Brazil: Disarming delinquents or the good people?
One hopes that common sense will prevail in the next referendum due to be held on the 23rd. October when voters will decide for or against the sale of firearms, remembering that if registered firearms in the hands of the public is to be considered against the law, then only outlaws will remain armed.
1.Next October 23rd. there will be a referendum in Brazil to decide whether or not to prohibit the sale of firearms and ammunition to individual members of the public. It is the first referendum of this nature to be held anywhere in the world. In 2003 Congress approved the Disarmament Law (Law nº 10.826 of 23rd. December 2003) which prohibits the carrying and use of firearms by individuals, even if the said firearms are registered with the local authorities, and thus made it even more difficult to possess firearms in ones home.
2.The Brazilian authorities allege that these prohibitions would decrease the high death rates by use of guns, which amount to about 40 thousand deaths per year. Although, according to some authorities, with statistics and common sense at hand, suggest that the use of illegal firearms account for these high figures rather than with legally registered firearms. But it can also be said that the Disarmament Law and the referendum to prohibit the commercialization of firearms and ammunition might provoke a negative result in disarming honest people, leaving individuals to their own fate with crooks, assailants, rapists and drug traffickers who will continue to be armed simply because their weapons are not registered anyway, anyway, as well as not having a fixed abode and are not, of course, concerned with laws. Quite apart from which, the State cannot control all public areas so that gangsters and robbers can be as free as wolves in a chicken run!
3.It is estimated that there are over 20 million illegal firearms in Brazil – mostly obtained through robbery as well as contraband into the country – and some 2 million registered firearms. What the authorities should do is to increase security for the public’s benefit and try to recuperate stolen weapons, and not impede the use of legally registered firearms. Over the past few years, insecurity has increased tremendously in this gigantic and important South American country, with the Brazilian drug traffickers increasing their power and establishing alliances with the Colombian FARC drug barons and guerillas, also encamping Korean and Nigerian drug traffickers who have started to enter large Brazilian cities, and often characterized by use of extreme cruelty. Brazilian prisons are now notorious as "crime headquarters" and "crime schools" which teaches inmates how organized crime works.
As if this wasn’t enough, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are now financing and defending criminals rights using overseas donations, giving them legal aid so that they can escape Justice and obtain the smallest possible punishment or shorter prison terms. It is well-known that Brazilian leftists, including the so-called Catholic Left, on mass, defend prohibition of legally registered firearms. The pro-Cuban movement of rural workers without land (MST), responsible for a good many farm invasions and violence in rural areas, also favors in the plebiscite the prohibition of sale of firearms and ammunition which, should it that position win, will make them feel as wolves in a hen-house.
4.Serious problems surrounding public security cannot be resolved with the disarmament of honest, law-abiding citizens. Nor must we forget that violence has deeper reasons, overall moral causes, i.e., religious crisis which affects society, family, public, educational, ecclesiastical institutions, etc. And they are more important than economic problems.
5.International statistics show that there is not a relationship between assassination indexes and residences which possess firearms. In Brazil there are 27 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants, and the percentage of residences with registered firearms is 3.5%. In the United States, for example, there are 6 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants (4.5 times less) and the percentage of households with firearms is 52% (14 times more). In Italy there are 2 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants (13 times less), and 17% with registered household firearms (4 times more). And likewise, one can detail these sort of figures in the same context and apply this to innumerous countries.
6.We hope that in Brazil, next 23rd. October, common sense will prevail and voters should remember that if firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens will become illegal, only outlaws will have firearms.
Destaque Internacional - Informes de Coyuntura - Año VII - No. 176 - Buenos Aires / Madrid - Septiembre 22, 2005 - Responsable: Javier González.-