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Brazilians possesses 7.6 million illegal guns: study

12-21-2010 11:37 BJT

BRASILIA, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Brazilians currently own 14 million guns, 7.6 million of which are illegal, a study presented here Monday by Justice Minister Luiz Paulo Barreto said.

Brazil currently suffers the largest number of gun homicides in the world.

The study "Map of Illicit Arms Trafficking in Brazil" was conducted in partnership with Viva Rio, a Rio de Janeiro-based civil organization which aims to reduce armed violence in the country. It also identified 140 entry points for weapons on Brazilian borders.

"But the number of guns entering from land borders is negligible compared to the number of guns manufactured in the country, bought legally, but which then end up in the illegal market," Antonio Rangel Bandeira, lead researcher for Viva Rio, said.

Rangel said one of the causes for the rampant spread of arms in illegal markets is that Brazilian policemen, firefighters and military personnel are allowed to acquire three guns annually at factory price. However, they often end up reselling those arms to supplement their income.

"Either because their income is low, or for any other reason, many policemen and military personnel resell these weapons illegally and make this a business," he said.

Barreto said the matter will be reviewed by the National Secretariat of Public Security.

The justice minister also said Brazil should continue its disarmament campaign, which has encouraged people to return illegal weapons without asking questions where they came from.

Brazil launched disarmament campaigns in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009, collecting half a million weapons. They were subsequently destroyed by the army.

In December 2003, the Brazilian Congress passed a law to make it illegal for most civilians to carry firearms. According to Brazil's Justice Ministry, gun deaths fell 11 percent in the country between 2003 and 2009, a success attributed to the disarmament campaigns.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: Xinhua

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