Another Example of “…But Not THAT!“
Or, “The People Have Spoken, the Bastards.”
Reuters reports that Brazil’s referendum on banning gun sales has gone down in flaming defeat:
24 Oct 2005 00:31:51 GMT
(Updates vote count, adds interviews)
By Terry Wade and Todd Benson
SAO PAULO, Brazil, Oct 23 (Reuters) – From sprawling cities plagued by violence to the backwaters of the Amazon, Brazilians voted decisively on Sunday to keep gun sales legal in the country with the world’s highest death toll from firearms.
About 64 percent rejected banning arms sales in the nationwide referendum, the electoral court said, with more than 90 percent of the expected 122 million votes counted.
Only 36 percent supported the ban, even though some 36,000 people were killed by guns last year in Latin America’s largest country. Full results were expected on Monday.
“We didn’t lose because Brazilians like guns. We lost because people don’t have confidence in the government or the police,” said Denis Mizne of anti-violence group Sou da Paz.
Many voters had expressed concern before the vote that a ban would leave them defenseless against heavily armed criminals. Public confidence is low in a police force widely seen as inefficient, abusive and corrupt.
“This referendum … is not going to end violence,” said Assis Augusto Pires, 60, who voted against the ban in Sao Paulo’s wealthy Jardim Paulistano district, where high walls, electrified fences and private guards protect residents.
In Rio de Janeiro’s Rocinha shantytown, scene of a raging gangland turf war, Carlos Eduardo Ferreira, a 40-year-old electrician, said he was voting for the ban.
“I am for the ban; I am for life. I’ve already seen kids hit by bullets here,” he said.
Spotlighting the issue, a young girl was wounded by a stray bullet as police clashed with drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro’s Dende slum on Saturday night, police said.
In Minas Gerais state, a supporter of gun sales shot and wounded a ban backer during a bar argument on Friday.
The ban failed in all 26 states and the federal district of Brasilia. Rural areas rejected it overwhelmingly.
“This region is very isolated. If you don’t have a gun here you don’t have protection,” said Igor Dedea, a logger in the rainforest state of Para.
There’s more. Read the whole thing. The Brady Campaign and other gun
ban control safety organizations were hoping this law would pass so that Brazil could serve as a shining beacon of how gun ban control safety laws make societies safer. The ballot question read: “Should the sale of firearms and munitions be prohibited in Brazil?” Apparently the gun ban control safety organizations have conveniently forgotten about the UK, where the law regarding legal gun and ammunition possession is quite draconian, yet violent crime – including murder – has increased since the banning of full-auto weapons, semi-auto weapons, and finally all handguns.
I’d really like to read the entire content of this Financial Times piece from prior to the vote, but the opening paragraphs are just too rich to pass up:
As an exercise in participative democracy, it seems badly flawed. Brazilians will vote in a mandatory referendum tomorrow to decide the question, “Should the sale of firearms and ammunition be prohibited in Brazil?”
There should be little doubt about the answer. Gunshot wounds kill more than 107 Brazilians every day, more than traffic accidents and fewer only than heart and brain disorders.
“You shouldn’t dare ask the peons what they think! We, their betters, should dictate to them that only we should be allowed to have arms! (After all, it is through our leadership that they’ve gotten to this state!)”
A point I was previously unaware of, voting in Brazil is mandatory for those between the ages of 18 and 70. This isn’t a matter of a small turnout dominated by Brazilian equivalent of NRA members – it’s a poll of the opinion of the entire nation, and nearly two thirds understand that disarming the law-abiding won’t make the country safer.
This is yet another example of public reaction to misguided philosophies. Yes, I’m certain that Brazilians want their nation to be a safer place, but when presented with a law like this, their reaction, like the reaction of voters here in America is, understandably, “Not THAT!“
I wonder if my Brazilian commenter “Tupiniquim” is still reading TSM and what he thinks of the vote.