CA gun permits
To add to the debate, first of all a smile is the best thing to carry around.
It's cheap, no, it's free and doesn't require permits.
I live in Nicaragua and I do carry guns. I wouldn't carry guns if if wasn't for the fact that I do transport some valuable goods and sometimes at night.
You need good connections or a permanent residence to get your local permit. They might have temporary permits, since I know they do in Africa when you go hunting.
Don't know for other countries than Nic and Honduras.
In Nicaragua it's pretty ilegal to carry guns. In the countryside no-one bothers and if you would get caught they'll probably just confiscate your gun and take it home as theirs. In the city you will get into trouble and probably face some jailtime.
In Honduras on the other hand, you do go straight to jail, according to the laws. They've got pretty tough laws to stop gangs (maras) and I heard on the radio once in Hon that you get between 18-25 years for unregistered guns..........I almost went to the bathroom in my pants, the one time my wife had stashed her Beretta in the glove department, the border officials searched the vehicle and by the time I got to Tegucigalpa she remembered it was there.......lucky us they didn't find it! Thought of throwing it away for a while......
Anyways, I've been to prisons in these countries, with friends who had oficial businesses with some jails. They are NOT nice, and the guys locked up are not the trustworthy kind of people I like to surround myself with.
Anyways, I've got friends who have lived here for a long time, and they don't carry guns. I do, because of my business and the fact that I want to be able to move rather freely at any time.
A smile is great and will get you out of many situations, but sometimes robbers can be pretty determined and if this determination is combined with you beeing cornered the only thing that will get you out is a gun.
At home, almost 100% of Nicaraguans have guns or at least some kind of arm.
If I were you, I wouldn't ever dream of carrying an unregistered gun.
Jails down here are pretty rough and sentences can be very harsh.
Daytime you might run into a petty thieves in Nicaragua.
The "tough" guys are the gangs, which there aren't many of in Nic and they're very local. So if you don't visit them, they wont bother you.
White people also has a reputation to be peacefull, they know cops WILL investigate a killing of a foreigner and this combined makes for them not needing or wanting to kill bike-traveleres.
All in all. Guns without permits can be a 25-year pain in the ass so don't carry them.