Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro does not have the legal authority to decree a ban on carrying arms as vowed in his inaugural speech Sunday, the city’s former and current government secretaries said Monday.
According to Hector Riveras, who was government secretary until Sunday, the ban on carrying weapons can only be imposed by the local Armed Forces commander.
“This is an old debate in the city. A judicial debate that unfortunately, in my opinion, mayors have been losing because it is a power given to the commanders of the brigades. The army has not allowed to transfer this jurisdiction to the mayors, which makes what the mayor announced not fall within his jurisdiction,” Riveras told W Radio.
Riveras added that former Mayor Antanas Mockus ordered the same ban when taking office, but saw his decree declared illegal by the State Council.
Current Government Secretary Antonio Navarro admitted that “the jurisdiction of banning the carrying of arms lies with the brigade commander.”
According to Navarro, the new Bogota government will seek the support of the Armed Forces to have the carrying of weapons banned.
“This is an issue that is put on the table again and we will see how it develops,” said the government secretary.
Police General Rodolfo Palomino applauded Petro’s announcement Monday. The police official told Caracol Radio that “we joyfully celebrate the announcement made by Mayor Gustavo Petro. This will allow that less Colombians will be carrying firearms and will reduce tragedies in Bogota.”