

LADISLAS MAURICE: So be careful, guys.

JOSE: [laughs]

LADISLAS MAURICE: Just be careful.

JOSE: Okay. You have to take a training with a certified instructor from the authorities.

LADISLAS MAURICE: How long is that training?

JOSE: Two hours. It’s basic training to handle the firearm safely.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. What if people don’t speak Spanish.

JOSE: Doesn’t matter.


JOSE: Could speak English. Well, at least our instructor speaks English. I can’t speak for the rest, but our instructor speaks English. And then you have to pay the fees of the license. The tenant license is $50 for 10 years, and the concealed carry license is $100 for 4 years. And three photo IDs and your Panamanian ID.

LADISLAS MAURICE: How long does this process take?

JOSE: That depends. It’s out of our control. Once we introduce the paperwork to the authorities, it can take from 90 to 120 days, three to four months.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. And then I can just– so you keep the guns in the meantime?

JOSE: No, the authorities give you gun. At the moment you’re going to pick up your license, they give you the firearm.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And if I already have a license and I want to buy a second gun?

JOSE: Okay, you have to make an inclusion. The cost is $11. You have to pay fee for inclusion, complete the paperwork, only the paperwork, not the whole process of drug test, psychological exam, no. Only complete form, add the copies of your license, with your actual license, the copy of your ID, and that’s it.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And how long does this take?

JOSE: It’s the same time. Same time, 90 to 120 days.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. You can’t just like come here, “I want a gun now,” and–

JOSE: No. And another thing, okay, technically, no. It’s not that simple. It’s not that simple.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, cool. So there are measures 

JOSE: Yes, there are measures.

The different gun licenses in Panama

LADISLAS MAURICE: Can you tell us about the two different types of licenses or permits?

JOSE: Okay. We have two types of licenses. The tenant license is the one that going to allow you to have a firearm. Only to have a firearm.


JOSE: In your house or transport the firearm from Point A to Point B. An example, your house, the ranch, your house, your house at the beach, or maybe your farm outside the country. Separate from the ammunition. You cannot have it loaded in the same place. You can have it separate one from the other.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. So gun in the trunk, ammo at the back of the car?

JOSE: No. Rifle in the trunk, ammunition in a separate bag at the trunk.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so separate.

JOSE: Separate.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Separate, okay. So I need to register my address where the gun is?

JOSE: Yes, you have to register the address where the guns are going to be or to reside.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And can I have a few addresses? Let’s say, I have a farm, and I have an apartment here in the city?

JOSE: Yes, of course. You can have multiple addresses.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. So there’s no real limit?

JOSE: Yes, no real– Well, two or four addresses.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. Are there a lot of spot checks by the government to come and see if you’re complying, etc.?

JOSE: Well, not that I know.


JOSE: Not that I know. But it’s something that can happen at any time.

Concealed carry in Panama

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, sure. What about the other type of permit, if I want to carry?

JOSE: Okay, that’s the concealed carry license. You can have a firearm with you but concealed in a concealed carry unit. We’re not allowed to be open carry. Only the police and law enforcement can have it open carry. Civilians, concealed carry.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So again, I’m here, I just got my permanent residency and ID. I get, first, the tenant permit. I obtain it, I get my Glock, and then I come back to you, Jose, and I’m like, “I want to carry.“ How does this work? Can you do it?

JOSE: Well, basically, we do that at the same time.


JOSE: You only request the tenant license if you’re purchasing a rifle or a shotgun.


JOSE: If you’re planning to– Well, you can do it with the [orders 08:28] and pistols. But in order to avoid that situation that you pay for something first and then you want to [inaudible], we request everything at the same time.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Is it a lot more expensive to get the concealed carry?

JOSE: Okay. The cost is $500, includes everything. If you want only tenant license, the cost could be $400.


JOSE: But the difference is the cost of the license.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. So there are no restrictions, for example, that I must have a reason to be able to have concealed carry, that I need to work on a farm or I must have some true security concerns?


LADISLAS MAURICE: Anyone can just apply for that?

JOSE: Anyone can just apply.


JOSE: If you comply with the requirements of the law, everything is okay.

Gun culture in Panama

LADISLAS MAURICE: Perfect. Do a lot of people carry guns in Panama, concealed carry? Is it common, not really culturally?

JOSE: Okay, culturally, it’s not common. We’re trying to start going into that direction because it’s something normal, you want to protect yourself. You want to protect yourself from the bad guys. I’m not talking about defend yourself, because you’re not [inaudible 09:36] if something happens, you have something to protect. Protect you, your family, and your property. And a lot of people that I know carry firearms.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, cool. I think this is quite interesting in the sense that there aren’t many countries in the world where, as a foreigner, you can get concealed carry relatively quickly. All you need to do, at this stage, is you hire these two people, you make the required investment. Right now it’s like about $300,000 in real estate that gets you permanent residency in one trip in Panama, within 30 days, for you and your whole family. Then you take the paperwork, you go to Jose, and essentially, 90 days to 120 days later, you can actually walk around the country with a gun, which is concealed, which is pretty unique. There aren’t many countries in the world that offer this sort of setup.

