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Gun Policy, Violence, and Peace: Examining the Challenges Faced by Civil Society and the State in Brazil

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Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)

Abstract

This chapter analyses the following question: how can civil society and the state promote peace through gun policy? We first provide an overview of armed violence in Brazil using an epidemiological approach, illustrating how this phenomenon is distributed unequally among different social groups and highlighting the primary role that firearms have in the dynamics of violence. Second, we discuss the growing role of scientific evidence as a basis for policy formulation at the national and international levels with reference to firearms. Third, we describe the emergence and results of a specific public policy aimed to reduce violence and promote peace: the 2003 Disarmament Statute. Furthermore, we develop a critical analysis of the major resistances Brazilian civil society and the state are encountering with regard to this policy: pro-gun interests, deregulation, and corruption. We question whether these actors are promoting or, in fact, simply obstructing peace. Finally, we present strategies for peace promotion through gun control policy and conclude the chapter by evaluating the plausibility, in the Brazilian context, of the well-known claim: “more guns, less peace”.

Research leading to this publication has received funding through research grants from the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development—CNPq (Bolsa de Produtividade Nível 2)— and the Rio de Janeiro State Research Foundation—FAPERJ (Cientista do Nosso Estado). It was further financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—Brasil (CAPES)—Finance Code 001.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Daniel Cerqueira et al., “Atlas da Violência 2020,” Brasília; Rio de Janeiro; São Paulo: Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada; Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública, 13, https://www.ipea.gov.br/portal/index.php?option=com_content&id=36488.

  2. 2.

    Julio Jacobo Waiselfisz, “Homicides of children and adolescents in Brazil,” Igarapé Institute, 1, https://igarape.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/2017-12-04-Homicide-Dispatch_4_EN.pdf.

  3. 3.

    André Duffles Teixeira Aranega, “Prisioneiros da Oportunidade: Estado, Crime Organizado Transnacional (COT) e o Brasil na geopolítica criminal do tráfico de armas de fogo” (Undergraduate thesis, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, 2020), 73.

  4. 4.

    Marcos S. V. Ferreira, “Peace and Conflict in Brazil,” in The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Studies, ed. Oliver P. Richmond and Gëzim Visoka (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), 1.

  5. 5.

    Lilia Moritz Schwarcz, and Heloisa Maria Murgel Starling. Brasil: uma biografia (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2015), 15.

  6. 6.

    Ferreira (2020), op. cit. 1.

  7. 7.

    Daniel Cerqueira et al., “Atlas da Violência 2019,” Brasília; Rio de Janeiro; São Paulo: Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada; Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública, 5–6, https://www.ipea.gov.br/portal/index.php?option=com_content&id=34784.

  8. 8.

    Waiselfisz, op. cit. 2.

  9. 9.

    Cerqueira et al. (2019), op. cit. 27.

  10. 10.

    Cerqueira et al. (2019), op. cit. 71–73.

  11. 11.

    Cerqueira et al. (2020), op. cit. 47.

  12. 12.

    Cerqueira et al. (2019), op. cit. 56–68, Cerqueira et al. (2020), op. cit. 54–66.

  13. 13.

    Cerqueira et al. (2019), op. cit. 35–48; Cerqueira et al. (2020), op. cit. 34–47.

  14. 14.

    Bruna G. Benevides and Sayonara Naider Bonfim Nogueira, “Dossiê dos assassinatos e da violência contra travestis e transexuais brasileiras em 2020,” São Paulo: Associação Nacional de Travestis e Transsexuais, 7–59, https://antrabrasil.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/dossie-trans-2021-29jan2021.pdf.

  15. 15.

    Cerqueira et al. (2020), op. cit.

  16. 16.

    Ibid., 37.

  17. 17.

    Luciana Phebo, “The Impact of Firearms on Public Health in Brazil,” In Brazil, the arms and the victims, ed. Rubem César Fernandes (Rio de Janeiro: Viva Rio/ISER, 2005), 28.

  18. 18.

    Cerqueira et al. (2019), op. cit. 81.

  19. 19.

    Cerqueira et al. (2019), op. cit. 16.

  20. 20.

    Cerqueira et al. (2019), op. cit. 76.

  21. 21.

