Citation(s) from the literature library

Karp, Aaron. 2012 ‘Country Analyses: Brazil.’ Measurement and Use of Statistical Data to Analyze Small Arms in the Caribbean and Latin America; Section IV, pp. 17-18. Mexico City: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Center of Excellence, National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). 28 April

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There has been more research on small arms in Brazil than any other country in the region, except perhaps Colombia. Brazilian firearms data is complicated and ambiguous, though, prohibiting conclusive findings. The resulting doubt makes firearms distributions in well-studied Brazil only slightly less confusing than those of a much less carefully studied country like Mexico.

Efforts to understand the total number of civilian firearms in Brazil rest upon the highly influential work of Pablo Dreyfus and his collaborators. They found that there were 5,370,500 privately-owned guns registered in 2005. Dreyfus estimated the nation's unregistered firearms at 9,499,900.(23) A series of disarmament campaigns beginning in 1997 reduced these numbers. Even before the 2003 Disarmament Statute came into effect, approximately 1.3 million civilian firearms had been collected and destroyed. Under the new law, citizens were encouraged to turn in unwanted guns for destruction, a process that gathered another 570,000 for destruction.(24) Another success of the campaign was legalizing another 600,000 previously unregistered firearms.(25)

Four years after the disarmament campaign, in 2009, Brazil's private firearms registrations had risen to 7,312,227. This includes some 2 million additional guns registered 2006-2009. Complicating what looks like a straight-forward increase is the mixture of newly procured and older weapons shifted from illicit to legal, registered ownership. Most of the increase appears to be from previously unregistered firearms, since sales of new guns were tightly limited after 2003.(26) The country's total private firearms inventory presumably was not changing in size, instead guns were moving from one category to another.

Other sources see a growing private inventory. According to data from the Brazilian Army, the agency responsible for tracking firearms sales, gun sales dropped 89 percent from 2001 to 2004, due the Disarmament Statute. Beginning in 2005, though, sales of new guns grew 70 percent. Domestic sales grew from 68,000 new guns in 2005 to 116,900 in 2009 (27)…


23) Pablo Dreyfus, Benjamin Lessing, Marcelo de Sousa Nascimento, and Júlio Cesar Purcena, Small Arms in Brazil: Production, Trade, and Holdings. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, September 2010, pp. 102, 131-132.

24) "Brasil retiró 570.000 armas de fuego de circulación desde 2004," (Brazil withdrew 570,000 firearms from circulation since 2004) Agence France Presse, 1 November 2011.

25) Lis Horta Moriconi, "Campaigns for a Disarmed World," Comunidade Segura, 3 November 2010.

26) Daniel Mack and Heather Sutton, Implementação do Estatuto do Desarmamento: do papel para a prática, Instituto Sou da Paz: São Paulo, April 2010, pp. 13, 19.

27) Marina Lemle "The controversy around gun deaths in Brazil," Comunidad Segura, 15 September 2010.

ID: Q11607

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