President Expected To Veto Armament Law

November 26, 2004

GRANADA, Nicaragua – DefenseMinister José Adán Guerra joinedPresident Enrique Bolaños this week incriticizing the new Armament Law, arguingit infringes on the President’s constitutionalauthority as commander-in-chief.The National Assembly Nov. 18passed the armaments law regulatingguns, munitions, explosives and otherrelated materiel.The legislation was proposed byBolaños earlier this year to control the circulationand use of weapons in the handsof civilians, military and police.It also calls for creation of a nationalgun registry, and stipulates new penalties forowning unregistered or homemade guns.Before approving the law, however,the National Assembly tacked on anamendment giving the legislature controlover the government’s purchase, sale anddestruction of weapons belonging to themilitary, police or penitentiary system.The amendment appears to be a reactionby powerful interests in Congress –namely the Sandinista bench – toBolaños’s commitment to honoring theUnited States’ request that Nicaraguadestroy 30% of its stockpiled anti-aircraftmissiles (TT, May 14, Aug. 6).In addition to the hundreds of missilesNicaragua has already destroyed this year,Bolaños this month promised U.S.Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeldhis government would complete destructionof its remaining 1,200 missiles.Realizing the new gun law could limithis ability to comply with this promise,Bolaños set the wheels in motion to destroymore missiles before it was passedlast week. A third batch of 334 missileswas destroyed Wednesday, despite theSandinistas’ efforts to stop it in theSupreme Court.Bolaños is expected to the veto thenew gun law.

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