Venezuela's government has prohibited people from possessing guns in public places in an effort to counter rampant violent crime.

The measure outlaws guns in all public places and specifically mentions city squares, parks, sports facilities and other types of establishments such as restaurants.

Venezuela has in recent years had one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America.

President Hugo Chavez's government in February announced temporary measures outlawing gun possession in public areas as well as halting gun sales and the granting of permits for firearms. The new rules make those changes permanent and also call for metal detectors in places such as restaurants and bars.

The measure took effect Thursday after being published in the Official Gazette.