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Venezuela signed into law a gun control and disarmament bill.


America security News.- In a meeting at the Vargas Stadium ,  President Maduro signed the Gun Control Bill. Photo Credit to tmaniglia

America security News.- In a meeting at the Vargas Stadium , President Maduro signed the Gun Control Bill. Photo Credit to tmaniglia

In June President Nicolas Maduro signed into law a disarmament bill that has gone under various revisions within the National Assembly since 2010. The law signifies an important attempt by the Venezuelan government and legislature to control the flow of arms in the country. The bill was approved by the Assembly on June 11th and signed by Maduro on June 15th of this year.

However, the bill have some peculiarities like for example,

a) while the final version requires gun licenses to be divided into various categories (sporting, hunting, transportation of goods, etc.) it allows for personal defense licenses.

b) the law did create an automated system of registration for arms, parts, and ammunition that will be under the control of the Armed Forces. However, it discarded the shared registry of guns that would have allowed all state organizations to share and access information. The Army will not share information with the police.

c) the law includes no controls over CAVIM (the state company which produces arms and ammunition for the Armed Forces). While most guns are imported into the country, the majority of ammunition in Venezuela is produced by CAVIM. And, according to a study by the CICPC and the National Police, 80% of the gun shells found in homicide scenes were manufactured in the country by CAVIM.

d) though the Ministry of Justice issued a resolution closing all armerias (gun shops) in May of last year and both proposals by the CPD and the Mixed Commission designated the Venezuelan state as the only body legally competent to sell guns, the final law allows for the eventual reopening of gun shops and the future private commercialization of guns (though individuals are prohibited from selling guns to other individuals, and are allowed to sell their guns to the state only). Gun licenses will not be available for another two years, however, meaning that no one will be able to legally buy a gun until 2015

e) the legal age for carrying a gun was raised to 25

f) stricter sentences for the carrying and possession of illegal guns were established: 4-6 years of jail time for illegal possession of a gun, 4-8 for the carrying of an illegal gun, and 6-10 years for possession and carrying of guns made for war.

g) it also penalizes the alteration of a gun’s serial numbers with 3-5 years of jail time, the introduction of guns into prisons with 8-10 years, and the firing of guns in public places with 1-3 years.

h) individuals are not given personal ownership of guns but are allowed conditional possession, meaning that the state can “recuperate” an individual’s gun at any time.

i) the final law also prohibits the fabrication, selling, and carrying of knives.

j) ammunition is to be marked with the name of the producer, the year of production, as well as where the ammunition is to be sent. Police ammunition is now marked to identify each police body that will be using it. Authorized citizens can only buy 50 cartridges each year. This same amount is to be assigned annually to all police officers, of which more can be requested with proper justification.

k)apart from new restrictions, the law also includes measures like a national fund to provide care and attention to victims of gunfire as well as establishing a 5% tax on the net earnings of businesses that sell, import, and produce arms, which will be put into this fund.

l) it allows for the voluntary and anonymous turning over of weapons to the National Program for the Exchange of Arms and Ammunition in exchange for education opportunities, university scholarships, employment opportunities, construction materials, etc.