Cuba sits just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. The island nation has a long history of slavery, political upheaval, internecine bloodshed, foreign intervention and corruption. While neither the Constitution of 1901 or 1940 mentioned or protected Cubans’ right to keep and bear arms, they could apply for — and receive — a government permit to own a firearm. Once they had their paper they could purchase any firearm they desired — up to and including machine guns.
That “right” disappeared in 1959, when Fidel Castro took control of Cuba. He disarmed and destroyed any and all opposition, implementing a brutal communist dictatorship that eliminated basic human rights and plunged Cuba into economic chaos.
I was the first member of my Cuban-American family born on U.S. soil. But I wasn’t the first to own guns. My refugee relatives understood full well the connection between firearms ownership and all other freedoms. Uncle Mario taught me that owning arms marks you as a free citizen, not a subject or peasant.
The vast majority of legal immigrants into the U.S. make the same connection, and follow the same path.
I’ve known Cubans, Dominicans, Argentinians, Chinese and Venezuelans that made a pilgrimage to Lou’s Gun Shop in Hialeah, Trail Glades Range off Tamiami Trail, Henry’s Range in Homestead or the Miami Gun Show to buy their first firearm. They proudly show their Green Card, proof of residency, and fill out their 4473 form with a smile.
Don’t let gun control advocates’ propaganda fool you; across the globe people envy our freedom. They don’t see our Second Amendment protected right to keep and bear arms as some weird social sickness. They know why we have it. They know what governments do to the people.
We should never forget that purchasing a firearm is an important part of the American Dream. Gun Ownership is the one few tangible acts that we can do when exercising our Constitutional Rights. When you hold that firearm in your hand, you’re holding a literal, physical representation of freedom.
In modern Cuba, firearms are regulated by the National Revolutionary Police, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces. The private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited. And Cubans continue to flee for the U.S. Surprised?