Venezuela perfectly illustrates the importance of the Second Amendment

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Venezuela perfectly illustrates the importance of the Second Amendment

In Venezuela
last week there was an upris­ing which so far has failed to over­throw the régime
of Pres­i­dent Nico­las Maduro. Despite the
abysmal con­di­tions the peo­ple of that once pros­per­ous nation live under, any
upris­ing by the peo­ple has very lit­tle chance of suc­cess thanks to a long
his­tory of strict gun con­trol and a recent out­right ban­ning of pri­vate
own­er­ship of guns. This is chron­i­cled in the Fox News arti­cle Venezue­lans
regret gun ban, ‘a 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.

Accord­ing to Javier Vane­gas, who is inter­viewed in the Fox
News article:

Venezue­lans didn’t care enough about it. The idea of hav­ing the means to pro­tect your home was seen as only needed out in the fields. Peo­ple never would have believed they needed to defend them­selves against the gov­ern­ment,” Vane­gas explained. “Venezue­lans evolved to always hope that our gov­ern­ment would be non-​tyrannical, non-​violator of human rights, and would always have a good enough con­trol of criminality.”

He said it didn’t take long for such a wide-​eyed pub­lic per­cep­tion to fall apart. “If guns had been a stronger part of our cul­ture, if there had been a sense of duty for one to pro­tect their indi­vid­ual rights, and as a show of force against a gov­ern­ment power – and had legal carry been a com­mon thing – it would have made a huge dif­fer­ence,” he lamented.

The Mises Insti­tute arti­cle A
Brief His­tory of Repres­sive Regimes and Their Gun Laws
is very
infor­ma­tive. Here is a descrip­tion of
how the Soviet Union insti­tuted gun control.

To main­tain its iron grip, the Soviet Union had to turn to the most proven form of sup­pres­sion— gun con­fis­ca­tion. On Decem­ber 10, 1918, the Coun­cil of People’s Com­mis­sar man­dated that Soviet cit­i­zens turn in their firearms. Fail­ure to do so, led to crim­i­nal prosecution.

Soviet gun con­trol laws remained tight in the fol­low­ing decades, although the gov­ern­ment did go out of its way to give Com­mu­nist Party affil­i­ates priv­i­leged access to firearms.

Also very infor­ma­tive is the National Review arti­cle How
the Nazis Used Gun Con­trol
. Here are the most impor­tant passages:

In 1931, Weimar author­i­ties dis­cov­ered plans for a Nazi takeover in which Jews would be denied food and per­sons refus­ing to sur­ren­der their guns within 24 hours would be exe­cuted. They were writ­ten by Werner Best, a future Gestapo offi­cial. In reac­tion to such threats, the gov­ern­ment autho­rized the reg­is­tra­tion of all firearms and the con­fis­ca­tion thereof, if required for “pub­lic safety.” The inte­rior min­is­ter warned that the records must not fall into the hands of any extrem­ist group.

On the sur­face gun reg­is­tra­tion may seem harm­less. It most often is the first step lead­ing up to
gun con­fis­ca­tion, as chron­i­cled in the National Review article.

In 1933, the ulti­mate extrem­ist group, led by Adolf Hitler, seized power and used the records to iden­tify, dis­arm, and attack polit­i­cal oppo­nents and Jews. Con­sti­tu­tional rights were sus­pended, and mass searches for and seizures of guns and dis­si­dent pub­li­ca­tions ensued. Police revoked gun licenses of Social Democ­rats and oth­ers who were not “polit­i­cally reliable.”

Dur­ing the five years of repres­sion that fol­lowed, soci­ety was “cleansed” by the National Social­ist régime. Unde­sir­ables were placed in camps where labor made them “free,” and nor­mal rights of cit­i­zen­ship were taken from Jews. The Gestapo banned inde­pen­dent gun clubs and arrested their lead­ers. Gestapo coun­sel Werner Best issued a direc­tive to the police for­bid­ding issuance of firearm per­mits to Jews.

In 1938, Hitler signed a new Gun Con­trol Act. Now that many “ene­mies of the state” had been removed from soci­ety, some restric­tions could be slightly lib­er­al­ized, espe­cially for Nazi Party members.

The Sec­ond Amend­ment has always been an impor­tant safe­guard
meant to ensure that the the gov­ern­ment of United
States never becomes a threat to the rights,
the lib­erty, and the prop­erty of the Amer­i­can peo­ple. By exam­in­ing the debates which occurred
dur­ing fram­ing of the Bill of Rights it is abun­dantly clear from the very
begin­ning of the debate that the Sec­ond Amend­ment was all about grant­ing the
peo­ple the power to restrain the gov­ern­ment if it proved nec­es­sary. Here is a quote from the debates House
of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion
August 17, 1789 by Elbridge Gerry

What, sir, is the use of a mili­tia? It is to pre­vent the estab­lish­ment of a stand­ing army, the bane of lib­erty. Now, it must be evi­dent, that, under this pro­vi­sion, together with their other pow­ers, Con­gress could take such mea­sures with respect to a mili­tia, as to make a stand­ing army nec­es­sary. When­ever Gov­ern­ments mean to invade the rights and lib­er­ties of the peo­ple, they always attempt to destroy the mili­tia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. This was actu­ally done by Great Britain at the com­mence­ment of the late rev­o­lu­tion. They used every means in their power to pre­vent the estab­lish­ment of an effec­tive mili­tia to the eastward.

