Gun Ownership Allowed Although gun legislation is more restrictive in Chile than in the USA, for the most part, it is possible to own a gun and use it for self-defense. Concealed carry is also possible but very unlikely for most people. Fewer than 200 people have a concealed carry permit in all of Chile. The same is true with regard to getting a permit to own a silencer or a machine gun: possible but difficult. Home gun permits are relatively "easy" to get however. You can register two handguns per person in your household. After that, you have to get a sportsman's license and you can register up to six more guns: rifles, shotguns or pistols. A sportsman's license requires one to join and be an active member of a gun club, which typically costs US$400 to join and another USD$400 per year. To go through the entire process from importing the gun, to registering the gun, to buying ammunition for the gun you will have to deal with the local police (carabineros), the army (to test the gun), and customs. Reloading equipment for any kind of ammunition can also be brought in and must be registered, but in order to do so one must join a gun club and be an active member.
Note that gun shop owners in Santiago and their employees are beleaguered by false and misleading or incorrect information when if comes to foreign residents owning guns. Some will tell you that you must be a resident of Chile for three or five years. Others will say that a person must be a permanent resident (rather than just a temporary resident with a retirement or contract visa for instance). They will even add that you need a letter from the ambassador of your home country embassy which certifies that you are an upstanding citizen. You will probably be told that reloading ammunition is illegal or that only shotgun shells can be reloaded legally. These statements are all false. Yet the employees or owners you speak to will be very sure of themselves and sound convincing. They will even try to tell you that the law has changed in recent years. Do not believe them. Go to the cops and get the approval you need from them. The great majority of the hoops you have to jump through will be done in downtown Santiago: Calle Vidaurre 1456 (Autoridad Fiscalizadora 028 de los Carabineros) and Calle Vidaurre 1456 (Departamento Control de Armas y Explosivos). Try calling Suboficial Jiménez on his cell phone at +56-9-92253387 if you have questions (and can speak Spanish). Start there before listening to any gibberish from ignorant (albeit friendly) gun shop folks. If you bring your guns through the airport, you will have to declare them and leave them with customs (aduana) until you go through the paperwork process. The same thing will happen at the port so make sure you can easily pull your guns and reloading equipment out of the container.
Guns cost double or even triple the relative price in the USA when purchased in Chile. So it might make some sense to import your own gun. Expensive or high-end makes can cost five times as much as they do in the USA, making them attractive to import. Accordingly, I would recommend bringing down an expensive gun (or two) to justify the taxes and other import costs. For instance, you might bring an H&K pistol, although some H&K models are now available in Chile, just as are Sig Saur pistols. Or go really big and bring a Desert Eagle. Be sure to bring several filled clips (with your favorite rounds, e.g., nylon tipped hollow points) and accessories too. You will need to know the exact number of rounds, clips and other accessories you have in the case when you fill out the forms. Standard pistol calibers in Chile are .38, .45, .357, 9mm, and .40 and .44 can also be found. If you try to bring in a non-standard caliber, you might have a problem and the bureaucrats might even reject your application. All might be fine, too, just be aware of the potential risk if you try to bring in, for example, a Desert Eagle .50 cal. revolver.
1. Upon arrival at the airport, declare to aduana (customs) that you have a pistol, shotgun, rifle, ammunition or reloading equipment packed in your suitcase (or in your container at the port). Use a low value since you will have to pay a tax on what you declare (note: US$300 and under is generally duty free from the USA so long as you have or can make up a receipt with an American address on it, and the receipt says that the gun was "made in the United States of America"—otherwise the tax will be 25% of the receipt’s value or the value you declare, unless the customs agents think the declaration is too low in which case they will assign a value). They will take it and give you a receipt with the serial number on it. Be sure to lock the case. Keep the receipt. Be sure to complete the importation process in a timely manner since your gun is subject to being destroyed by aduana officials after 90 days. Note: If you are bringing the gun down for a friend (yes, you can do that), you will be required to fill out the form with the customs agent (which becomes your receipt) with your information on the front side. Just be sure to include your friend's name and national ID (RUT) number on the backside. That way your friend will be able to get it from customs himself and deal with the tramite.
2. Make a copy of both the receipt and your carnét (both sides).
3. Go to the registro civil (sort of like a city hall) for any comuna (city area), present your carnét, and get them to print for you what is called a "Certificado de Antecedents para Fines Especiales" (cost under $2) which basically shows that you have no criminal record or record of domestic violence.
4. Complete (in your word processor) TWO copies of the document called "Solicitud para Importar y Internar" un Arma. Click here to get a copy of the form online. It has to be filled out perfectly and printed. If you make an error, white out o crossing out words will not be accepted. You will have to go back another day to get it submitted. One of the forms you will need to get will be a psychiatric evaluation form that you must take to a Chilean psychiatrist to complete and stamp. Expect to pay US$30 to US$85 for the service.
5. Take the above documents to Calle Vidaurre 1456. They will collect around 37,500 pesos (US$80) per gun, or a little more if you are bringing in extra clips and rounds, and give you a copy of their stamped receipt along with a copy of the form you filled out above. They then send the package to be processed and you should get it back in 10-15 days. They will not call you when it is ready so be sure to get the local carabinero's phone number (i.e., the guy who helps you) and call to see when you can pick it up. Make sure you make this carabinero your friend! Be patient and jolly. The person that the carabineros deal with is a (nice) woman named Veronica (02) 4413899 who will get your properly completed form processed. You can also call her regarding status.
6. When the document is finally ready, take the stamped form back to aduana (probably at the airport in Santiago or at the point where your container arrived) and pay them whatever tax they require (perhaps US$100 on a US$400 to US$800 gun). Almost certainly, you will be required to go there accompanied by the carabinero. NOTE: due to a USA free trade agreement, if you declare your gun is used and bought by a private party for $300 or less, there is ZERO tax (tariff). So you might want to remember that when you bring your gun into the country. Make sure it costs less than $301 on your declaration. However, also note that the charging of the tariff is arbitrary. If you do not have a receipt showing USA origin then they might charge you based on whatever they think the gun is worth. So it is best to fabricate (private party) a receipt or have a receipt from the gun dealer. They then will give you (actually the cop) your gun and accessories and you are on your way. By now you will have paid close to $70 to $160 in fees and transportation costs too, along with about 7-12 hours of your time. Apparently these free trade agreements are being improved and soon the USA will not have these limits and evidently there are no limits from guns made in Canada or European Union countries. Just do some research and be sure before you come with your gun.
8. After the police officer gets your gun for you, he will keep it in his office until you: