Brazilian firearms and ammunition referendum, 2005
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On October 23, 2005, Brazil held a country-wide referendum on article 35 of the Disarmament Statute to determine whether to approve or disapprove the article, which states in full, "The sale of firearms and ammunition is prohibited in the entire national territory, except to those entities provided in article 6 of this Law." ("Art. 35. É proibida a comercialização de arma de fogo e munição em todo o território nacional, salvo para as entidades previstas no art. 6o desta Lei.") The referendum failed by nearly ⅔ and that part of the statute was not enacted.
The referendum and its date had been provided by the Disarmament Statute itself (art. 35, §1o). During the drafting and development of the law, it had been decided that article 35 should be submitted to a referendum because of the importance of its subject. On July 7, 2005, the Federal Senate of Brazil promulgated legislative decree 780, which authorized the referendum. Article 2 of its decree stipulated that the public consultation should employ the following question: "Should commerce in firearms and ammunition be prohibited in Brazil?" ("O comércio de armas de fogo e munição deve ser proibido no Brasil?") Voters could choose to answer this question "yes" or "no", to leave the ballot blank, and to invalidate their previous votes.
Among the world's countries, Brazil has the second largest number of people murdered annually by firearms, second to Venezuela; each year about 39,000 people in Brazil are shot to death. However, worldwide statistics do not show unambiguously whether this number would be reduced by the prohibition of the sale of firearms and ammunition.
Voting was obligatory for those over 18 and optional for those voters between 16 and 18 or over 70. Voters were required to vote within their districts, unlike the 1993 referendum. Voters who were outside their district on the day of the referendum were to justify themselves with a Petition for Electoral Justification and to submit it at their nearest polling station. Citizens abroad were not allowed to vote. Violators would be assessed a fine of about R$4.00).
The usual prohibition of campaigning on the day of the election was in effect.
The final electoral results were roughly as projected by surveys conducted by principal Brazilian research institutions in the week before the referendum. The Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics predicted a victory for "No" with 55% of the vote, and Datafolha projected that the result would be 57% to "No". Both surveys had a margin of error of 2%.
|No: 59,109,265 (63.94%)||Yes: 33,333,045 (36.06%)|
Finances of the campaigns
After the referendum, the blog of a journalist at the Folha de S. Paulo revealed the main financial contributors to the two sides of the campaign:
- "No" received most donations from Taurus (R$2.4 million) and the Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos (Brazilian Cartridge Company) (R$2.6 million), manufacturers of guns and ammunition, respectively.
- The "no" campaign remained financially solvent, spending only what it received in donations.
- "Yes" had as its main contributors the beverage company Ambev (around R$400,000), the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (R$100,000), and the Prestadora de Serviços Estruturar (R$400,000), with a total of R$2.4 million in donations.
- The "yes" campaign had a deficit of R$320,000.
- This article is based on material translated from the corresponding article in the Portuguese Wikipedia: pt:Referendo sobre a proibição da comercialização de armas de fogo e munições.
- Information (in Portuguese)
- Resultado Oficial
- Instruções e Resoluções do TSE
- Tire suas dúvidas sobre o Estatuto do Desarmamento
- Referendo Sobre o Desarmamento
- Comunicação do Senado
- Pesquisa do Datafolha
- Lei que regulamenta a execução dos meios de soberania popular previstos no artigo 14 da Constituição Federal
- Opinions against the referendum (in Portuguese)
- PSTU - Vote Não! Pelo direito à autodefesa dos trabalhadores!
- Referendo da Fumaça, Revista Veja, 05/10/05
- Portal Nosso São Paulo - Diga "não" à Mentira e à Hipocrisia
- A Farsa do Desarmamento
- Mídia sem Máscara
- Opinions in support of the referendum (in Portuguese)
- Especial Trip Desarmamento
- Pelo sim ao desarmamento - Comissão de Direitos Humanos e Minorias da Câmara dos Deputados - CDHM
- Sim ao desarmamento
- Site Desarme