Here is something to think about: the number of deaths by firearms registered in Brazil over the last decade (a total of 325,551, or an average of 32,555 per year) is more than all the deaths in a total of 26 armed conflicts that took place around the world during that period.
That fact is in a new UNESCO study just released on “Deaths by Firearms in Brazil from 1979 to 2003.”
The study, which was coordinated by sociologist Julio Jacobo Waiselfisz, found that during the whole 24-year period surveyed a total of 550,000 people in Brazil were killed by firearms. During the period, firearms deaths rose over 460%, while the population grew 51.8%.
The study also showed a spike in deaths by firearms as a percentage of total deaths in Brazil.
In 1979, deaths by firearms were 1% of total deaths. By 2003, the percentage had risen to almost 4%.
There was also a sharp increase of over 540% in the use of firearms in murders and 75% in suicides.
The only bright spot in all this was a drop of 16% in deaths due to accidents with firearms.
The downside in all this is that a large percentage of those who die from firearms are young people in the 15 to 24 age group. In 1979, 7.9% of firearms deaths in Brazil were young people in the 15 to 24 year age group.
By 2003, that had risen to 34.4%, which means that one out of every three youths in this age group who die in Brazil die from gunshot wounds.
Firearms deaths have now risen to third place on the list of principal causes of death in Brazil, behind heart/circulatory diseases and cancer. That is for the whole population.
However, in the 15 to 24 age group, things are tragically different. Death by firearms is the principal cause of death, followed by traffic accidents.
ABr – www.radiobras.gov.br