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Bolivian gun laws to provide hard lesson in ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it’

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Bolivia has enacted its first firearms legislation, which may be unlikely to have a dramatic impact on the country's already low murder rate, but will at least provide the state with the tools to tackle arms trafficking,” In Sight Crime reported last fall. “The legislation sets a six month period for current gun owners to register or turn in weapons before becoming subject to a maximum six year sentence for ownership or five year sentence for carrying an illegal weapon, with longer sentences for military-grade weapons…”

It’s a “solution” in search of a problem, and one that Bolivians will come to regret if real world experience is any indicator.

It’s acknowledged that Bolivia has a low intentional homicide rate, and that’s corroborated by a source familiar to Gun Right Examiner readers who have followed reports in this column on the criminal results of international “gun control” efforts: GunPolicy.org, a Sydney School of Public Health project providing an online compilation of global gun statistics and law summaries. It’s hardly an endeavor sympathetic to private gun ownership, but nonetheless provides a useful resource for unwittingly showing the utter failure of globalist citizen disarmament edicts at living up to their promise of a safer world.

From the GunPolicy site, some key pieces of information can be gleaned: First, the entry for Bolivia references the total number of “licit and illicit” guns at a mere 260,000. How any can be illicit if the new law is truly a first is unexplained. Second, while up-to-date statistics are not available, recent ones are.

“In Bolivia, annual firearm homicides total 2006: 7, 2005: 11, 2002: 52, 2001: 50,” the entry documents, giving “the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population” for those years respectively at “2006: 0.07, 2005: 0.12, 2002: 0.59 [and] 2001: 0.58.”

As there is clearly no pressing justification for imposing draconian citizen disarmament edicts under the guise of crime-fighting, the “benefits” being touted are that the new measures will curb arms trafficking.

The smart money says this is a cynical ruse, and that imposing the new controls will benefit those in a position to create and capitalize on a lucrative new black market -- that is, those in power. If that happens, look for the predictable results prohibition traditionally yields, including a dramatic rise in firearms-related homicides, especially as more (and more dangerous) operators decide to claim and vie for turf.

When that happens, expect “demands” for even more “common sense gun safety laws.” Maybe if Bolivians enact enough of them, they’ll become competitive with other Latin American Brady Paradises like Brazil, or Mexico, or “murder capital” Honduras, or…

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