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I. Introduction

The Federal Police of Argentina (Policía Federal Argentina) has jurisdiction for maintaining law and order in the national capital and preventing and investigating federal crimes in the provinces.[1]  Other federal police authorities include the Airport Security Police (Policía de Seguridad Aeroportuaria), the National Gendarmerie (Gendarmería Nacional, responsible for border patrol), and the Coast Guard of Argentina (Prefectura Naval Argentina).[2]

All federal security and police forces fall under the authority of the Ministerio de Seguridad (Ministry of Security).  Additionally, each province and the City of Buenos Aires have their own police force under the control of the corresponding provincial security authority.[3]

The Federal Police is an armed civil force that carries out the functions of security and judicial police derived from the police power responsibilities assigned to the federal government.[4]

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II.  Police Weapons

According to the National Law on Arms and Explosives and its regulatory Decree 395/1975, police forces are considered legitimate users of weapons classified as war weapons and ammunition not specifically listed as weapons for civil use.[5]  These weapons include nonportable arms; automatic portable arms; launching arms; semiautomatic arms fed with magazines, like rifles; and submachine guns derived from military weapons larger than .22 LR, with the exception of arms specifically determined by the Ministry of Defense.[6]  These weapons may be used only by members of the police force while carrying out their duties.[7]

Weapons acquired for national and provincial police marked with a shield or numbering identifying the entity owning the weapon are considered war weapons for the exclusive use of police forces.[8]

The National Registry of Arms, an agency under the Ministry of Defense, is in charge of keeping records of purchases, transfers, and sales of war weapons.[9]  All war weapons must be identified, and the police force must report the inventory of such weapons and any changes thereof.[10]

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III.  Rules on the Use of Police Weapons

The authorization to carry war weapons is issued by the National Registry of Arms with prior approval of the head of the police force after considering the personal and professional background of the police officer.[11]  The authorization to carry equipment classified as a war weapon also allows its legitimate user to keep it under his or her control; use it for the specific purpose it was authorized for; transport it with the proper documentation; obtain training and practice in special authorized facilities; acquire and maintain its ammunition; and acquire spare parts for the repair and recharging of ammunition.[12]

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Graciela Rodriguez-Ferrand
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
September 2014


[1] Decreto-Ley 333, Ley Orgánica de la Policía Federal, Jan. 14, 1958, as amended, art. 1, http://www.infoleg.gob.ar/ infolegInternet/anexos/20000-24999/20983/texact.htm.

[2] Misión, Ministerio de Seguridad, http://www.minseg.gob.ar/misi%C3%B3n (scroll down to # 3; last visited Sept. 10, 2014).

[3] Id.

[4] Argentina: Policía Federal Argentina, Interpol, http://www.interpol.int/en/Internet/Member-countries/Americas/ Argentina (last visited Sept. 10, 2014).

[5] Ley 20429, Nacional de Armas y Explosivos National [LNAE] [National Law on Arms and Explosives], May 21, 1973, cap. 1, arts. 14(1), (2), available on the Registro Nacional de Armas website, at http://www.renar.gov.ar/index _seccion.php? seccion=legislacion_visualizar&ley=12&m=3; Decreto 395 Aprueba la Reglamentación de la Ley Nacional de Armas y Explosivos [Decree 395 Approving the Regulation of the National Law on Arms and Explosives], Feb. 20, 1975, cap. 1, art. 4, http://www.renar.gov.ar/index_ seccion.php?seccion=legislacion_ visualizar&ley=16&m=3.

[6] Decreto 395 art. 4(1).

[7] Id.

[8] Decreto 395 art. 4(2).

[9] LNAE arts. 10–13; Decreto 392 arts. 50–51.

[10] Decreto 395 art. 53(1).

[11] Id. art. 53(3).

[12] Id. art.57.

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Last Updated: 06/09/2015