Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm proud of Brazil

Here is a brief news article about a national campaign to rid Brazil of deadly weaponry. It's not the first time the government has given incentives for citizens to retire their weapons - and to receive amnesty if you turn in your guns.

A couple years ago there was a federal referendum to make gun ownership illegal.  But, what do you know, the National Rifle Association from the USA swooped in and poured millions into the campaign against the initiative. The people voted it down.

But in the end - the attitude here is MILES away from the knee-jerk pro-gun attitude that seems so prevalent in the States. Still, we have a ways to go.  But it's great to see that so many people responded to the first wave of the campaign.


Brazil destroys 22,000 arms in major campaign

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian Justice Ministry said Monday it had successfully concluded the first phase of an ambitious nationwide disarmament campaign with the collection and destruction of over 22,200 firearms.

The ministry said in a statement that the number of weapons collected between May 6 and Sept. 9 was 20 times higher than that in the first four months of the year, prior to the start of the government's disarmament campaign.

The weapons collected by the Federal Police were 10,828 revolvers and 3,734 heavy firearms, including 302 rifles, 2,562 shotguns, 716 carbines and seven machine guns.

The government attributed the success of the campaign to the policy that allowed people to turn in arms anonymously.

"The anonymity made it possible for the owners of those weapons to deliver them without fear of punishment," Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo told a press conference.

In addition to offering owners of illegal weapons anonymity, the government also paid 100 to 300 reais (60 to 180 U.S. dollars) for each weapon delivered.

The Justice Ministry has spent two million reais (1.17 million U.S. dollars) so far in order to retract weapons from the public domain.

The state of Sao Paulo, which has been known for one of the highest per-capita murder rates in the world for years, topped the list by collecting 5,349 arms, followed by 2,641 weapons in Rio Grande do Sul, 2,602 in Rio de Janeiro, 1,776 in Pernambuco and 1,572 in Minas Gerais.

Over 570,000 weapons have been collected and destroyed by the Brazilian authorities between 2004 and 2008 through a number of programs, while another 500,000 were handed over since 2008 when the government started promoting disarmament more aggressively.

Cardozo said the main goal of the campaign was to "promote a culture of peace in Brazil."

The second phase of the campaign was launched Monday, with a new series of ads featured on television, radio, the Internet, newspapers and outdoor posters. This phase will last until Dec. 31, this year.


Anonymous said...

This is a subject that tortures me. I am not well-read (at all) on the subject of gun control and/or the history of gun ownership in the USA, but from what little I know, the "right to bear arms" is part of the Second Amendment that was influenced by the English Bill of Rights in 1689.

Yes, 1689.

The world is a totally different place now, and back in 1689 there were probably not many school shootings, incidents of road rage, etc. like we see today practically on a DAILY basis.

Guns are VEHEMENTLY protected in the USA mainly because the NRA is one of the most powerful SIGs, and they will likely never give up their position.

What torments me is how many more children, students, teachers and innocent bystanders have to die just because of an amendment that happened to be founded on a principle from 322 years ago.

Haven't times changed? Isn't it time to perhaps examine the original reason that private individuals were given the right to bear arms?

The Second Amendment states: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Are the current gun owners in the USA part of some militia that I'm not aware of? IMHO I think the original inspiration for gun ownership is far outdated by over 300 years, and we need to look at whether or not current gun ownership is a constructive addition to society.

Last I checked, dead children, students, teachers, bystanders (anyone!) were not the intended outcome 322 years ago.

On the other hand, I am fully aware that there are many folks in the USA that are responsible gun owners and would never do harm to another person. I'm not worried about them. What I'm concerned about are the few bad apples that make it rotten for the rest of the bunch.

Again, I may be misinformed, but aren't there plenty of laws in the USA that were created just to keep the bad apples in line?

So what's the conclusion...preserve the right for the public to bear arms (including the bad apples), or restrict/abolish the right for the public to bear arms (including the good apples)?


Jim said...

You go grrl! Say it!

Greg said...

Actually US Code Title 10, Sub A, Part 1, Chap. 13, Sec. 311 defines the US militia as any able-bodied male of 17-44 years of age who is a citizen of the US as well as female US citizens who are members of the National Guard.

The right to bear arms was critical to the formation of the US - that is why is is second only to the freedom of speech.

Thomas Jefferson as well as many other of the Founding Fathers realized that an armed populace prevented a tyrannical government - read the Federalist Papers sometime.

The British taking the arms of the colonists was one of the most egregious offenses of the time. First they would take your arms (2nd Amd.), leaving you unable to defend yourself when they then tell you not to speak your mind (1st Amd.) as they forced themselves into your house to live (3rd Amd.). Every single one of the first ten amendments were put in there for specific important reasons that are still valid today.

The NRA is a mere shadow as compared to the Founding Fathers who made this country. There is much wisdom in all of their provisions creating the US.

Jim said...

Thanks for posting, Greg.

All your rhetoric will never convince me. Tell your "logic" to the families of children killed while attending their school...

Guns don't kill people - people with guns kill people.

To me, the solution is not complicated.

I am proud of Brazil's initiative to reduce the number of arms in the populace.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Greg's comment highlights a good point...

"The British taking the arms of the colonists was one of the most egregious offenses of the time. First they would take your arms (2nd Amd.), leaving you unable to defend yourself when they then tell you not to speak your mind (1st Amd.) as they forced themselves into your house to live (3rd Amd.)."

This was wholeheartedly valid...but this was centuries ago during colonial times. The threat and fear of the British coming into my home in 2011 to take a gun (that I don't own) is effectively zero.

Now what I worry about in 2011 is an irresponsible and irrational armed person that assassinates my child while she is playing at school. Or shoots my husband in the head as he drives to work.

These are irreversible actions that extinguish life and are brought on by persons that should never have had the right to bear arms in the first place.

If we look at other industrialized, civilized, and "first world" (for lack of a better phrase) countries that do not support the right to bear arms, we could benefit greatly from their model. They're functioning and thriving perfectly fine without this right.

Just because we're the USA doesn't mean we always get it right.

When I lived in France and Italy, I NEVER worried about violence from arms. Pickpocketing, yes, but death by firearms, no.

I wholeheartedly agree that Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers had the right idea at the right time. But there's a time and a place for everything, and times have changed...markedly.

I highly doubt that Jefferson and his colleagues were taking into consideration school shootings, road rage, airplane hijackings, bank robberies, and all the other horrific and irreversible crimes that can be perpetrated on innocent people.