Ten days after a 14-year-old student opened fire on his classmates, students in the city of Goiania returned to their school. Inspired by school massacres at Columbine in Colorado and Realengo in Brazil, the student had taken his mother’s personal firearm from home. Four students were injured, and two were killed. But while mass shootings in the U.S. provoke debates around the right to bear arms, the conversation in Brazil turned to bullying instead.
Unspoken support for gun possession seems to be growing in Brazil. Congress is currently considering a series of measures that would loosen restrictions on gun ownership and conceal-and-carry laws. To gather “evidence” of public opinion on the loosening of gun laws, the Senate conducted a poll on its website. Nearly a quarter of a million people voted in favor of revoking the current legislation, which is known as the “Disarmament Statute.” Critics maintain that the poll oversimplifies the issues at stake – not to mention that an online poll has absolutely no scientific validity.
“In Brazil, we have a fearful society where people do not believe in institutions or in police, where people don’t see the state providing public security,” Daniel Cerqueira, a senior researcher at the Institute for Applied Economics, told The Brazilian Report. “One of the central factors behind this argument’s popularity is exactly that: fear.”