Former Education Minister’s gun goes off accidentally, leaving one injured

data Former Education Minister’s gun goes off accidentally, leaving one injured
Former Education Minsiter Milton Ribeiro. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr

Former Education Minister Milton Ribeiro, who left the government last month amid a corruption scandal, accidentally fired his handgun at Brasília Airport on Monday afternoon. One Gol Airlines employee was injured by shrapnel, though Mr. Ribeiro was about to board a flight operated by another airline. Gol told reporters the staff member is in a stable condition.

Mr. Ribeiro told the Federal Police he had informed the airline his firearm would be checked as luggage. When the weapon went off, the former cabinet minister was trying to remove the clip to place his gun inside his briefcase, so as not to leave the firearm exposed — according to his statement to the authorities.

A recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows that the arms industry has been immune to the pandemic downturn, with sales going up 1.3 percent in 2020. In Brazil, the increase in gun ownership is far more impressive — with new gun registrations skyrocketing in recent years.

Milton Ribeiro spent almost two years as Education Minister, being the third man appointed to the post since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019. In March, he was featured in an audio recording saying federal funds were being funneled to municipalities endorsed by two Evangelical preachers — who are in turn accused of exchanging approval for bribes.

The opposition to President Bolsonaro tried to open a hearings committee in the Senate to investigate the scandal, but failed to whip the necessary signatures to force the inquiry.