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Karp, Aaron. 2012 ‘Country Analyses: Venezuela.’ Measurement and Use of Statistical Data to Analyze Small Arms in the Caribbean and Latin America; Section IV, pp. 28-29. Mexico City: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Center of Excellence, National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). 28 April

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Venezuela appears to have a tradition of widespread public gun ownership. Previous estimates by the [Small Arms] Survey found estimates of 1.5 to 5 million guns in public hands.(96) In this report, a middle-level figure based on this range is still accepted. Further substantiation of this range comes from a study which estimated there are a total of 600,000 guns in Caracas alone.(97)

Other observers believe the total is higher. In 2009 the 5 million figure, previously regarded as exaggerated, began to get more attention.(98) Outright inflation came from Deputy Juan Jose Mendoza, president of the Security Commission of the National Assembly, who reported that Venezuela has between 9 and 15 million handguns alone, legal and illegal.(99)

Partial but inclusive substantiation for larger numbers comes from police seizures of crime guns; guns owned illegally or recovered from crime scenes. Venezuelan authorities reported destroying 251,652 during the years 2003 to 2011. Of that total, 117,145 were destroyed in the first eight months of 2011 alone (100)…

Given the scale of Venezuelan civilian ownership, the expansion of state arsenals looks discrete by comparison. It is much more impressive in absolute terms. Acquisition of Russian AK-103 rifles in particular has allowed modernization of the armed forces and cascading of older FAL rifles to the rapidly expanding paramilitary organizations, the Armadas de Cooperacion, and the newly created federal police agencies, the Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminálisticas, and the Dirección de los Servicios de Inteligencia y Prevención (102)…


96) 1.5 to 5 million in Karp, Aaron. Surplus Arms in South America: A Survey; Working Paper 7, p. 39. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2009.

97) "Venezuela," Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City (Cambridge University Press, 2007), ch. 3, pp. 80-81.

98) 5 million illegal weapons, in "Governor Capriles denounces 5 million illegal weapons in Venezuela, pushes disarmament,", 12 July 2009.

99) Laura Davila Truelo, "En cuatro años se triplicó el número de armas en la calle", El Universal, (Caracas),20 junio 2010.

100) "Authorities advocate security and law enforcement policies", El Universal (Caracas, English edition), 7 October 2011; "117.145 armas de fuego han sido destruidas en el país en el 2011," RNV, 1 Septiembre 2011; Geoffrey Ramsey, "Venezuela Tries to Curb Increasingly Trigger-Happy Culture," InSight, 22 September 2011.

102) Christopher Birkbeck, "Venezuela: the shifting organizational framework for the police", Police Practice and Research, August 2009, pp. 295-304; Roberto Briceño-León, ""La policía y su reforma en Venezuela", Revista Latinoamericana de Seguridad Ciudadana. Septiembre 2007, pp. 164-172.

ID: Q11601

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