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Brazzil - Guns - August 2003
 

Disarming Brazil

Nine out of 10 homicides in Brazil are committed by handguns,
and contrary to what many people think, a majority of these
crimes in the city of São Paulo are committed by people without
criminal records. Almost 60 percent of the victims die for futile
motives such as arguments on buses and disputes in bars.

Sejup

On July 23, the Brazilian Senate approved a project that prohibits gun licenses except for members of the armed forces, civil, military and federal police, municipal guards of cities with a population of more than 500,000 inhabitants, and for prison and security guards in the line of duty.

Ordinary citizens can own firearms if they are acquired from and registered with the National System of Arms (SINARM) of the Justice Ministry and only if the owners fulfill specific requirements related to purpose, age, technical capacity and psychological health. The minimum age to buy a gun was raised to 25 (it previously was 21 years of age). Under no circumstance may the firearm leave the residence of the legal owner. All current gun owners must re-register with SINARM within 90 days.

These restrictions on the sale and license of handguns will be voted upon by the population at a referendum to be held in October 2005. The project stipulates that the fabrication of firearms and ammunition will be permitted only for export or to supply official security and business institutions. An amendment to the project indicates that interstate bus companies must use metal detectors in bus stations and in their vehicles.

The project includes penalties for non-compliance that include:

1. One to three years in prison and a fine for owning or maintaining a handgun or ammunition without legal authorization, for permitting a minor under 18 years of age to handle a gun, to make or carry toys that can be confused with a firearm, or to not report a robbery of an authorized firearm.

2. Two to four years in prison and a fine for carrying, fabricating, buying, selling, renting, and borrowing a firearm in an illegal manner.

3. Three to six years in prison and a fine for owning, fabricating, buying, selling, and transporting firearms or ammunition. The same penalty applies to anyone who modifies firearms or fabricates and carries explosive or inflammatory materials.

4. Four to eight years in prison and a fine for importing, exporting, or bringing firearms illegally into or taking them out of the country.

According to Denise Mizne, director of an NGO, Sou da Paz (I Am for Peace), 9 out of 10 homicides in Brazil are committed by handguns, and contrary to what many people think, a majority of these crimes in the city of São Paulo are committed by people without criminal records. Almost 60 percent of the victims die for futile motives such as arguments on buses and disputes in bars.

On the International Day of Disarmament (July 9) a thousand pairs of shoes with victims names were displayed in homage to homicide victims of handguns in São Paulo. A silent procession in the center of the city organized by Sou da Paz mobilized the population. Ediogenes Aragão Santos, whose son Manuel was assassinated with a fire gun in February, stated that he hoped that others would become conscious of the need to disarm. "Disarmament is the primary prevention. Violence ends, many times, in criminality because people have handguns close by".

Source: NGO Sou da Paz

 

This material was distributed by News from Brazil, a service from Sejup (Serviço Brasileiro de Justiça e Paz—Brazilian Service of Justice and Peace). To get in touch with them, send a message to sejup1@alternex.com.br

 









 
 
 







 



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