Gun Control Preceded the Tyranny in Venezuela - FEE Foundation for Economic Education

Venezuela began its first attempts to modernize its gun policy. In 1939, the Venezuelan government enacted the Law on Arms and Explosives (Ley de Armas y Explosivos), which established the Venezuelan state’s monopoly on firearm usage. The state was the only entity that could possess “weapons of war,” which include: canons, rifles, mortars, machine guns, sub-machine guns, carbines, pistols, and revolvers. Civilians could only possess .22 rifles and shotguns, and in certain circumstances could possess handguns provided that they obtained a license. ...

Venezuela embarked on this gun control escapade during the late 1930s. ... Despite its anti-gun policies, Venezuela at least maintained some semblance of limited government in economic affairs up until the 1970s.

However, the nationalization of its oil industry in the 1970s and the subsequent economic downturns of the 1980s and 1990s shook up Venezuela’s institutional foundations. The country was then ripe for a demagogic takeover.

When socialist strongman Hugo Ch├ívez took power ... Venezuela’s previous gun control order ... was also expanded upon. Article 324 of Venezuela’s current constitution maintained the state’s previous monopoly on firearms and placed the National Armed Forces of Venezuela as the entity in charge of regulating all firearms in Venezuela.

In 2002, the Venezuelan government passed the first version of the Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law, reinforcing the state’s iron grip on firearms in Venezuela. A decade later, the law was modified to enhance the scope of gun control and gave the Venezuelan Armed Forces exclusive power to control, register, and potentially confiscate firearms.

Under the banner of fighting crime, Venezuela implemented a ban on the sale of firearms and ammo in 2012. ...

Venezuelans are now defenseless against a government that runs roughshod over their civil liberties while also destroying their economic livelihood. As if it weren’t enough, everyday Venezuelans must put up with rampant crime and the constant threat of colectivos, Venezuela’s infamous pro-government paramilitary units.

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