    Daniel Cerqueira, “Causas e Consequências do Crime no Brasil” (PhD diss., Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, 2014), 92–114. Lois K. Lee et al., “Firearm Laws and Firearm Homicides: A Systematic Review,” JAMA Internal Medicine 177, no. 1 (January 2017): 106–19. Julian Santaella-Tenorio et al., “What Do We Know About the Association Between Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Injuries?” Epidemiologic Reviews 38, no. 1 (January 1, 2016): 140–57.

  22. 22.

    Daniel Cerqueira and João M.P. Mello. “Menos Armas, Menos Crimes,” Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada, 11. http://www.ipea.gov.br/portal/index.php?option=com_content&id=15101.

  23. 23.

    John R. Lott and David B. Mustard. “Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns,” The Journal of Legal Studies 26, no. 1 (January 1997): 1–68.

  24. 24.

    Abhay Aneja, John J. Donohue, and Alexandria Zhang, “The Impact of Right to Carry Laws and the NRC Report: The Latest Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy,” American Law and Economic Review 13, no. 2 (October 2011): 565–631. John J. Donohue, Abhay Aneja, and Kyle D. Weber, “Right-to-Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State-Level Synthetic Control Analysis,” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 16, no. 2 (May 15, 2019): 198–247.

  25. 25.

    Donohue, Aneja, and Weber, op. cit. 240.

  26. 26.

    Thomas V. Conti, “Dossiê Armas, Crimes e Violência: o Que Nos Dizem 61 Pesquisas Recentes,” Thomas V. Conti, http://thomasvconti.com.br/2017/dossie-armas-violencia-e-crimes-o-que-nos-dizem-61-pesquisas-recentes/.

  27. 27.

    Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig, “The Effects of Gun Prevalence on Burglary: Deterrence vs Inducement,” NBER Working Paper, no. 8926 (May 2002).

  28. 28.

    Arthur L. Kellermann et al., “Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home,” New England Journal of Medicine 329, no. 15 (October 7, 1993): 1084–91.

  29. 29.

    Jacquelyn C. Campbell et al., “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From a Multisite Case Control Study,” American Journal of Public Health 93, no. 7 (July 2003): 1089–97.

  30. 30.

    Matthew Miller et al., “Firearms and Suicide in the United States: Is Risk Independent of Underlying Suicidal Behavior?,” American Journal of Epidemiology 178, no. 6 (September 15, 2013): 946–55.

  31. 31.

    David Grossman et al., “Gun Storage Practices and Risk of Youth Suicide and Unintentional Firearm Injuries,” Jama 293, no. 6 (February 9, 2005): 707–14.

  32. 32.

    Cerqueira et al. (2019), op. cit. 81.

  33. 33.

    Daniel Webster, Jon S. Vernick, and Maria T. Bulzacchelli, “Effects of state-level firearm seller accountability policies on firearm trafficking,” Journal of Urban Health 86 (May 29, 2009): 525–37.

  34. 34.

    David Lester, “Crime as Opportunity: A Test of the Hypothesis with European Homicide Rates.” The British Journal of Criminology 31, no. 2 (Spring, 1991): 186–88.

  35. 35.

    Martin Killias, “International correlations between gun ownership and rates of homicide and suicide,” Canadian Medical Association Journal 148, no. 10 (May 15, 1993): 1721–25

  36. 36.

    Peter Batchelor and Kai Michael Kenkel, “Introduction: the past, present and future of the small arms policy-research nexus,” In Controlling Small Arms: Consolidation, Innovation and Relevance in Research Policy, ed. Peter Batchelor and Kai Michael Kenkel (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014b), 1–12.

  37. 37.

    Ibid., 2.

  38. 38.

    Edward J. Laurance, “The Small Arms Problem as Arms Control: a policy-driven research agenda,” In Controlling Small Arms: Consolidation, Innovation and Relevance in Research and Policy, ed. Peter Batchelor and Kai Michael Kenkel (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014), 13–36.

  39. 39.

    Michael Klare, “Light Weapons Diffusion and Global Violence in the Post-cold War Era,” In Light Weapons and International Security, ed. Jasjit Singh (New Delhi: Indian Pugwash Society and the British American Security Council, 1995), 40. Peter Lock, “Armed Conflicts and Small Arms Proliferation: Refocusing the Research Agenda.” Policy Sciences 30, no. 3 (August 1997): 117–132.

  40. 40.

