1999, I was six years old. I visited one of the richest countries in South America. Venezuela. There was democracy, healthcare, basic needs, and freedom. There was of course, some work that needed to be done, but people had a better living. I can remember so many details of my trip. The smell, the way the houses looked, the restaurants, and much more. It’s something engraved in my memory. While Venezuela was no USA, it was still a beautiful country. I remember one day I was sick, a nurse came to my grandmother’s house where I was staying, to check on me with medicines, something that is now scarce in Venezuela. I remember visiting Campo de Carabobo and seeing beautiful statues. I was eager to go back one day. It was safe but as years went by, I could no longer visit, as the safety declined quickly.

The year prior to when I visited, Hugo Chavez, a socialist, ran in the Venezuelan election and won, it was the last free election Venezuela ever had.The situation in Venezuela today is dangerous, inhuman, and life threatening. With no food or medicine, it’s difficult to survive. Venezuela was rich and prosperous until it became socialist. A company called Los Andes is one example of government take over. It was a company that made milk and juice products and was fairly popular. Chavez decided it was better for the government to take over, and over time the quality of the products declined. This happened over and over again with big and small businesses. I watched it happened with all my family member’s businesses. It happened with healthcare. The government now owns basically everything and Venezuela is running out of money. This has caused the issues we see today such as the food lines. Many wait in line for hours to get food and at times, they leave with nothing at all. The problem with socialism is all the income is from the tax paying citizens, and if they aren’t making any money, neither is the government. The quality of the products go down because there is no competition against the government since they have monopolized it all. The people want a different direction, they no longer want this corrupt government. When James Madison wrote our Bill of Rights he knew the right to bear arms was essential to ensuring America would always be free.

 In Venezuela, it is close to impossible to own a gun. The government makes their choices on who can or cannot own a gun. If you want to own a gun, you have to have a good reason. One that is acceptable in the eyes of the government. With the lack of any type of law ensuring protection through firearms in Venezuela, the government has been able to take full control. The opposition is protesting day after day against the government. This year, an election was held by the opposition to see where Venezuelans everywhere stood. 98% agreed they needed and wanted new and free elections. The military has unfortunately been on the government’s side, as most are Cubans and not Venezuelans. If the opposition had guns, they would be able to establish a stronger rebellion and potentially overthrow the tyrannical and socialist government, just as Americans did during our Revolution. Chavez was sure to leave out such a law when he rewrote Venezuela’s constitution. This was no error on his part, he knew exactly what he was doing. Maduro has been no better for Venezuela since he took over power after Chavez died. Every single day the situation becomes worse. I have watched videos where people are tear gassed, people are shot by the military.

I remember one video in particular where a military member was being video-taped, the girl taking the video was shortly shot after the member realized the video was being taken. How can one fight a military if they don’t have the right to bear arms? How can Venezuela get themselves out of this situation?

I look at our beautiful country and the freedoms and rights we have. This all being said, it seems as though millennials, and some others in older generations, are okay with stricter gun control laws and “Democratic Socialism.” I think everyone can agree that we don’t want the mentally ill carrying guns and that anyone who carries a gun should be well trained. That also being said, if everyone had a gun on them, I believe we would have a decrease in deadly shootings. People would have the fear that anyone else could have a gun and kill them or how I like to describe it, kill the threat. To truly be EMPOWERED, means to be able to protect yourself at any moment. I carry my Ruger LC9s on me at all times. I will do everything in my power to protect the Second Amendment, because protecting it means protecting myself, my family, and my other fellow Americans. I hope someday, the people of Venezuela will share this same right.

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