There’s few better places to look in the world than Venezuela when you want to point out the dangers of giving your market, your government, and your very citizenry over to the siren song of socialism. But as an excellent piece on FoxNews.com points out this week, Venezuela is not just a case study in capitalism and freedom over socialism and totalitarianism. It is also a wake-up call for anyone who doesn’t understand why the Second Amendment – and the widespread exercise of the freedom to bear arms – is such an important bulwark against a tyrannical government.
From Fox News:
As Venezuela continues to crumble under the socialist dictatorship of President Nicolas Maduro, some are expressing words of warning – and resentment – against a six-year-old gun control bill that stripped citizens of their weapons.
“Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight,” Javier Vanegas, 28, a Venezuelan teacher of English now 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.”
Under the direction of then-President Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan National Assembly in 2012 enacted the “Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law,” with the explicit aim to “disarm all citizens.” The law took effect in 2013, with only minimal pushback from some pro-democracy opposition figures, banned the legal commercial sale of guns and munitions to all – except government entities.
Chavez initially ran a months-long amnesty program encouraging Venezuelans to trade their arms for electrical goods. That year, there were only 37 recorded voluntary gun surrenders, while the majority of seizures – more than 12,500 – were by force.
It wasn’t more than a month ago that Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell was snidely suggesting on Twitter that the U.S. government would simply “nuke” American citizens who tried to hold onto their guns. The obscenity of that argument aside, it’s also manifestly ridiculous. If we haven’t nuked Afghanistan to glass, the Pentagon sure as hell isn’t going to start launching atomic weaponry at the American people.
The Second Amendment is meant as a safeguard against tyranny, and that is why it must always be respected, upheld, and left alone. Venezuelans now see how things might have been different had they armed themselves. An unarmed population is a population at risk. God willing, that will never describe us.