Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library

Shelley de Botton. 2006 ‘Handmade Guns: Weapons Seizures Point to Growing Trend in Brazil.’ Handmade Guns in Brazil - Interview with Pablo Dreyfus. Brasilia: Comunidad Segura. 28 September

Relevant contents

Both specialists and authorities are worried after the Federal Police of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo recently seized handmade guns and arrested gun suppliers who work out of their homes. For Pablo Dreyfus, coordinator of Arms Control Research, part of the NGO Viva Rio, the phenomenon is worrying, and could indicate a trend.

According to Dreyfus, Brazil does not have much of a history of illegal arms production, since its well developed armaments industry produces factory-made firearms to be sold at affordable prices. One possible explanation for this appearance of home-made weapons, according to Pablo Dreyfus, is that the application of Brazil's Disarmament Statute rendered guns more scarce on the formal Brazilian market. "It made guns so expensive that it is cheaper for criminals to make their own."

Have handmade guns always been around, or is this a new cottage industry in Brazil?

Illegal arms factories are relatively new in Brazil. These new illegal weapons come out of two main types of producers: The first includes homemade or hand crafted weapons. A homemade gun looks rustic, it is made with rudimentary materials under a coarse production process. Other weapons are more sophisticated, they show signs of the industrial process, created with industrial caliber machines, know-how, technical knowledge, and professional expertise. In Brazil, homemade guns were always limited to rural areas with hunters who made single shot rifles. These weapons are not being used by urban criminals…

To what do you attribute the cottage arms industry in Brazil?

It could be a sign of various things. One is the shutting down of the black market in Paraguay now that the authorities are using new controls to crack down on guns circulating in the country. The creation of Arms and Munitions Police Stations (Delegacias de Repressão de Armas e Munição, DRAE) under the Federal Police and the Federal Police's work could also be limiting access to automatic weapons. As a result gun prices go up, and it ends up being cheaper for criminals to make their own weapons…

Do you think this kind of activity is on the rise?

The illegal arms industry could expand in the future because the Disarmament Statute is reducing the amount of weapons available in the legal market. The diversion of apprehended weapons is smaller since all weapons seized by the police have to be destroyed within 48 hours. This leads us to believe that the illegal cottage industry of weapons could become a trend in Brazil…

ID: Q11825

As many publishers change their links and archive their pages, the full-text version of this article may no longer be available from the original link. In this case, please go to the publisher's web site or use a search engine.