    United Nations. “The Arms Trade Treaty.” United Nations, June 3, 2013. https://thearmstradetreaty.org/hyper-images/file/ATT_English/ATT_English.pdf?templateId=137253.

  41. 41.

    The breadth and depth of this agenda, as well as its history, can be taken from the contributions to Controlling Small Arms: Consolidation, Innovation and Relevance in Research and Policy, ed. Peter Batchelor and Kai Michael Kenkel (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014a).

  42. 42.

    Carolina Iootthy, “Small Arms Control Legislation in Brazil: from Vargas to Lula,” In Brazil, the arms and the victims, ed. Rubem César Fernandes (Rio de Janeiro: Viva Rio/ISER, 2005), 37.

  43. 43.

    Nicolas Florquin, Elodie Hainard, and Benjamin Jongleux, “Trade Update 2020: An Eye on Ammunition Transfers to Africa.” Small Arms Survey, 20, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/S-Trade-Update/SAS-Trade-Update-2020.pdf.

  44. 44.

    Pablo Dreyfus, Benjamin Lessing, and Jorge César Pursena, “The Brazilian Small Arms Industry: Legal Production and Trade,” In Brazil, the arms and the victims, ed. Rubem César Fernandes (Rio de Janeiro: Viva Rio/ISER, 2005), 65.

  45. 45.

    Peter Lucas, “Disarming Brazil: Lessons and Challenges”, NACLA Report on the Americas (New York: NACLA, 2008), 27, https://doi.org/10.1080/10714839.2008.11725399.

  46. 46.

    Adèle Kirsten, “The Role of Social Movements in Gun Control: An International Comparison between South Africa, Brazil, and Australia,” Centre for Civil Society, Research Report (Durban: University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2004), 13.

  47. 47.

    Roxana P. Cavalcanti, “Armed Violence and the Politics of Gun Control in Brazil: An Analysis of the 2005 Referendum,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 36, no. 1 (January 2017): 39.

  48. 48.

    Kirsten (2004), op. cit. 13.

  49. 49.

    Lucas, op. cit. 27. Cavalcanti, op. cit. 4.

  50. 50.

    Lucas, op. cit. 28. Cavalcanti, op. cit. 39.

  51. 51.

    Viva Rio. “Mural da Dor.” Viva Rio, http://vivario.org.br/mural-da-dor/.

  52. 52.

    Agencia Estado, “Campanha pelo desarmamento convoca mulheres.” Estadão, https://brasil.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,campanha-pelo-desarmamento-convoca-mulheres,20010513p18840.

  53. 53.

    Lucas op. cit. 30.

  54. 54.

    For a complete discussion on this matter, see Iootthy (2005).

  55. 55.

    Brasil. “Lei n° 10.826, de 23 de dezembro de 2003. Dispõe sobre o Estatuto do Desarmamento.” planalto.gov.br, http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/LEIS/2003/L10.826.htm.

  56. 56.

    Iootthy, op. cit. 59.

  57. 57.

    Brasil, op. cit.

  58. 58.

    Ibid.

  59. 59.

    Aline Ribeiro and Filipe Vidon, “Política belicista: armamento em poder de civis ultrapassa 1 milhão,” O Globo, https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/politica-belicista-armamento-em-poder-de-civis-ultrapassa-1-milhao-24862673.

  60. 60.

    Ilona Szabó de Carvalho and Melina Risso. Segurança pública Para Virar o Jogo (Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2018), 101.

  61. 61.

    Ibid., 102.

  62. 62.

    Ibid.

  63. 63.

    Lucas, op. cit. 30.

  64. 64.

    Cavalcanti, op. cit. 37–47

  65. 65.

    Lucas, op. cit. 30.

  66. 66.

    Cavalcanti, op. cit. 5.

  67. 67.

    Pablo Dreyfus and Antônio Rangel Bandeira. “Vecindario Bajo Observación: Un Estudio Sobre Las ‘Transferencias Grises’ de Armas de Fuego y Municiones en Las Fronteras de Brasil con Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay y Argentina.” Political Database of the Americas, http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Security/citizensecurity/paraguay/documentos/vivario.pdf. Pablo Dreyfus, “Crime and Ammunition Procurement: The Case of Brazil,” In Targeting Ammunition: A Primer, ed. Stéphanie Pézard and Holger Anders (Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2006), 173–203. Pablo Dreyfus et al., “Small Arms in Rio de Janeiro: The Gun, the Buyback, and the Victims,” Small Arms Survey, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/C-Special-reports/SAS-SR09-Rio.pdf.

