Venezuela signs gun control bill

Bill allows prison sentences of up to 20 years for any civilian convicted of illegally carrying or selling a fire arm.

    Venezuela signs gun control bill
    Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's president, signed the control bill into law [Reuters]

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro signed a gun control bill into law in a bid to rein in the country's runaway violent crime.

    "I hereby sign into law this gun control law, for peace in our nation," Maduro said on Friday in an address in Vargas state.

    The bill will allow sentences of up to 20 years in prison for any civilian convicted of illegally carrying or selling a firearm.
    It also restricts the sale of ammunition to civilians, and bans weapons from being shown in public places.

    "Any arm that is confiscated will be destroyed immediately ... the sales of weapons and ammunition also ends," said National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello.

    There are some exceptions: people are allowed to use weapons to protect their property and themselves when in danger, and security personnel can use them when transporting valuable items.

    The bill was promoted by late president Hugo Chavez, a leftist-populist in power since 1999 who died on March 5.

    The ruling socialist party, or PSUV, and two opposition parties approved the bill.

    In the first quarter of 2013, there were 3,400 murders. That followed another year of bloodletting that saw about 16,000 homicides nationwide in 2012, according to government data.

    There were 15 million firearms - legal and illegal - in a country of 29 million in 2009.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.