At the heart of the divisive issue of gun control is how one reads the Constitution. Many people are of the opinion that the very words of the 2nd Amendment, “shall not be infringed,” speak for themselves as far as the legality of government gun control. While, by definition, the Constitution is a “living document,” some attack this philosophy by reading into the intentions of the framers, taking a spirit-over-letter approach. Regardless, it is important to take a long, hard look at the facts of other nations that have attempted to control civilian gun ownership in order to fully understand the question at hand, and form an opinion that reflects the real goings on in places like Venezuela.
What is going on in Venezuela?
A case study in the result of banning civilian gun ownership is the unrest currently playing out in the nation of Venezuela. President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist state is facing massive backlash from starving, poor citizens living in a nation with inflation rates surpassing 1,300,000 percent. While upset Venezuelans, led by political challenger Juan Guaidó, have attempted to rise up against their oppressive socialist government, they have been met with sharp resistance from Maduro-backed troops, who also happen to be the only people in the nation allowed to possess guns of any kind. These issues in Venezuela are a part of a disturbing pattern of gun control being a tool of oppression. One common comparison drawn is with that of Adolf Hitler’s rule over Nazi Germany, and his support for disarming citizens in order to maximize government control. While Hitler did not, as is often mistakenly thought to be the case, disarm all German citizens, he did create a registry to disarm groups that opposed his political and societal targets, namely Jewish people. In fact, much like Maduro, Hitler weaponized fellow Nazis by allowing them to own guns, setting them against his opponents. While Hitler’s plan involved arming private citizens, and Maduro’s support is coming from already established armed forces, the idea of taking the means of defending against oppression away from the oppressed population is eerily similar.
History of Venezuela’s gun control policies
The history of gun control in Venezuela began in 1939, with the passing of the Law on Arms and Explosives that prevented private citizens from owning “weapons of war,” which pretty much boils down to anything bigger than a 22 caliber. This is a common thread among nations that have sought to solidify strict gun laws. While this did not immediately result in any drastic form of unrest, the bans on civilian gun ownership certainly did not stop there. As always, government power being drastically increased is a dangerous precedent to set for the freedom of the people. Under the rule of socialist Hugo Chávez, the government cast a widening net around gun ownership, first declaring the absolute right to control firearms, and quickly expanding that to a total civilian ban in 2012. The excuse for that complete ban? Violent crime. This, as we will discuss later on, was completely off base and contrary to an overwhelming amount of impartial data. Regardless, with the passing of Chávez in 2013, and the increasing socialist motives of new President Maduro, the nation has all but collapsed. Protestors, fed up with living in squalor and being constantly fearful of the privileged few strategically allowed to use firearms, fighting for a change in government have been pushing back against armed military attacks, and attempts to get soldiers to change sides have been largely ineffective. While some may suggest that peaceful means should be used to overcome the current administration, the situation in Venezuela has gotten so terrible that the people are left with little choice. Any attempt at change made by other politicians within the Venezuelan government have been staunchly deflected by Maduro and his remaining supporters, and the quality of life for many Venezuelan citizens has plummeted to a completely unacceptable level. Food shortages and poverty have reached over eighty percent of households, and Maduro’s style of governing has stooped to such lows as imprisoning political opponents in a move that has characterized the fascists that Maduro has modeled his government after. According to the New York Times, the economic situation in Venezuela is more destroyed than any nation in recent memory not in the depths of war. People are poorer than ever, and completely unable to resolve their situation as long as the socialist regime maintains the absolute power they currently enjoy.
Venezuela is not alone
Venezuela is far from the only nation in the world where gun control efforts have failed. In Mexico, gun laws heavily restrict private firearm ownership to far below global averages, in a claimed attempt to lower violent crime. However, as one can plainly see by looking at actual statistics and not just government hot air, that government corruption has allowed cartel members to maintain nearly unfettered gun ownership while private, law-abiding citizens have to jump through hoops to acquire and maintain permits. This has led to the cartel terrorizing both Mexican and American citizens, especially near the border where countless shipments of drugs and illegal weapons are trafficked on a daily basis. Similar to Venezuela, restrictive gun laws have prevented private citizens from defending themselves against their oppressors; in the case of Mexico the offenders are organized crime members, but the root of the issue is still the nation’s government. This is the exact reason why the right for citizens to bear arms is vital. Without it, a government has carte blanche to dictate how a person lives, even if it drives them into the ground. Ceding fundamental rights to innately corrupt governments solidifies the people as hopeless in their own defense, and sets them down a slippery slope of oppression without the ability to rise up or claim a voice.
Reason why gun control does not work
Even though it has been pretty thoroughly debunked, governments that seek to ban weapons, and the people on the supporting side, repeatedly cite the need to reduce violent crime. However, this definitely does not, I repeat, does not work. Murder rates in Venezuela went up by almost nineteen murders per one hundred thousand people in the first four years after the gun bans instituted under Chávez. This trend is supported by data around the world. When the number of firearms per one hundred people on average is put up against the number of firearm-based homicides, a very clear line forms; the highest murder rates are heavily weighted towards the nations with the lowest average firearm ownership. This is evidence that the old adage about gun control is absolutely true: the only people who follow the laws are people who were already following other laws, like the ones about not shooting people in the first place. In aforementioned Mexico, strict gun laws have only taken away one side of the equation, and spoiler alert, it is not the side that causes crime. In the United Kingdom, homicide rates spiked around fifty percent after a handgun ban in 1997, and did not normalize until over a decade later, after additional steps were taken to curb violent crime that did not involve further gun control. Across the world, the data is clear. Gun control does absolutely nothing to lower violent crime, and most often has the exact opposite effect, as most logical people could divine simply by understanding how human beings behave. If a criminal and a law-abiding citizen are both faced with a law and told to follow it, the criminal will more than likely disobey, meaning a law targeted at controlling criminals is as much of an oxymoron as jumbo shrimp. Good citizens that are respectful of laws are at a severe disadvantage when the rest of the world is armed with weapons against them, and they have none to defend themselves. This includes both violent criminals walking among the commoners, and the potentially oppressive government itself. Taking guns away from the people is a one way ticket to terrorization, but luckily the Constitution has a built-in defense against tyranny, thanks to the foresight of the founding fathers.
2nd Amendment is clearly a necessity. The founding fathers had just experienced tyranny, and rose up against it. To ensure this would never happen again, they designed a government that is to protect against oppression, but that does not change the fact that the people must always be prepared to protect themselves against any threat to their life or liberty. Sure, we the people may not be able to overthrow a government armed with nuclear missiles, but does that mean when a criminal knocks on our door, we should automatically be at a weaponry disadvantage? That is what is currently happening to the people of Mexico, who have to deal with a cartel that controls the lion’s share of guns in the crime-ridden streets. The people of Venezuela are completely unable to defend against a tyrannical government that is bleeding them dry and plunging their lives into disaster and strife. Dystopias like this are exactly why there are freedoms in the United States, and ceding that to the government does nothing but lead to catastrophe. If you think otherwise, simply glance at the rest of the world.
Written by Chase P from outdoormethods.com