Venezuela Banned Guns: Let’s Not Follow Their Example

In June 2012, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez banned all sales of firearms and ammunition to civilians:

With Chavez’s new gun-control law, only the Venezuelan army, police officials and certain groups such as security and private detective firms are allowed to buy firearms, and then only from state-owned weapons manufacturers and importers. …

According to a press statement, the Chavez government initiated a gun amnesty of sorts in order to phase in the new law and encourage people to give up their weapons peacefully and without incident in order to avoid necessary action such as house-to-house searches and arrests for illegal gun possession.

President Chavez … says the goal of his gun program is to simply disarm all civilians.

The United Nations hailed Chavez’s campaign to get guns out of the hands of ordinary Venezuelans.

Now, socialist Venezuela is in a state of collapse, with rampant inflation and shortages of basic necessities, like food. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, probably millions, have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the government’s corrupt incompetence. The socialist government, now headed by Nicolas Maduro, has responded with a brutal crackdown in which dozens of anti-socialist Venezuelans have been murdered by government forces or paramilitary, pro-government gangs that–who could have guessed?–are heavily armed, despite the country’s “progressive” firearms laws.

Until I became something of a gun guy a couple of years ago, I didn’t have a good sense of the relationship between the right to keep and bear arms and the other freedoms that we take too much for granted in the Age of Obama. The American Left would love to follow the example of Venezuela. (If that seems inexplicable, bear in mind the fact that Venezuelans who are tightly connected with the socialist government are filthy rich, and have stashed most of their wealth in other countries.) I have come around to the view that if we don’t want our society to devolve into a tyranny like Venezuela’s, it is a good idea to be armed.

The National Rifle Association has an NRA News video channel that posts consistently interesting material about firearms and the Second Amendment. The video below features Gabby Franco, a Venezuelan who is an Olympic shooter and became an American citizen. She lived through the Chavez disaster, and her message is: don’t let it happen here.

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