From a personal freedom point of view, for people that are into this, this is great. For people that don’t like this, don’t worry about it, Panama is absolutely not dangerous. It’s not a need, really, but it’s a very nice-to-have as part of the toolbox of advantages of living in Panama. 

Price of guns in Panama

LADISLAS MAURICE: Jose, what about prices? What is your top seller here amongst the pistols?

JOSE: Well, the top sellers, I’m going to speak about these three or four firearms that I have here. Top sellers, I’m going from the cheapest.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. And can you give your rough price and then roughly what people would pay in the US?

JOSE: Okay, cool, cool. Doesn’t matter. Don’t worry. As an example, I have the Taurus G3c. It’s a semi-automatic pistol, holds 12 rounds. The cost of this firearm in Panama is $856 plus the paperwork for the license. And in the US, that firearm, the price is mainly $400, $350.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so 2x. Roughly, 2x the price because of import duties, taxes, etc.

JOSE: Yes.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And if you’re importing your own guns from the US, you would essentially have to pay these taxes as well. So yeah.

JOSE: To import a firearm from the US or from another country it’s not impossible, you can do it. But it has a cost. As an example, we have to request a license for the specific firearms you have. You have to move that firearm from your place to our distributor in the US.


JOSE: So he can send the firearms here to Panama.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Do you offer this service?

JOSE: Yes, we offer the service.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, cool. That’s interesting. So it’s up to you, if you really love your firearms, you can import them, or, sometimes, it’s just simpler to just sell them and buy new ones here.

JOSE: Yeah, yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Is there a market for second market guns as well?

JOSE: Yes, but not right now. Maybe two, three years ago, because we have a restriction for import restriction firearms. So the market was full of secondhand firearms.


JOSE: Now it goes down because the prices of firearm goes down.


JOSE: Okay. Talking about prices of different firearms, we also have the Glock 19. The cost is $1,450. You can have it in the US by at least $750, $800.


JOSE: Also, CZ P-10 C, $1,177. 

LADISLAS MAURICE: From which country?

JOSE: This is Czech Republic.


JOSE: Czech Republic.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Czech guns. Yeah, they’re Czech.

JOSE: Yes, Czech guns. Excellent firearms. And SIG Sauer, $1,605 including tax.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And this is Austrian?

JOSE: Okay, it’s Germany, but the firearm is produced in the US.

Price of semiautomatic rifle in Panama

LADISLAS MAURICE: Produced in the US, okay, cool. Interesting. How about the, let’s talk about the shot guns and the rifles. Those are your top sellers, right?

JOSE: Yes, top seller that I have right now is the Ruger 556. It’s a semiautomatic rifle. It’s completely legal in Panama.


JOSE: It has to be semiauto. Full auto is illegal now.


JOSE: Probably law enforcement.


JOSE: It’s Ruger 556. The price is $2,500, and shot guns like the Maverick 88, it’s a Mossberg firearm, it’s a pump action shotgun. The cost $749. And in the US, $350, $400.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So typical 2x?

JOSE: Yes.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Is ammo also 2x versus the US?

JOSE: Well, it depends the brand. Well, right now, the prices are very equal. They’re very equal. Depends on the ammunition.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. So for the Glock, how much would it be for one round?

JOSE: Well, for a box of 50 rounds, $22.50.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so 50 cents a shot.

JOSE: Yeah.

Which foreigners buy guns in Panama?

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, cool. All right, fantastic. I think this is really interesting. Because a lot of people have these questions. Wi Men, you, typically, because you help a lot of people with immigration here, typically, where are the people from that have these questions in terms of guns?

WI MEN: Well, most of them they’re from Canada, US, also, Australia. Because some of their countries, they have this kind of activity or this kind of sport, and when they are planning to move to Panama, they’re looking this same activity to practice.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. And I think it’s one of the big advantages of Panama as a destination versus other destinations, it’s relatively easy for people who like guns to obtains guns here legally. So this is a big plus. Like, Mexico, for example, it’s very easy to buy a gun but it’s just illegal. [laughs] So at least here in Panama you can do everything legally.

Great. So if you’re interested in obtaining residency here in Panama, there is a link below with a lot more information. There are many ways to obtain residency here in Panama, through company formation, through investing in real estate, through term deposits in banks if you’re retired, etc. So many options. There’s also Wi Men’s and Giovanna’s email below so you can get in touch with them directly if you’re interested. Great, fantastic. Wi Men, thank you very much.

WI MEN: Thank you very much.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Jose, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time.

JOSE: Thanks for the time.