It has been main­tained by many revi­sion­ist his­to­ri­ans that the mili­tia
men­tioned in the Sec­ond Amend­ment was a for­mal mil­i­tary unit the same as the
mod­ern National Guard. George Mason put
the kibosh to that mis­truth dur­ing the Vir­ginia Rat­i­fy­ing Con­ven­tion in 1787

I ask who are the mili­tia? They con­sist now of the whole peo­ple, except a few pub­lic officers.

He was echoed by Richard Henry Lee in Fed­eral Farmer 18

To pre­serve lib­erty, it is essen­tial that the whole body of peo­ple always pos­sess arms, and be taught alike, espe­cially when young, how to use them; nor does it fol­low from this, that all promis­cu­ously must go into actual ser­vice on every occa­sion. The mind that aims at a select mili­tia, must be influ­enced by a truly anti-​republican prin­ci­ple; and when we see many men dis­posed to prac­tice upon it, when­ever they can pre­vail, no won­der true repub­li­cans are for care­fully guard­ing against it. As a far­ther check, it may be proper to add, that the mili­tia of any state shall not remain in the ser­vice of the union, beyond a given period, with­out the express con­sent of the state legislature.

The mod­ern National Guard would most def­i­nitely be con­sid­ered a select mili­tia by Richard Henry Lee and he would label it anti-​republican.

In Venezuela last week there was an uprising which so far has failed to overthrow the regime of President Nicolas Maduro.  Despite the abysmal conditions the people of that once prosperous nation live under, any uprising by the people has very little chance of success thanks to a long history of strict gun control and a recent outright banning of private ownership of guns. This is chronicled in the Fox News article Venezuelans regret gun ban, ‘a 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.

According to Javier Vanegas, who is interviewed in the Fox News article:

“Venezuelans didn’t care enough about it. The idea of having the means to protect your home was seen as only needed out in the fields. People never would have believed they needed to defend themselves against the government,” Vanegas explained. “Venezuelans evolved to always hope that our government would be non-tyrannical, non-violator of human rights, and would always have a good enough control of criminality.”

He said it didn’t take long for such a wide-eyed public perception to fall apart. “If guns had been a stronger part of our culture, if there had been a sense of duty for one to protect their individual rights, and as a show of force against a government power – and had legal carry been a common thing – it would have made a huge difference,” he lamented.

The Mises Institute article A Brief History of Repressive Regimes and Their Gun Laws is very informative.  Here is a description of how the Soviet Union instituted gun control.

To maintain its iron grip, the Soviet Union had to turn to the most proven form of suppression— gun confiscation. On December 10, 1918, the Council of People’s Commissar mandated that Soviet citizens turn in their firearms. Failure to do so, led to criminal prosecution.

Soviet gun control laws remained tight in the following decades, although the government did go out of its way to give Communist Party affiliates privileged access to firearms.

Also very informative is the National Review article How the Nazis Used Gun Control. Here are the most important passages:

In 1931, Weimar authorities discovered plans for a Nazi takeover in which Jews would be denied food and persons refusing to surrender their guns within 24 hours would be executed. They were written by Werner Best, a future Gestapo official. In reaction to such threats, the government authorized the registration of all firearms and the confiscation thereof, if required for “public safety.” The interior minister warned that the records must not fall into the hands of any extremist group.

On the surface gun registration may seem harmless.  It most often is the first step leading up to gun confiscation, as chronicled in the National Review article.

In 1933, the ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler, seized power and used the records to identify, disarm, and attack political opponents and Jews. Constitutional rights were suspended, and mass searches for and seizures of guns and dissident publications ensued. Police revoked gun licenses of Social Democrats and others who were not “politically reliable.”

During the five years of repression that followed, society was “cleansed” by the National Socialist regime. Undesirables were placed in camps where labor made them “free,” and normal rights of citizenship were taken from Jews. The Gestapo banned independent gun clubs and arrested their leaders. Gestapo counsel Werner Best issued a directive to the police forbidding issuance of firearm permits to Jews.

In 1938, Hitler signed a new Gun Control Act. Now that many “enemies of the state” had been removed from society, some restrictions could be slightly liberalized, especially for Nazi Party members.

The Second Amendment has always been an important safeguard meant to ensure that the the government of United States never becomes a threat to the rights, the liberty, and the property of the American people.  By examining the debates which occurred during framing of the Bill of Rights it is abundantly clear from the very beginning of the debate that the Second Amendment was all about granting the people the power to restrain the government if it proved necessary.  Here is a quote from the debates  House of Representatives, Amendments to the Constitution August 17, 1789 by Elbridge Gerry

What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. This was actually done by Great Britain at the commencement of the late revolution. They used every means in their power to prevent the establishment of an effective militia to the eastward.

It has been maintained by many revisionist historians that the militia mentioned in the Second Amendment was a formal military unit the same as the modern National Guard.  George Mason put the kibosh to that mistruth during the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1787

I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.

He was echoed by Richard Henry Lee in Federal Farmer 18

To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it. As a farther check, it may be proper to add, that the militia of any state shall not remain in the service of the union, beyond a given period, without the express consent of the state legislature.

The modern National Guard would most definitely be considered a select militia by Richard Henry Lee and he would label it anti-republican.