A recent report out of crime-ridden Venezuela is a reminder to gun owners of the importance of remaining watchful and putting pro-gun politicians in office.
Over 2,000 shotguns and pistols were destroyed in a city square in Venezuela’s capital city of Caracas as part of a new gun control push. The event marked “the renewal of efforts to disarm Venezuelans, through a combination of seizures and a voluntary program to swap guns for electrical goods.”
The government went as far as using laser technology to register ammunition, since much of the gun violence in Venezuela is perpetrated using government weapons that were either stolen from police departments and military depots, or sold to gangs by corrupt government officials. But stripping Venezuelan citizens of their ability to protect themselves will do nothing to address the violence.
This is, of course, the government pretending it is doing something about crime, as if it is ordinary citizens who are committing crimes in the streets. Criminals did not turn their guns in for destruction, nor were they affected by a gun ban.
The government under socialist president/dictator Hugo Chavez entirely banned the civilian ownership of firearms and ammunition in 2012, after a period of amnesty during which people could turn in weapons. Naturally, crime continued to increase. As usual, however, the purpose of a gun ban was not to prevent crime but to consolidate power. Chavez was just more blatant about it.
Even though Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela no longer has exclusive power, his plans to disarm the people of Venezuela continue to live on.
Americans should take note of this as the November elections approach. Hillary Clinton has been an adamant opponent of liberty and gun rights for decades. We can expect her presidency to be the active culmination of that hatred of our traditions if she is elected.
Democrats are fond of saying that gun owners’ fear of President Obama and a potential President Clinton are exaggerated, that Democrats haven’t come for anyone’s guns. While that’s true for the most part, it’s not due to a lack of desire on the part of liberal politicians. Rather, Democrats have failed in their efforts largely because of a lack of political support. Attempts to put through legislation are quickly ended by the Republican majority and the few pro-gun Democrats who remain. Politicians know that voters will scrutinize every move they make and will remember at the polls.
Donald Trump speaks in favor of the Second Amendment and was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, but in the past he was in favor of an assault weapons ban, waiting periods, and depriving people on the no-fly list of due process. As much as he may claim to support gun rights today, it is hard to gauge how firm a supporter of liberty he would be if he is elected. There can be little question Trump would be a more reliable friend to gun rights than Clinton, but even the most reliable politician should not be taken for granted.
Both candidates will have to be watched closely if they are elected. Even more importantly, voters will have to choose wisely among their senatorial and congressional candidates in the voting booth this November and hold them accountable after voting has concluded. As Jefferson is reputed to have said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
Art McGrath is a veteran of the U.S. Marines and a journalist and author based in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He is a Conservative Review contributor.