by Art Merrill | TGM Correspondent (Original Article Via TheGunMag.com)
Meeting fierce opposition on frontal assaults against America’s strong pro-rights defenses, anti-gun forces have successfully penetrated the US back door of Latin American countries, where they intend a domino effect of harsh restrictions and bans to eventually topple gun ownership in the US.
“The anti-gun and anti-hunting groups are well organized and well-funded in the region and they are gaining momentum,” said J. Thomas Saldias, executive director of the Latin American Coalition for Legal Firearms (CALL). “We have already several countries in which hunting has been banned; in the majority, gun ownership is under attack. Unfortunately, we are facing tremendous adversaries with no assistance or funding from the firearms industry.”
Small pro-gun rights groups in seven Latin American nations—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay—have banded together as CALL to raise awareness and fight for gun ownership. According to Saldias, CALL is struggling against the very step-by-step model that anti-gun organizations employ in the US and elsewhere in their goal to eventually completely disarm the civilian populace.
“Their idea is to put up so many barriers that you get tired of fighting,” Saldias said.
The difference is that they are succeeding in Latin America.
Here are some of Saldias’ examples of increasing restrictions Latin American gun owners have recently experienced:
-Peru has limited gun ownership to only four firearms, 2 handguns and two long guns—period.
-Bolivia passed a “temporary” ban on importing firearms and ammunition, and Ecuador then followed suit. Bolivia’s ban is in its third year, but Ecuador dropped the ban.
-In Argentina the government publishes gun owners’ names and addresses on a public access website.
-In Chile, citizens can buy and possess firearms, but all firearms are legally the property of the government, which can recall them at any time by Presidential decree.
-According to the Venezuelan Hunting Federation, before Chavez came to power they used to sell over 20,000 hunting licenses per year; now, that number is less than 1,000.
-Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic have totally banned all hunting.
-Paraguay narrowly missed passing legislation to ban lead hunting ammo and now the same proposal is in front of Argentine legislators. Such a ban would be disastrous. “There are no alternatives to lead ammunition in Latin America,” Saldias said. “A ban would effectively end all hunting.”
No Pro-Rights Lobby
Identical proposed legislation is being repeated in country after country, Saldias said, proving a coordinated attack by organized anti-gun forces.
“In fact,” he said, “once the hunting ban had passed in Costa Rica, immediately the same project was presented in Argentina.”
The anti-rights legislation is being introduced and backed by deep pockets, including IANSA (the international lobbying organization intent on banning all private gun ownership worldwide through the United Nations), several US non-profit foundations and the governments of Australia, Belgium, Norway and the UK, Saldias said.
Latin American citizens are a vulnerable target for anti-gun interests and repressive governments because, Saldias said, they have no pro-gun rights lobbying powers at all.
“No one is lobbying legislators [for pro-gun rights],” Saldias said. Lacking any voice or legal clout, gun owners have no recourse. “Everybody hides, everybody runs away,” he said.
CALL formed in the image of US pro-gun rights groups like SAF to give gun owners a chance to stand their ground and fight back via legal action and lobbying. Lobbying requires money, and many Latin American economies don’t have a large middle class—or any middle class at all—that is typically a major source of donations for pro-rights causes, such as in the US. Without opposition lobbying, the anti-gun factions have made rapid progress infiltrating their agenda into Latin American legislation.
Why should we care about these internal issues in Latin American countries? After all, we have our own Second Amendment battles to fight here at home. Because apart from pure altruism, the desire to help others fighting the same ideological fight as one’s own, history shows that isolationism ultimately fails 100% of the time. To protect US interests President Monroe in 1823 presented what became known as the Monroe Doctrine, a declaration that any interference into the Americas by European nations would be considered an act of aggression. Whether or not this doctrine is applicable in fact or in principle to the foreign groups and governments orchestrating legislative outcomes in Latin America today, Saldias pointed out the threat to US citizens is very close to home.
“What happens in your own back yard influences you more than when further away,” he said.
Banning gun ownership in Latin America will also have a major economic impact on the US firearms and the outdoors industry, Saldias said. All businesses must either grow, stagnate or wither away; Latin American countries represent vast potential markets for the US outdoors industry, both in direct sales and in the countless additional North American hunters who would outfit themselves to hunt down south if given the opportunity. Because the industry is committed to firearms rights in the US, Saldias hopes that industry leaders will understand the commercial loss and threat to North Americans’ rights if the anti-rights forces completely prevail in Central and South America.
A CALL TO ACTION
According to Saldias, CALL is tackling three serious challenges simultaneously: unifying the many different pro-gun rights groups from the independent Latin American nations; sharing information and human resources among them, and a lack of funds and financial streams. The first two challenges CALL will have to work out on its own. CALL is turning to its northern neighbor for assistance with the third.
“It is to our mutual benefit that the [US outdoors] industry help us,” Saldias pointed out. Without that assistance, the pervasive and accelerating encroachment of total civilian disarmament and criminalizing of hunting now occurring in Latin America will become an enormous political weapon against both the US shooting sports industry and US citizens alike.
CALL is still in its formative stages and debuted in the US at a National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show press conference in January 2014. Working with the assistance of Safari Club International (SCI) and the World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA), CALL hopes to soon have solid backing from the US outdoors industry in their fight to stop the global anti-gun forces and regain their lost freedoms.
The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) is rapidly succeeding in advancing its agenda to completely disarm all civilians in Latin America by making access to firearms increasingly complex and costly for law-abiding citizens. In response, the Latin American Coalition for Legal Firearms (CALL) has objectives that sound familiar to North American gun owners; among them are:
-To promote education and training in the safe and responsible use of firearms;
-To promote sport shooting and hunting, and wildlife conservation, and
-To promote the universal right to self-defense.
CALL has a facebook community at http://www.facebook.com/armaslegales
Who is WFSA?
The World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA) is an international association of about 50 member organizations dedicated to shooting, hunting and pro-gun rights. It is a non-governmental organization (NGO) recognized by the UN Economic and Social Council.
According to information on the WFSA website, “The WFSA is a pro-active advocacy organization, working in concert with international bodies, national governments and regulatory authorities, for the worldwide promotion and preservation of sport shooting activities.” The stated purpose is, “to further the study, preservation, promotion and protection of sport shooting activities on every continent.”
Member groups in the US include the Second Amendment Foundation, Safari Club International, National Rifle Association, National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation. http://www.wfsa.net/