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.

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