By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The number of firearm registrations by individuals citizens in Brazil has increased over five times in the past ten years, according to data compiled by the Sou da Paz Institute. According to the Institute in the period from 2008 to 2017, the number of weapons registered jumped from 6,260 to 33,031.
“We believe that this is very much related to a sense of insecurity of people and a difficulty to see effective responses from the State, but mainly to the greater diffusion of a rather easy speech that is just to buy a weapon and all their problems will be solved,” says Sou da Paz Institute Project Coordinator, Natália Pollachi, told government news agency Agencia Brasil.
Pollachi argues that the ownership of a weapon does not decrease the chances of a person not being harmed or robbed. According to her, statistics show that, in general, people cannot react swiftly to prevent the assault or to shoot the assailant.
“The attempted reaction increases the gravity of the fact. What could be an armed robbery could become a homicide,” she says.
“The chances of a person will be able to react while armed is very small; it is much more likely that this weapon will end up being misused, in family quarrels, in accidents with children, in traffic arguments,” concludes Pollachi.
With more weapons on the streets, the higher the number of people killed by firearms.
A study released in June by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) and the Brazilian Forum of Public Security (FBSP) shows that between the beginning of the 1980s and 2016, the percentage of homicides in the country committed with firearms rose from 40 to 71 percent of the total.
“The criminal, when he sees an armed citizen, he may suspect that he is a police officer or he may suspect that he (citizen) will react, and immediately shoots,” concludes former São Paulo Military Police colonel, José Vicente da Silva Filho.