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Venezuela Bans the Commercial Sale of Firearms and Ammunition 828

Posted by Soulskill
from the guns-don't-kill-people,-except-when-they-do dept.
Bob the Super Hamste writes "The BBC is reporting on a new law in Venezuela that effectively bans the commercial sale of firearms and ammunition to private citizens. Previously anyone with a permit could purchase a firearm from any commercial vendor but now only the police, military, and security firms will be able to purchase firearms or ammunition from only state-owned manufactures or importers. Hugo Chavez's government states that the goal is to eventually disarm the citizenry. The law, which went into effect today, was passed on February 29th, and up to this point the government has been running an amnesty program allowing citizens to turn in their illegal firearms. Since the law was first passed, 805,000 rounds of ammunition have been recovered from gun dealers. The measure is intended to curb violent crime in Venezuela, where 78% of homicides are linked to firearms."
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Venezuela Bans the Commercial Sale of Firearms and Ammunition

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  • So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Storm (4772) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:13PM (#40184851)

    Who will they blame when gun violence goes up?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mr1911 (1942298)
      Two Predictions:
      1) As the parent stated, gun violence will go up. Bad guys love unarmed targets.
      2) Government violence against citizens will go up.

      Yes, I know this is like predicting the sun will come up tomorrow. Just call me Captain Obvious.
      • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:34PM (#40185365)

        Two Predictions:
        1) As the parent stated, gun violence will go up. Bad guys love unarmed targets.
        2) Government violence against citizens will go up.
        Yes, I know this is like predicting the sun will come up tomorrow. Just call me Captain Obvious.

        I haven't look at your profile, but this is the sort of mentality I see in the US. Guns kill people no matter how you look at it, and less guns will only lead to less deaths.

        If you genuinely think that a gun protects you from the goverment you're deluding yourself.

        • Re:So.... (Score:4, Funny)

          by NatasRevol (731260) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:38PM (#40185465) Journal

          That's why I'm building a supply of nuclear weapons!

          Gotta fight fire with fire.

        • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by b0bby (201198) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:45PM (#40185609) Homepage

          The problem is making the transition from a gun owing society to a non-gun owning society. If there are already a ton of guns out there in private hands (as I guess is the case in Venezuela) and you then just take the guns away from those people who follow the law & hand them in, you're going to be left with a lot of guns in the hands of people who don't follow the law. Would there be less homicides if all the guns disappeared magically? Almost certainly. Will there be less homicides if a substantial portion of the population (criminals) keeps their guns and feel that most law abiding citizens are now incapable of defending themselves? I'm not sure.

          • Re:So.... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by mr1911 (1942298) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:16PM (#40186283)

            Would there be less homicides if all the guns disappeared magically? Almost certainly.

            Your conclusion is presumptuous. Humans did a damn good job of killing one another before firearms were invented, and they continue to do so today at a significant rate even when a firearm is not involved.

        • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Nadaka (224565) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:16PM (#40186279)

          guns are not the only thing that kills people.

          If a rapist or killer has a physical advantage (or an advantage because he ignores the gun ban) he can strike with impunity against unarmed people. If the law abiding people had guns, every time he attacks he risks forfeiting his own life. That prevents deaths, either by preventing the crime or stopping the criminal.

        • Re:So.... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:19PM (#40186341) Homepage Journal

          less guns will only lead to less deaths

          Better to have more deaths than to have the only deaths be at the hands of criminals and a criminal government.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sneakyimp (1161443)

          Actually, guns do protect you from the government as evidenced in Mexico. The gangs there have obtained outrageous and highly dangerous weapons and the government just cannot stamp them out. Afghanistan is another example. The US just cannot seem to eliminate the 'insurgents' or whatever they are being called now.

          I think in the case of Venezuela that a government move to outlaw gun ownership is probably a shrewd move by the dodgy government they have -- it provides an excuse to round up would-be rebels.

        • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday June 01, 2012 @06:22PM (#40187601)

          If you genuinely think that a gun protects you from the goverment you're deluding yourself.

