The country of Venezuela is anything but a free state. While it managed to function as a socialist state so long as the oil industry was propping up its collectivist economy, things were relatively okay (so far as socialist countries go). However, the moment oil stopped keeping everything afloat, the country went to hell in a handbasket faster than you can say, “Oops!”
In response, the country did all kinds of things. At least one of those things may well have resulted in a bump in the homicide rate.
Since April 2017, at least 163 pro-democracy protesters in Venezuela have been murdered by the Maduro dictatorship. Venezuela serves as an example of how gun prohibition can sometimes encourage gun crime.
In 2012, the communist-dominated Venezuelan National Assembly enacted the “Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law.” The bill’s stated objective was to “disarm all citizens.” The new law prohibited all gun sales, except to government entities. The penalty for illegally selling or carrying a firearm is a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Despite criticism from the democratic opposition, the bill went into effect in 2013.
Ostensibly, the motive for gun prohibition was Venezuela’s out of control violent crime. In 2015, Venezuela’s homicide rate was the world’s highest, with 27,875 Venezuelans murdered that year. More broadly, the Bolivarian Republic is the only South American nation with a homicide rate that has steadily risen since 1995. In the year prior to Maduro’s disarmament initiative, the Venezuelan capital of Caracas had a homicide rate of 122 per 100,000 inhabitants, nearly 20 times the global average of 6.2.
By comparison, the U.S. homicide rate in 2015 was 4.9; the U.S. gun homicide rate was 3.03 (based on calculation from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports).
To make matters worse, however, the Maduro government has given arms to 400,000 “militiamen,” which are little more than pro-government gangs called collectivos. These collectivos use violence to intimidate opposition in the South American country. They’ve apparently also machine gunned protestors.
And, since they’re not officially government troops, there’s a measure of deniability. “Oh, no, that was awful. No, we in the government would never do that,” they can say with a straight face–because they wouldn’t. They just get their thugs to do it for them.
Yet this is an example of why so many of us refuse to give up our arms. Yes, an AR-15 isn’t an M4 or M16. It’s definitely not an M240 or another belt-fed machine gun. But it’s as close as we can get, and we’re not willing to give up even that little bit, because when the populace is disarmed, this is the result.
No, it wouldn’t happen overnight. And I have little doubt that the idea of this happening in America would turn the stomach of many anti-gun activists. Not all, but most.
But without the bulwark of the right to keep and bear arms, we have no protection against such a thing. How can the left, people who remember Kent State with such a vivid memory, not see the error of thinking that disarmament of the civilian population, leaving guns only in the hands of the government, is a sound strategy?
Venezuela is an absolute hellhole right now, and part of the reason why is because civilians don’t have the means to defend themselves. Period.