Merida, March 1st 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – A suspension of the commercial sale of firearms will remain in place for another twelve months, according to the minister for justice and internal affairs, Nestor Reverol.
Yesterday, the minister stated that the continuation of the policy was decided upon following a nationwide survey that found the majority of Venezuelans support greater arms control.
“This is part of the commitments and policies of our government, to make further progress towards disarmament of the population,” Reverol stated.
“We have signed a joint resolution between the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Defense, which extends the suspension of the marketing and importation of firearms by one year,” he said.
According to the minister, the Presidential Commission for the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Disarmament found that 90.9% of Venezuelans support the restriction of firearms. It surveyed 20,745 Venezuelans.
The commission also found that 84.9% of the population approve of a permanent ban on firearms, while 79% agreed with the temporary suspension of firearm sales.
92.6% of participants perceived that the Venezuelan state is a promoter of gun control, in adherence to international norms.
Also yesterday, 245 confiscated weapons were destroyed by authorities; 155 of which had been seized by police in Miranda state. Police obtained the firearms during operations dating back to last year. Over half of the weapons were pistols, though other small arms such as shotguns were also confiscated and destroyed.
According to Vice-president Nicolas Maduro while presenting the annual report yesterday in the national assembly, the government’s disarmament commission seized 322,000 arms in 2012.
A ban on all commercial gun sales has been in effect since last February, when the government banned all imports of firearms excluding those for law enforcement, private security firms, military personnel and sportspeople.
Today national and regional authorities from the government’s crime mission, A Toda Vida, are holding their first national meeting since the mission’s establishment last year. The mission is tasked with improving public safety. Its national meeting will bring together law enforcement bodies and the judiciary to discuss policy related to security. Violent crime is expected to feature on the agenda.
In 2011, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that Venezuela's homicide rate was 45.1 per 100,000 in 2010; one of the highest in the world.
Government figures indicate that firearms contributed to 94% of murders that year.