          You're the one who's seriously deluded. The people in Afghanistan have repelled attempts from several large powers to take over their country many times using guns. How do you think the Soviet Army was defeated there? Or how do you think the Viet Cong defeated the Americans? Guerrilla warfare tactics and small arms have always been a huge problem for powerful armies trying to take over other countries.

      • Re:So.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by vagabond_gr (762469) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:45PM (#40185597)

        1) As the parent stated, gun violence will go up. Bad guys love unarmed targets.

        I can't predict what will happen in Venezuela, but here is my personal experience, for what it's worth. I've lived in three European countries, all of which forbid the sale of firearms. Although crime does exist, for example breaking into apartments is common, not a single person of my very extended circles has ever faced an armed bad guy.

        Believe me, small scale thieves here don't have guns. And even if you're a bad guy and you can find a gun, it's a really really stupid idea to take it with you when breaking into somebody's house, cause you don't need to protect yourself against other guns, and the last think you want is to commit murder in the heat of the moment. In "small" crimes, both the victim and the bad guy are better off without guns.

        • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rezalas (1227518) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:57PM (#40185895)

          Actually when you go to rob someone taking a gun (since they can't legally own one) is the best move to both passify the home owner and / or murder them if needed. In these instances there won't be anyone to see you do it. The only person who did see you is now dead on the floor (or people if you murder a whole family). Criminals don't think "what is the minimal amount of defense I can take into this robbery", no they think "What can I do to make sure I get away without being caught". A gun pretty much ensures that when you tell the home owner to bury his face in the pillow while you tie him up, he does it.

          This is why Americans don't want to give up weapons. We know the "kind criminal" is a myth, and we don't intend to be a victim while we hope that someone shows up to save us.

          • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by oh2 (520684) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:11PM (#40186183) Homepage Journal
            Or, most criminals actually have some morals/smarts. Its a big step from robbing someones house to killing every potential witness. Comitting crimes does not automatically make you a homicidal maniac, guns or no guns.
          • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:12PM (#40186205)

            If true then Americans are fooling themselves. Criminals aren't idiots, and most will not commit a murder except by accident. The average burglar in non-gun obsessed countries runs away when confronted. Getting caught by the homeowner is a no brainer - run away and the burglary MIGHT get reported, MIGHT get investigated, and in the unlikely event you actually get arrested, attempted burglary doesn't carry a huge penalty. But if you kill the homeowner it will DEFINITELY get reported, DEFINITELY be investigated, and the solved rate on homicides in most western nations is pretty good, so you've got a good chance of doing hard time.

            Countries with reasonable gun control have much lower rates of violent crime. Since you seem to be American, you have only to look north.

            • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday June 01, 2012 @06:35PM (#40187771)

              No, we can look south. Mexico has very strong gun control laws. An American tourist who gets caught by police there with a round of ammunition accidentally dropped on the floor of his vehicle can expect to stay in jail for 5 years there. How are those gun control laws working out for them? Every time I turn on the news, there's a story about dozens of people being decapitated and hung from bridges there.

              The reason European countries don't have huge violent crime problems is because of culture, not gun control laws.

              • by ceoyoyo (59147)

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics#Mexico [wikipedia.org]

                Unregulated private sale of "non-military" firearms (which include pistols of .38 calibre and smaller), which are supposed to be licensed but usually aren't. That doesn't really sound like strict gun control.

                Note also that "gun control" includes both laws and the ability to enforce them. Mexico has a bit of a problem with the ability to enforce any laws at all in some places.

                I agree with you that culture and other factors play a role - Switzerland is famous

          • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by zwei2stein (782480) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:47PM (#40186953) Homepage

            If you were crinimal, your nickname would be "idiot rezalas".

            Police will not really work hard when investigating typical robbery. Even if homeowner saw someone, police will have rather casuall aproach because there are usually more important crimes to solve like...

            Murdered family? Well, enjoy your manhunt because now you are high-priority target which made some headlines. Expect police to to a lot more thorou, dedicate more men, public call for help of witneses, check security cameras, ask cell phone operators for co-location profile of cell phones, Snitches, Bounties, Maybe short spot at news etc etc...

