Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Brazil: Gun control referendum proposed

As we mentioned on Monday, last week’s deadly school shooting in Rio de Janeiro reignited the debate over gun control in Brazil. One measure being proposed being considered by the country’s legislature could be a throwback to a previous attempt at gun control:
Brazilian lawmakers say they will propose a national vote on whether to ban the sale of guns, after a deadly shooting at a school last week…

The bill would have to be approved by both the Senate and the House before going on the ballot.

The leader of Brazil's Senate, Jose Sarney, said any referendum would be held at the beginning of October - the earliest possible date for the bill to pass and the referendum to be called.

Brazil held a similar referendum in 2005 under former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, but 64% voted against a ban.

Meantime, a Brazilian TV network aired Tuesday night a video purportedly of gunman Wellington Oliveira taped two days before the shooting. The 58-second video recovered from his computer’s hard drive details his plans for the shooting and railed against the “cruel, cowardly people who take advantage of the kindness, the innocence, the weakness of people who are incapable of defending themselves".

Twelve children aged between 10 and 13 years were killed indiscriminately by Oliveira before he allegedly shot himself in the head. It’s unknown if the death toll will rise since four students are still hospitalized including a pair in critical condition.

Students at the Columbine High School in the U.S. were thirteen people died in a 1999 shooting have sent letters of solidarity to schoolchildren at the Tasso da Silveira school. "You are not alone. There are people who are praying for you,” read one note that was translated into Portuguese by a Brazilian student at Columbine according to

Image- Victor R. Caivano/AP via (“A man visits a makeshift memorial of twelve crosses representing each child killed the day before in a school shootout in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday, April 8.”)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, MSNBC, BBC News,

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