Brazil: "Brazilians set to vote on banning gun sales"


July 16, 2003, 03:18 PM
from the Financial Times set to vote on banning gun sales

By Raymond Colitt in São Paulo
Published: July 16 2003 18:58 | Last Updated: July 16 2003 18:58

Brazil's Congress is poised to tighten gun controls in an effort to cut one of the highest murder rates in the world.

The legislation, which could be passed as early as next week by a special bicameral committee, would introduce prison sentences for illegal gun ownership and prohibit bearing guns in public. It would call for a plebiscite, only the second under Brazil's 1988 constitution, on a complete ban of arms sales.

A wave of violence, much drug-related, has rattled Brazilian cities over the past year, triggering a wave of outrage among Brazilians.

In Rio de Janeiro, drug gangs regularly battle against each other, assault police and intimidate shop owners.

The murder rate in some state capitals exceeds 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, more than 20 times that in New York. In the 1990s, 267,000 Brazilians were killed by firearms.

Most crime experts agree easy access to firearms is largely to blame.

"The streets are awash with guns, there is a complete lack of control," said Antonio Rangel Bandeira, of VivaRio, a campaigning group against urban violence.

"There is a consensus that the situation is unsustainable," said Luiz Eduardo Greenhalgh, a senior committee member. "The indiscriminate use of firearms is a threat to Brazilian society."

Nearly 60 legislative gun control proposals have been sidetracked in Congress for years. Yet, under pressure from public opinion, the presidents of both houses of Congress have personally given the initiative new impetus. A recent opinion poll shows 63.6 per cent of Brazilians favour a ban on bearing guns.

Though current legislation requires firearms to be registered, in practice the law is not applied. Of an estimated 1.5m guns in São Paulo, only 1,180 are registered, says Mr Greenhalgh. According to one estimate, there are some 20m illegal guns in Brazil.

"We register cars more rigorously than guns," said Aloizio Mercadante, a Senator from the governing Workers' party. "We need to send a clear signal the Brazilian state will not tolerate that."

Grenades, automatic rifles and machine guns have been smuggled into the country from Paraguay and Argentina. These include weapons from the Argentine army, according to VivaRio. Yet studies of guns confiscated in Rio de Janeiro suggest the vast majority of them are manufactured in Brazil.

Taurus, the country's leading gun manufacturer, has lobbied strongly against gun controls and, say VivaRio and local press reports, has financed the campaigns of several congressmen.

Meanwhile, Brazil remains the second-largest supplier of handguns to the US, according to US import statistics cited by the congressional committee.

The bill in Congress proposes tougher criteria to register arms, including an increase of the minimum age from 18 to 25 years as well as medical exams. A congressional inquiry will also inspect state police to ensure enforcement.

© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2003

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July 16, 2003, 03:28 PM
Brazil offers a great example of what would happen to the US if the dreams of the antis became real. THere is already a near-total ban on firearms. They have passed law after law after law, and all they have accomplished is to create a world where lawful gun owners are forbidden to own anything this side of an antique levergun, while criminals can buy an AK-47 on any street corner. It's a nation gone mad. Apparently, they are idiotic enough to think that yet ANOTHER law is going to make a difference. They will end up drowning in their own blood.

July 16, 2003, 03:29 PM
Most crime experts agree easy access to firearms is largely to blame.
I sure am glad they're not blaming the shooters :rolleyes:

Henry Bowman
July 16, 2003, 03:55 PM
"The streets are awash with guns, there is a complete lack of control," said Antonio Rangel Bandeira, of VivaRio, a campaigning group against urban violence.
Awash? Sounds like what they need is training for the law abiding citizen so that they can cull the criminals a bit.

July 16, 2003, 04:17 PM
I find it of interest that a senior committee member favoring the ban has the last name of "Greenhalgh" (Luiz Eduardo). In the Washington D.C. area about 30 years ago we had a major gun grabber named William Greenhalgh (aka. Greenhog) who was Chairman of the Washington area Council of Governments. He was pushing to implement area wide gun control laws cross jurisdictions. He did not last very long in the Chairmanship, or in politics in general.

William Greenhalgh made the mistake of holding public hearings on more gun control laws in a large school auditorium. He was met with thousands of rowdy and hostile pro-gunners and he pretty much freaked out. The local Montgomery County LEs appeared to be freaking too when they found themselves in a very large place and thousands of gunners jeering, hooping and howlering. It was one rough neck looking crowd if ever I saw one. After that Greenhalgh tried holding secret hearings. That did not work either.

I wonder if the two Greenhalgh are related?

July 16, 2003, 04:54 PM

It is interesting that the CDC Study on firearms deaths in the world
mentions Brazil as the second country in firearms death rate.
Our country has one of the most rigid gun laws in the world. A true
Since 1936 all firearms must be registered. No handguns with
ammunition more powerfull than .38 Special (9mm Short for pistols)
are allowed for civilians. Rifles and carbines are only allowed if they
fire handgun ammunition (the only center fire rifle cartridge allowed
is the vintage .44-40 WCF).
No center fire semi-automatic long gun (rifled or smooth bore) is
permited. Black powder muzzle loading guns are considered
firearms like any other and subject to the same rules.
A Brazilian citizen must not have, at any given time, more than two
handguns, two rifled long guns and two shotguns. Only shooters or
collectors registered within the Brazilian Army may have more guns
than this figures.
Citizens are not allowed to buy more than one gun per year.
Reloading is permited only for shooters belonging to a shooting
club and reloadind supplies are strictly controlled by the Brazilian
Army. Only trough the club is possible to buy reloading supplies.
If one is caught with a gun without a permit, it doesn't matter if it
was being carried or just transported (a registered gun unloaded
and locked inside a box, for instance) - it is a crime and one can
face two years in jail for that (four years if it was a forbidden gun).
Permits for transportation must be obtained at the central police
office downtown and it usually takes a week to be ready.
Officialy carry permits do exist, but is very difficult to get one
(there is a black market for concealed carry licences).
Gun stores are not allowed to sell second hand firearms and taxes
on guns sales are the highest in the world (81%).
Waiting periods for registration average 30 days, but in Rio de
Janeiro state it could reach 3 month.
Obviously, all these controls have lead for a huge black market.
Brazil is one of the few places in the world where one can buy
an illegal handgun cheaper than in gun stores (about one third of
the price for a Brazilian made revolver).
In the neighboring countries there are gangs specialised in
smuggling guns through Brazilian borders. Brazilian drug gang
members carry AR15, M16, SIG 551, HKG3 and AK47 - they
have no problems in gettings these weapons. It is quite common
to see them using tracer bullets in their shootings (also
forbidden for Brazilian citizens).
If one still believes in gun control, Brazil's example is worth

Leonardo Arruda
Director of the
Brazilian Gun Collectors Assn. (ABCA)
Additional comment by Steve Kendrick of Cybershooters UK.

Interesting, huh? Note in a UN study Brazil was top of the list
for firearm-related deaths. I remember there are some exceptions
from the calibre limits for target shooters and a very small number
of people who need more powerful rifles for destruction of certain
animals. How many times do we have to say it?


If they were going to, they would have worked by now.

Standing Wolf
July 16, 2003, 08:42 PM
Most crime experts agree easy access to firearms is largely to blame.

With experts like that, Brazil sure doesn't need air-brained leftist extremists.

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