            Just showing gun might make you improtant enough that your case will be actually investigated rather than filed. Killing someone? Con-fucking-gratulations, genius, you *really* made sure you are not getting caught, now didn't you?

            Thanks for illustrating shortsigtedness of gun-people.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            Yeha peopel who spout of urban myths and lies about guns.

            "We know the "kind criminal" is a myth"
            the countries where the is stricter gun control show, conclusively, that it isn't a myth.

            " "What can I do to make sure I get away without being caught""
            no they do not. Fuck, shut up.

          • Re:So.... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@NOspaM.world3.net> on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:29PM (#40188421) Homepage

            Criminals don't think "what is the minimal amount of defense I can take into this robbery", no they think "What can I do to make sure I get away without being caught".

            No, criminals don't think that way. They target places they think are easy, where the occupier is out. They will probably just run away if disturbed. The chances of actually being seen and identified by an eye witness are pretty slim in the dark of night while running with their back to someone. Criminals who have been in fights quickly realize that it is a risky business, the other person will probably hurt them even if they win and the best thing to do is avoid a confrontation altogether.

            Below the level of white collar crime people don't tend to become criminals because they think they can get away with it, they do so because they are desperate or have no life chances. It doesn't make them murderers, Even in countries without guns they could carry knives, or get an illegal gun, but they tend not to.

            In case they do it is best for the victim not to carry their own gun. The second you pull a gun on someone else your own chance of dying massively increases. People robbing houses don't want to kill other human beings, if they did they could earn a lot more money as a hit man. If you don't resist you will probably live, if you start a fight or pull your own weapon you will probably get hurt or die. The stats are quite clear. In fact if you do confront a burglar the most likely outcome is that they will flee.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PeeAitchPee (712652)
          Great . . . did these three European countries have pro-government gangs armed with firearms to enforce the dictator's will and crush disparate viewpoints? If so, I wonder if said jackbooted thugs were worried about getting shot when smashing down dissidents' doors at 3 AM to arrest, rape, beat, and otherwise terrorize anyone opposed to Dear Leader? I suppose Nazi-occupied Poland wasn't one of the countries you lived in, huh? But I guess that could never happen again, not in gun-free Europe, right?
        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:12PM (#40186217)

          There's Washington DC. They have some of the toughest gun laws in the US, yet also one of the highest violent crime and murder rates.

          So you have to ask is it really the gun laws doing it, or do the places have lower crime for other reasons?

          You have to realize that there are many different conditions in different countries that lead to different crime rates. One example is Canada, quite a low homicide rate. Now they aren't nearly as gun friendly as the US (but then pretty much nobody is) but civilians can get firearms up to things like AR-15s. Also guns could easily be illegally smuggled from the US, since the border security is very, very lax.

          It isn't as easy as just saying "Oh well this European country doesn't allow guns and they have less crime." Ok sure, but maybe they just have less crime period. The guns don't make much difference.

          • by jez9999 (618189) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @02:00AM (#40191757) Homepage Journal

            There's Washington DC. They have some of the toughest gun laws in the US, yet also one of the highest violent crime and murder rates.

            Because it's extremely difficult to smuggle a gun in from one of the other 49 states, many of which will give a gun to just about anyone.

            Hell, with the new stand-your-ground laws, those WITHOUT guns tend to have fewer rights in practice.

            • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @09:16AM (#40193509)

              Because it's extremely difficult to smuggle a gun in from one of the other 49 states, many of which will give a gun to just about anyone.

              Note that it is illegal to buy a firearm of any kind anywhere but in your State of legal residence.

              Note further that a background check is required for firearms purchases from a dealer (private sales between individuals do not require background checks), and that having a criminal record prevents one from passing the background check.

              Net effect for DC - law-abiding citizens cannot own firearms, criminals can. Which is paradise for a criminal.

              Note also that if merely the presence of firearms causes problems, then the problems should be no worse in DC than elsewhere. And yet DC has one of the highest murder/violent crime rates in the nation.

        • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mr1911 (1942298) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:22PM (#40186405)
          Personal stories are cute but have very little bearing on the topic. I live in the "gun happy" US and not a single person of my very extended circles has ever faced an armed bad guy either.

