The strategy of Brazil’s Parliamentary Front for the Right to Self-Defense is to convince Brazilian voters that banning firearm sales will not alter the situation of violence that prevails in the country.
According to the president of the Front, Federal Deputy Alberto Fraga (PFL-Federal District), the weapons that feed organized crime are sold illegally – while the referendum addresses the population on the matter of legal sales of firearms.
“Eighty-seven percent of the weapons used in crimes are illegal. So why punish a well-meaning citizen who purchased an arm and left his ID number and his address? What is the government’s true intention? That’s what we want to discuss,” Fraga declared.
In the Deputy’s opinion, the only way to combat violence in Brazil is through government policies aimed at the arms that circulate on the black market. Fraga affirmed that only 1044 firearms were sold on the legal market in 2004.
“It is unreasonable to spend so much money on a referendum to prohibit the legal sale of a little more than a thousand arms. That’s stupidity, not to say incompetence,” he emphasized.
The president of the parliamentary front said that the Deputies and Senators who oppose the prohibition have still not organized direct actions for the referendum campaign.
According to Fraga, they have not ruled out the possibility of raising funds from firearm and ammunition manufacturers.
“We are speaking to the arms companies. I’m not going to spend a cent of the little I possess, nor will any other legislator. The ones who have to do something are the Brazilian arms companies, to save their jobs and their businesses.”
Fraga recognized that the lawmakers who oppose the referendum will have less to spend on the campaign than the Parliamentary Front for a Brazil without Firearms, which intends to raise money through donations.
“If we try to compete financially, it’s obvious that’s impossible. We will seek equal airtime,” he pointed out.
Given the lack of funds, one of the group’s strategies for the campaign is to present statistics and balance sheets on violence prepared by state public safety departments.
“We shall limit ourselves to enlightened public opinion, which will be able to express itself on this issue in a conscientious way,” he said.
The Parliamentary Front for the Right of Self-Defense is presided by Alberto Fraga and composed of Senator Juvêncio da Fonseca (PDT-Mato Grosso do Sul) and the following Federal Deputies: Luiz Antonio Fleury (PTB-São Paulo), Abelardo Lupion (PFL-Paraná), Onyx Lorenzoni (PFL-Rio Grande do Sul), Coronel Alves (PL-Amapá), Corporal Júlio (PMDB-Minas Gerais), Josias Quintal (PMDB-Rio de Janeiro), and Pompeu de Mattos (PDT-Rio Grande do Sul).
The front will also have, as regional coordinators, Deputies Capitan Wayne (PSDB-Goiás), in the Center-West; Josué Bengtson (PTB-Pará), in the North; Inaldo Leitão (PL-Paraíba), in the Northeast; Jair Bolsonaro (PP-Rio de Janeiro), in the Southeast; and Enio Bacci (PDT-Rio Grande do Sul), in the South.