  68. 68.

    Lucas., 28–30.

  69. 69.

    Ibid., 28

  70. 70.

    Antônio Rangel Bandeira. Armas Para quê? O uso de armas de fogo por civis no Brasil e no mundo, e o que isso tem a ver com segurança pública e privada (São Paulo: Leya, 2019), 169–170.

  71. 71.

    Daniel Cerqueira and João M. P. Mello, “Evaluating a National Anti-Firearm Law and Estimating the Causal Effect of Guns on Crime”, 23, Departamento de Economia PUC-Rio, http://www.econ.puc-rio.br/uploads/adm/trabalhos/files/td607.pdf.

  72. 72.

    Cerqueira et al. (2020), op. cit. 75.

  73. 73.

    Ibid., 76.

  74. 74.

    Deborah Carvalho Malta et al., “Association between firearms and mortality in Brazil, 1990–2017: a global burden of disease Brazil study,” Population Health Metrics 18, no. 19 (September 30, 2020): 140–57.

  75. 75.

    Iootthy, op. cit. 55.

  76. 76.

    Dreyfus, Lessing, and Pursena, op. cit. 92.

  77. 77.

    Fiona Macaulay, “Bancada da Bala: The Growing Influence of the Security Sector in Brazilian Politics,” In In Spite of You: Bolsonaro and the New Brazilian Resistance, ed. Conor Foley (New York: OR Books, 2019), 56–70.

  78. 78.

    Ibid., 56

  79. 79.

    Aline Ribeiro and Filipe Vidon, op. cit.

  80. 80.

    Cerqueira et al. (2020), op. cit. 12.

  81. 81.

    O Globo, “Decreto das armas: saiba o que está em vigor com os novos decretos editados por Bolsonaro,” O Globo, https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/decreto-das-armas-saiba-que-esta-em-vigor-com-os-novos-decretos-editados-por-bolsonaro-23765087.

  82. 82.

    Ibid. Among them, elected politicians, lawyers, street guards, truckers, and journalists.

  83. 83.

    Gustavo Schmitt, “Justiça Federal de SP suspende portaria do governo federal que aumenta limite de compra de munição,” O Globo, https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/justica-federal-de-sp-suspende-portaria-do-governo-federal-que-aumenta-limite-de-compra-de-municao-24474920.

  84. 84.

    Ibid.

  85. 85.

    Juliana Castro et al., “Número de novas armas nas mãos de cidadãos comuns cresce 601% em dez anos,” O Globo, https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/numero-de-novas-armas-nas-maos-de-cidadaos-comuns-cresce-601-em-dez-anos-1-24540996.

  86. 86.

    Gustavo Schmitt, op. cit.

  87. 87.

    UOL, ““Fachin suspende isenção de imposto para importação de revólveres e pistolas.” UOL, https://economia.uol.com.br/noticias/redacao/2020/12/14/fachin-suspende-isencao-de-imposto-para-importacao-de-revolveres-e-pistolas.htm.

  88. 88.

    Janaína Figueiredo, “‘Ganham os grupos de apoio e o crime organizado’ com imposto zerado para armas importadas, afirma Ilona Szabó,” O Globo, https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/ganham-os-grupos-de-apoio-o-crime-organizado-com-imposto-zerado-para-armas-importadas-afirma-ilona-szabo-1-24791892.

  89. 89.

    Pieter D. Wezeman et al. “Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2019.” Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 10, https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/fs_2003_at_2019_0.pdf.

  90. 90.

    Arthur Cagliari, “Importação brasileira de revólver e pistola tem alta de 94% e bate recorde em 2020.” Folha de S.Paulo, https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/cotidiano/2021/02/importacao-brasileira-de-revolver-e-pistola-tem-alta-de-94-e-bate-recorde-em-2020.shtml.

  91. 91.

    Aline Ribeiro and Filipe Vidon, op. cit.

  92. 92.

    Mariana Schreiber, “Com acesso facilitado, Brasil fecha 2020 com recorde de 180 mil novas armas de fogo registradas na PF, um aumento de 91%,” BBC News Brasil, https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/brasil-55590649.

  93. 93.

    Ibid.

  94. 94.

    Aline Ribeiro and Filipe Vidon op. cit.

