A member of the National Assembly and chairman of the Standing Committee on Defense and National Security, Juan José Mendoza, said Thursday that the sale of weapons in the country decreased by 97 percent during the 10-year period coinciding with the tenure of President Hugo Chávez.
On the program Despierta Venezuela Mendoza explained that in 1999, “In Venezuela there were around 4,000 armories that imported weapons into the country without any control.” He added that today “[There are] no more than 110 in the whole country.”
The National Assembly representatives added that the current Arms and Explosives Act in force in Venezuela should be updated because it was originally written in 1929. “It’s for this reason that reform is necessary, in order to advance plans to disarm the civilian population,” he said.
Mendoza explained that the National Assembly has a proposal awaiting approval, the Law for the Munitions Control and Disarmament, which aims to “recover illegal weapons.”
Furthermore, Mendoza said that the disarmament law implies a methodology, “There shall be a set of concepts that cover legal gaps that are not present in the current legislation,” he said.
The representative said that once the law is passed, a registry shall be establish in order to regularize the possession of weapons. At the same time, he added that if people do not attend the call to register legally obtained weapons, it will be considered crime with a punishment of up to 11 years in prison.
For Mendoza, the weapons currently held by civilians are the result of the mismanagement of previous governments, because they “allowed the importation of weapons indiscriminately and handed them out without any controls.”
Bolivarian News Agency, Press and Communications Office of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the United States, May 21, 2010.