It’s Still the Poverty, Not the Guns

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryVenezuela is a country I am somewhat familiar with. While the country has some of the strictest gun control laws in the Americas, it also has a very high murder rate. Last year in Caracas, the country’s capital, there were over 3,400 murders. With a population of 29 million, this is a very high homicide rate. This murder rate makes Caracas one of the five most violent cities in the world. It is estimated that 10 percent of the population owns at least one firearm—even though guns are supposed to be restricted. How many guns are actually in the country can only be guessed at. Bandits and cartels smuggle in guns from any and all entry points into Venezuela, and Venezuela is one country where only the police, the army and the criminals have guns.

Even with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez having had a campaign to confiscate guns for close to ten years, and an effort to halt any and all firearms smuggling, this has not stopped the crime rate nor the use of guns to maim and kill. If anything, the homicide rate has escalated over the past two years, and shows no sign of abating. The deeper issues of why all this violence, and gun violence, is still prevalent has to do with people being so poor and desperate that they work with criminal gangs. This dilemma has not been solved under Chavez’s socialist Bolivarian Revolution, and will not go away anytime soon.

The same is true for so many parts of the Americas. Jamaica is an island, and has equally strict gun control laws. Yet this has not stopped guns from being smuggled onto the island, and has certainly not stopped a proliferation of firearms there. Again, poverty is the primary issue why violence on that island occurs, and how guns a part in that drama. The rise of poverty in the United States has had an impact on not only how Americans live, and has led in the level of violence and gun violence. But if Jamaica cannot stop guns from being smuggled in, then how can the United States? Last year, I reported that 15 percent of the entire U.S. population now lives in poverty, and that people on the Welfare rolls is at its highest. Given all of this, the real issue should be fighting and banning poverty, not guns. But I do not see the president nor the U.S. Congress looking at this problem.

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