The Pinkerton Intelligence Agency has given Panama has the highest rating for tourist safety. After having visited four countries in the area (Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama), I can tell you from personal experience that Panama is by far the safest country in the region.
Private firearms ownership is the reason that Panamanians enjoy this level of safety and security.
Panama does not have ridiculous laws against carrying a weapon concealed. In fact, if you can legally purchase a firearm in Panama, you are also legally allowed to carry it concealed.
Panama also does not have crazy laws to prevent honest citizens from receiving permits to buy firearms. You are required to give a blood sample with a finger prick. This is used for DNA fingerprinting. You will also be asked to pee in a cup to show that you are drug-free. Applicants are then checked by the police department. This isn’t quick; nothing in Panama is quick.
For American pensionados (retirees) and other immigrants to Panama, the process is the same. Yes, you can retire to a tropical paradise and sip rum drinks on the beach, all the while knowing that your family and your property is protected.
Short barreled rifles and shotguns are legal in Panama. Silencer are not legal. Fully-automatic weapons are also not legal.
For more information on firearm ownership in Panama, read Panama Gun Laws.
For more information about retiring to Panama, visit Expat Panama.