  95. 95.

    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “Country Fact Sheets: Summary Data from Country Responses on Firearms Seizures and Trafficking.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 7, https://www.unodc.org/documents/firearms-protocol/Country_Factsheet_WEB.pdf.

  96. 96.

    Marcos S. V. Ferreira, “Transnational Organized Crime and Structural Violence in Brazil.” In Post-Conflict Security, Peace and Development: Perspectives from Africa, Latin America, Europe and New Zealand, ed. Christine Atieno and Colin Robinson (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2019), 43.

  97. 97.

    Pablo Dreyfus and Nicholas Marsh, “Tracking the Guns: International Diversion of Small Arms to Illicit Markets in Rio de Janeiro,” PRIO, 87–88, https://www.prio.org/Publications/Publication/?x=301.

  98. 98.

    Dreyfus and Marsh, op. cit. 87. James Bevan and Pablo Dreyfus, “Enemy Within: Ammunition Diversion in Uganda and Brazil,” In Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City, ed. Small Arms Survey (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 301–311.

  99. 99.

    Ferreira (2019), op. cit., 45.

  100. 100.

    Mario Hugo Monken, “Milícia vende arma e droga no Rio, aponta inquérito,” Folha de S.Paulo, https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/cotidiano/ult95u132780.shtml. Antônio Werneck, Daniel Brunet, and Ruben Berta, “Milicianos usam a mesma rede de fornecimento de armas que alimenta o tráfico,” O Globo, https://oglobo.globo.com/rio/milicianos-usam-mesma-rede-de-fornecimento-de-armas-que-alimenta-trafico-2941761. Rede Brasil Atual, “Desvio de armas para milícias põe em xeque política de segurança no RJ,” Rede Brasil Atual, https://www.redebrasilatual.com.br/cidadania/2011/02/desvio-de-armas-para-milicias-poe-em-xeque-politica-de-seguranca-no-rj/.

  101. 101.

    Rio de Janeiro. “Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito Resolução N° 19/2011.” Marcelo Freixo, 253–254, https://www.marcelofreixo.com.br/cpi-das-armas.

  102. 102.

    Ibid., 94.

  103. 103.

    Patrik Camporez, “Armas desviadas de quartéis abastecem facções, clubes de tiro e milícias.” Estadão, https://politica.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,armas-de-quarteis-abastecem-faccoes,70003298076.

  104. 104.

    Dreyfus, Lessing, and Pursena, op. cit. 64. Dreyfus and Marsh, op. cit. 24. Bruno Langeani, Marcello Fragano, and Melina Risso, “De Onde Vêm as Armas do Crime: análise do universo de armas apreendidas em 2011 e 2012 em São Paulo,” Instituto Sou da Paz, 10–32, http://londrinapazeando.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/SOU_DA_PAZ_de_onde_vem_as_armas_do_crime_2013.pdf. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, op. cit. 4. Bruno Langeani and Natália Pollachi, “De Onde Vêm as Armas do Crime Apreendidas no Sudeste?: análise do perfil das armas de fogo apreendidas em 2014,” Instituto Sou da Paz, 22, http://www.mpsp.mp.br/portal/page/portal/Criminal/Material_coordenacao/Noticias/pesquisa_an_lise_de_armas_do_sudeste_online_1.pdf.

  105. 105.

    Michael Jerome Wolff, “Organized Crime and the State in Brazil,” In The Criminalization of States: The Relationship between States and Organized Crime, ed. Jonathan D. Rosen, Bruce Michael. Bagley, and Jorge Chabat (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2019), 323.

  106. 106.

    See Aranega (2020).

  107. 107.

    John S. Vernick, and Daniel W. Webster. “Policies to Prevent Firearm Trafficking,” Injury Prevention 13, no. 2 (April 2007): 78.

  108. 108.

    Jeremy Haken, “Transnational Crime and the Developing World,” Global Financial Integrity, 26, http://www.gfintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Transnational_Crime-final.pdf.

  109. 109.

    Aranega, op. cit. 75.

  110. 110.

    Cerqueira et al. (2020), op. cit. 13.

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Aranega, A.D.T., Kenkel, K.M. (2022). Gun Policy, Violence, and Peace: Examining the Challenges Faced by Civil Society and the State in Brazil. In: Ferreira, M.A. (eds) Peace and Violence in Brazil. Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-79209-1_8

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