Venezuelans from all walks of life lament their nation’s six-year-old gun ban and say the prohibition against being armed allows their government to dominate them.
Fox News reports that the gun ban was passed in 2012, at which time “there were only around eight gun stores in the entire country.” Now, remaining stores that once sold guns are in the business of selling fishing tackle.
The ban was passed under Hugo Chavez and then bolstered with $47 million for enforcement under Nicolas Maduro. The penalty for “illicit carrying or selling a weapon now is 20 years behind bars.”
Javier Vanegas, a Venezuelan English teacher now in Ecuador, said, “Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight. The government security forces, at the beginning of this debacle, knew they had no real opposition to their force. Once things were this bad, it was a clear declaration of war against an unarmed population.”
Venezuelans didn’t care enough about it. The idea of having the means to protect your home was seen as only needed out in the fields. People never would have believed they needed to defend themselves against the government. Venezuelans evolved to always hope that our government would be non-tyrannical, non-violator of human rights, and would always have a good enough control of criminality.
In addition to the threats from their own government, Venezuelans now face a surging violent crime rate. For example, fewer than 10,000 people were murdered in Venezuela in 2012, the year the gun ban was put in place. Thereafter the death numbers began to climb; “28,000 people were murdered” in Venezuela in 2015,
In the United States, the Founding Fathers put the Second Amendment in place for the explicit purpose of guaranteeing the citizens could defend themselves from their own government. In Federalist 46, James Madison made clear that Americans are exceptional because armed.
Madison explained that “ultimate authority…resides in the people alone.” All authority held by government is derivative power that flows from the people and rests in the people. He showed that an armed citizenry, together with “the existence of subordinate governments to which the people are attached,” provide a framework in which the people can rally to defend their lives and liberty; a framework under which people could band together in “militias”–officers being “appointed” by those local, “subordinate governments”–and the banding together would be meaningful because the people are armed.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.