          And even if you're a bad guy and you can find a gun, it's a really really stupid idea to take it with you when breaking into somebody's house, cause you don't need to protect yourself against other guns, and the last think you want is to commit murder in the heat of the moment.

          Bad guys don't carry guns to protect themselves. They carry guns to tip the balance of power to their benefit. A bad guy rarely commits murder "in the heat of the moment".

          both the victim and the bad guy are better off without guns

          Bullshit. If you are facing a bad guy intent on doing you harm, you are far better off the the most efficient and effective means of self defense available to you.

      • 1) Bad guys love unarmed targets.
        2) Government violence against citizens will go up.

        ...but you repeat yourself.

  • Sure.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kid Zero (4866) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:13PM (#40184863) Homepage Journal

    Disarming the citizenry in a dictatorship is SOP. Isn't Hugo running behind on that?

  • by hoppo (254995) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:13PM (#40184865)

    "The measure is intended to curb violent crime in Venezuela, where 78% of homicides are linked to firearms."

    That's what Venezuela claims. In reality, the government prefers a citizenry armed with sticks and rocks when the inevitable revolt comes to pass.

    • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:59PM (#40185959) Homepage

      "The measure is intended to curb violent crime in Venezuela, where 78% of homicides are linked to firearms."

      That's what Venezuela claims. In reality, the government prefers a citizenry armed with sticks and rocks when the inevitable revolt comes to pass.

      I might have a slightly different perspective (given that I come from Nicaragua, a country that used to be plagued by civil wars and tyrannical regimes.) There is a lot of truth that violent crime is up to levels never seen before in Venezuela's history (same in other countries, like Honduras and Mexico.)

      Violent crimes are simply too much for the government (tyrannical or not) to handle. A general dissarmament (coupled with other social changes) can curb violent crime in poor countries with poorly developed (or unmaintained) social institutions. And by social changes I mean more pluralistic participation, increased professionalization of the police and armed forces, an opening of markets, however poor the country might be, and an atmosphere devoid of continuous civil strife.

      I do not believe the Venezuelan government is simply trying to disarm the civilian population just to remain in power. I'm not a Chavez-sympathizer, au contrair, I loathe everything he stands for. However, this is just too simplistic an explanation, one well suited for playing arm-chair conspiracy theories. It also neglects to acknowledge that a substantial % of the population supports him (populism sells for the simple, destitute masses.)

      They Venezuelan authorities have a substantial criminal violence problem in their hands, and this is one necessary (but not sufficient) step to curb it. It will fall short given that all the other necessary ingredients to make it work.

      And that is the sad mark of incompetent regimes: to take uneducated, incomplete shortcuts to solve extremelly complex socio-economic problems.

  • huh, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:13PM (#40184875)

    The only time you'll need the second amendment is when they try to take it away.

  • by talldean (1038514) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:14PM (#40184889) Homepage
    The United States has more guns than people. If the guns were causing the crime, we'd live in a post-apocalypse already.
    • by Red4man (1347635) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:24PM (#40185129) Journal
      I'll believe that guns kill people when the gun is convicted instead of the person.
      • by talldean (1038514) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:27PM (#40185209) Homepage
        I'd believe guns kill people if gun bans in other countries had successfully reduced crime, instead of just changing it. The majority (2/3rds) of gun deaths in the US are suicides. We'd be most successful reducing *deaths* by having better support for depressed people, for instance.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tastecicles (1153671)

        Mod parent UP!

        I am a gun owner. I have guns in cabinets. To date, none have jumped out and tried to throttle me. I feel pretty safe around them.

        I have to say though, I'm watching my .22. It's got a nasty glint in its eye.

  • Forks (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:14PM (#40184903)

    And forks make people fat.

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:14PM (#40184911)
    The only people who will voluntarily give up firearms (or refrain from buying them on the black market) are by definition law abiding persons. It is amazingly stupid to disarm the good guys. We have some of the same stupidity legislated some places here in the USA.
  • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:15PM (#40184923)

    Breaking news. Full story at eleven...

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:15PM (#40184929) Homepage

    ...badly! If you live in Venezuela, GTFO now! But then again, the election of Hugo Chavez should have been your first clue. Isn't that right comrade?

