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Former American Citizen Gets Jail Time in Chile For Using His Firearm in Self-Defense

By: José Niño

A Chilean court has convicted and sentenced John Cobin, an American who previously renounced his American citizenship, to 11 years in prison for firing a gun in 2019 during a protest that turned violent.

Starting in October of last year, Chile was host to mass protests over public transportation fare increases and overall complaints about living standards. Although the protests started out peacefully, the radical Left took advantage of the unrest by infiltrating the protests and turning them into full-fledged riots.

Buildings, churches, and neighborhoods were set ablaze during this frenzy, while many businesses —big and small — were looted. The Chilean state eventually brought order to the country, although its response was rather delayed according to several right-wing, Chilean commentators.

According to the court’s findings, Cobin fired several shots at a group of demonstrators in the city of Reñaca, which is close to the renowned port city of Valparaiso.

Cobin was convicted on three counts, which included attempted murder and an unjustified shooting on a public way, according to a statement released by the Chilean authorities.

Following the shooting in 2019, Cobin identified himself in a video he posted on YouTube. In the video, he talked about firing a number of shots from his handgun while his vehicle was surrounded by rabid agitators.

“I was in fear for my life, being attacked by a violent mob,” he said in the video. “I did not do anything wrong.”

The video would later be removed from YouTube.

Cobin was originally from South Carolina and once ran for office as a Libertarian. He renounced his American citizenship back in December 2015 and is no longer a citizen of the U.S.

Most Americans take for granted their right to self-defense. Many countries across the globe have no right to self-defense for civilians. In cases where someone’s life is in danger, they usually have to pray for law enforcement to save them or use less effective means of self-defense, such as their fists and blunt objects to stave off assailants.

The fact is that in many developing countries, a regular citizen who uses a firearm to put down an attacker could wind up in jail because of the upside-down nature of law and order in those parts.

During violent demonstrations, individuals must exercise caution when dealing with unruly crowds, however, in the context of an out-of-control riot, anything can happen.

According to the North American Congress on Latin America, 36 people died during the Chilean protests that started back in October 2019 and have continued to a lesser degree into the present. In such situations, it stands to reason why people would be armed.

Gunpolicy.org labels Chile’s gun laws as “restrictive”, indicating the country is no safe haven for the right to bear arms. Similar cases exist across the globe where the concept of firearm ownership is generally confined to law enforcement, the military, and of course, criminals who routinely skirt firearms laws.

Americans should pause and reflect on how fortunate they are to have a Second Amendment that allows them to defend themselves from all forms of nefarious actors — state and non-state.

Most of the world is not so lucky.

José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at joseinpolitics@gmail.com. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.

 
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