With respect to gun rights, his impression was basically that owning them legally in Belize requires you pay a $500 per weapon licensing fee and a $75 per year personal firearm owner's licensing fee. Also, apparently there are different licenses based on why you want the weapon. That's disconcerting, but not a dealbreaker, I suppose. It was what he told me about the restrictions that *DOES* bother me, however. Apparently, you can't own a shotgun larger than a certain gauge or a semi-auto handgun chambered in any round larger than 9mm. He didn't know about rifle restrictions, but with the other limitations in place I can't imagine it would be legal there to own something like an AR-15 or a Mini-14. And, if you plan on moving there and bringing your guns with you, you have to deposit them at the airport and you can only pick them up after you have established residency and paid for the proper permits.
So, unfortunately, sunny Belize might not be in my future it seems. Being that they are treating gun ownership as a privilege, rather than a right, I would be worried about the possibility of some local official deciding that my reasons for wanting to own them wasn't good enough and denying me. Plus, even with a favorable exchange rate, it would not be fun to have to pay $500 U.S. for each weapon owned before being able to go pick them up when they are already your property. Plus, several sources online said that the $500 fee per weapon was also yearly, people are typically only approved a license for one sidearm for self-defense, and the permit process can take as long as seven months!
I want to live somewhere where the government just barely exists enough to keep things from going completely Mad Max, but is way too weak to actually enforce any kind of crazy Nanny State meddling nonsense regulations like we have here in the U.S.. There's a reason why it seems all of the crazy Mormon fundamentalists run to Mexico and build compounds whenever they want to have a whole bunch of wives... it's because Mexico is all but a failed state. They have a government, but the further you get away from Mexico City the less likely you are to have to worry about government busybodies being all up in your business. People make moonshine, grow marijuana, practice polygamy in compounds guarded by dudes with AR-15's, whatever, and there's nobody really around to say much about it. This is, of course, only true in some of the more rural and out-of-the-way places, but they do exist there much more so than here in the States. All you have to worry about is not running afoul of the drug cartels, but they pretty much leave you alone too if you don't cause any issues for them.
Of course, the flip side to that is that law-enforcement down there is horrendously corrupt and pretty much completely unreliable the further you get from places like Mexico City and Cancun and all of the other major touristy places. You're pretty much on your own to protect yourself. But, then again, it's really like that here also; people just don't want to admit it.
The average person lies to themselves and lives in this bubble of cognitive dissonance believing all they have to do is pick up the phone and call 911 and they will be protected. The real truth is that an unbelievably small percentage of police work involves stopping crimes, especially violent crimes. It's not even their fault. It's just that stuff is almost always over before the cops can get there. Police work is 99% investigating what happened *AFTER* somebody gets murdered or raped or whatever.
It's really up to the individual to protect themselves even now, so why not live somewhere where that is simply understood and also comes with the benefit of there basically being no government busybodies making it their business to meddle in all of your affairs on a daily basis?
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