  • Yeah.... sure... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jittles (1613415) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:16PM (#40184941)

    LOL! I Lived in Venezuela for a year and I don't believe that this is to prevent street crime. When I lived there, it was dangerous to ride a nice bike in certain areas because street criminals would stab you and take your bike. They wouldn't ask, they would just take it before you had the chance to do anything. Was that common? No. But it happened. I think this has more to do with keeping Hugo in command, especially with his failing health. Most people there can't afford guns, or ammo. They have armed security guards at Wendy's. They give them a shotgun with a couple of shells, or an old beat-up revolver with just a couple of bullets. Why? Because they don't want the guards selling the guns/ammo for cash.

    I was there for the infamous 11 de Abril, in 2002 when Hugo was temporarily replaced in a military coup. I don't think he has forgotten that day, and never will.

  • Statistics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimmifett (2434568) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:18PM (#40184995)

    100% of Homicides are linked to humans killing each other, regardless of implement.

    Seriously, this is all about cementing a communist regime and preventing armed rebellion by the people.

    Only the army, military, mercs, and criminals will have guns. Average Jose/Josefina Citizen will be stuck in the middle unable to defend themselves from gangs or oppression.

  • by Loopy (41728) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:18PM (#40185005) Journal

    ...are condemned to repeat it.

    Past tyrants are, I'm sure, cheering from the grave.

    • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:25PM (#40185153) Journal

      Past tyrants are, I'm sure, cheering from the grave.

      The necessary goal is to make current tyrants cheer from their graves.

      The reason for private citizens to own guns is so we can execute corrupt police, tyrannical senators and presidents, and (oh yeah, way way down on the list) muggers. This is why police, senators and muggers favor disarmament. It's time we treated disarmament advocates as active collaborators with these people, and punish them accordingly.

  • by exabrial (818005) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:21PM (#40185065)
    If the end goal is to reduce homicide, why don't they just make homicide illegal? This reminds me of the "ban large sodas" article form the other day... Politicians like to think they can influence human behavior by passing clever laws... (The collective brainpower of the masses will eventually outwit/underwit/circumvent any genius plan small groups of politicians create)
  • by Tastecicles (1153671) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:32PM (#40185307)

    You really think criminals give a SHIT about the Law?

    Well done, Hugo, you might as well just put up a sign reading: "Welcome to Venezuela, our citizens are unarmed; please rob, rape and murder at leisure."

    • by JWW (79176)

      The criminals would have to get in line behind his government.

  • by Genda (560240) <mariet@ g o t . n et> on Friday June 01, 2012 @06:49PM (#40187917) Journal

    On one side we have the "Pry my gun out of cold dead hand" coalition, on the other "let's arm everyone with daises and sing Kumbaya" brotherhood. Both believe they have the moral high ground and both are offended the other won't stop being ignorant and change their point of view. Jeeze, let's just agree to disagree. Guns are tools. They are tools specifically designed to kill. There are societies with lots of guns and societies with none at all. There are societies which have evolved in the presence of guns, and therefore have incorporated guns into their social fabric so making blanket statements pro or con is just being ignorant and ill informed and you can't compare societies with guns and ones without.

    The folks who think we need guns to fight our government are deluded. I'm sorry but your gun in the face of air to ground laser guided missiles is fighting a samarai katana with a wet noodle... good luck with that. Get a reality check, if your government turns on you, you will be out gunned, out manned, and at the mercy of technology over which you have no hope of beating. WAKE UP. For those of you who think arming yourself against street crime is stupid, you clearly aren't paying attention to the state of street gangs and the violent mentally ill wandering our streets. That said, the best experts I've ever heard on the subject all say the best answer by far is to learn critical self defense techniques including basic knife fighting and defense with and against guns. Trained self defense is always with you (you'll never discover you left it at home when you need it) and any way the most effective defense technology available is "Run Fu" or don't be there when the schist and the fan collide.

    So please enough of the Rambo thinking, its a fantasy, and my darlings on the other side, please man up, its a scary world and being prepared for bad news before its bad news about you is a very intelligent way to get to a ripe old age.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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