Puerto Rico is about three times the size of Rhode Island with a population of roughly 3.2 million. It became a U.S. territory in 1898 after Spain ceded it following the Spanish-American War. It is one of the five inhabited U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam, the North Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Since it is a territory of the U.S., citizens from mainland U.S. do not need a passport to visit. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens (granted in 1917) and pay most federal taxes (except for federal income tax).
With the passage of the Weapons Acts of 2020, Puerto Rico will now honor all state concealed carry permits once the NPPR Commissioner establishes memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with states and/or territories of the United States. It will also modify several previous laws in favor of Second Amendment rights. Do you live in Puerto Rico? Maybe you have family there? Are you planning to vacation there in the future? Well, we are excited to announce that we are adding Puerto Rico to the USCCA Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map. It will be going live in the near future. Until then, here are some important things to know when it comes to gun laws if you live in or plan to travel to Puerto Rico.
Obtaining a Firearms Permit and Carrying
Applications for Puerto Rico weapons licenses can be obtained from the Weapons Licensing Office or a local law enforcement office. It takes 45 days to process, but as of 2021, this will be reduced to 30 days. The permit is valid for five years. The applicant must receive training on the use and handling of firearms before obtaining the permit. Once a student completes a course on the use and management of firearms, a certified instructor will issue a Use and Management Certificate to that student.
Open carry is not permitted in Puerto Rico. (The territory has no state constitutional right to keep and bear arms.) Only legal residents with a Puerto Rico Weapons License issued under Law 404-2000 (or non-residents with any state permit once MOU’s are established) can concealed carry. The minimum age to obtain this license and concealed carry is 21. Only one concealed firearm is permitted to be carried at a time (only handguns are permitted). However, residents with the Puerto Rico Weapons License or non-residents with any valid state permit can transport more than one firearm at a time in a vehicle. (You must possess a permit to transport in a vehicle.) These weapons must be unloaded, in a closed case and shielded from plain sight.
Puerto Rico will honor all out-of-state concealed carry permits, once MOU’s are established. Also, it will issue concealed carry permits to non-residents. There is some contradiction in the new gun law as to whether any person with a valid permit issued in any state, enclave, possession or territory of the U.S. who brings a firearm into Puerto Rico must give notice to the Ports Authority Security Office and an officer of the Police Bureau of Puerto Rico 5 business days prior to arriving in Puerto Rico, or if the airline can provide the proper form immediately prior to the flight.
Anyone with a weapons license may only purchase ammunition of the calibers that can be used by their registered weapons (unless they rent a firearm of a different caliber at the shooting range). If an individual purchases more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition or more than 10 firearms in a year, a police chief may investigate to ensure that the ammo was purchased for lawful reasons. Only licensed gun dealers are allowed to import ammunition.
You must have a permit to purchase a handgun in Puerto Rico. All firearms must be registered. Firearms may only be donated, sold, transferred, left in the custody of, or transferred between people who have a gun dealer’s license.
The new gun law doesn’t include prohibitions on carry in a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol, roadside rest area, state/national parks or state/national forests, although other statutes may apply. While there are no laws prohibiting carrying in houses of worship, these areas are private property and determine if they restrict concealed carry. However, you are restricted from carrying on school property, in public buildings, mental institutions, any place on election day and any place prohibited by federal law.
This is just a brief overview of some things you should know about Puerto Rico’s gun laws. For more detailed information, make sure to visit the USCCA Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map and keep any eye out for the addition of Puerto Rico.
The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and, as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.