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In 2012, the Venezuelan National Assembly -- under Hugo Chavez’s dictatorship -- enacted the “Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law” in an attempt to “disarm all citizens.” The law explicitly banned the exchange of firearms and ammunition to all with the exception of government entities.
After the ban, gun store owners were restricted to selling fishing supplies. Any type of weaponry (even a slingshot) was prohibited, while airsoft guns and BB ammunition were reserved for military officers and police.
Indeed, rather than creating the egalitarian utopia former President Hugo Chavez once promised, the disempowerment of the population has stratified Venezuelan society into three distinct classes: the government, the well-connected criminals, and the victims.
And the victims are suffering. Defenseless and unable to fight for a better existence, Venezuelans must cope with an epidemic of violent crime, a broken healthcare system, systemic mass incarceration, and a grim economic future.