Cubans and other victims of communism have firsthand experience with gun confiscation programs, and the results were not good.
After the Guns Were Removed, the Killing Fields Began
“All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The Communist Party must command all the guns; that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.”
The quote was from Mao Zedong, founder of Communist China. Mao’s first act after gaining complete control of China in 1949 was to take away all guns from the population. It was a policy he began in 1935 as he took over each rural province. Anyone found with a gun post-confiscation was executed.
Cuba and Gun Control
Everybody ought to have a gun, Fidel Castro maintained—until he took over Cuba in 1959. At a rally in Havana before he assumed power, he explained: “This is how democracy works: it gives rifles to farmers, to students, to women, to Negroes, to the poor, and to every citizen who is ready to defend a just cause.”
Weapons ranging from Czech submachine guns to Belgian FN automatic rifles were handed out to 50,000 soldiers, 400,000 militiamen, 100,000 members of the factory-guarding popular defense force, and to many men, women, and children in Cuba’s 1 million-strong “neighborhood vigilance committees.”
Immediately after assuming power in 1959, Castro changed his position, following Mao’s rule that guns should not be in the hands of the people.
For three weeks after the Castro government was formed, Radio Havana warned, “All citizens must turn in their combat weapons. Civilians must take arms to police stations, soldiers to military headquarters.”
Radio Havana’s explanation was somewhat contradictory: the guns were in bad shape anyway and the “struggle against our enemies requires a rigorous control of all combat weapons.”
There was an urgency about the new policy that suggested serious concern. Failure to turn in military weapons by Sept. 1, 1959, warned Radio Havana, would be punished not by criminal courts but by the dreaded Revolutionary Tribunals—those kangaroo courts that sentenced thousands of Cubans to death after Castro took over.
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