by WorldTribune Staff, May 1, 2019
In June 2012, the regime of socialist dictator Hugo Chavez banned private gun ownership in Venezuela.
As the socialist nightmare worsened and descended into full blown chaos under Nicolas Maduro, many Venezuelans say they wished they had guns available to fight back.
“Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight,” Javier Vanegas, a Venezuelan teacher exiled in Ecuador, told Fox News. “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.”
Interim President Juan Guaido on April 30 called for a military uprising against Maduro.
Daniel Di Martino, a Venezuelan expatriate, told The Daily Caller: “It was never easy to obtain a handgun permit in Venezuela but at least before 2012 it was possible. Since Venezuelans are unarmed we now depend on a military uprising for our freedom rather than a popular uprising.”
Under the June 2012 law, only the military, police forces, and some security contractors could purchase firearms from a state-owned weapons manufacturer. Chavez claimed the law would curb the country’s high rate of violent crime and said the ultimate goal was to disarm all private citizens.
Many Venezuelans say the crime rate has only soared since the gun ban, and criticized local police who are largely unable to protect them from criminals.
“Now the criminal mother is unleashed,” Luis Farias told Fox News. “Trying to ban guns didn’t take guns off the streets. Nobody cares about the law; the criminals don’t care about the law.”
In 2013, just 37 weapons were handed over voluntarily. More than 12,500 were confiscated by force.
Maduro ramped up the program in 2014, expending more than $47 million to enforce the ban. His tactics included “grandiose displays of public weapons demolitions in the town square,” according to Fox News.
Citizens who disobey the ban face 20 years in prison.
Omar Adolfo Zares Sanchez, a lawyer and politician, suggested citizens could have combated the Maduro regime much sooner if they had access to guns.
“Without a doubt, if there had been a balance of armed defense we could have stood up and stopped the oppression at the beginning,” he said. “But there is too much anarchy on the streets now. Making guns easier for anybody to buy now would start a civil war.”