On Gun Control and Murder Rates in Brazil

Brazil’s Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Institute of Applied Economic Research; IPEA) recently published a report that investigated the diffusion of guns in Brazil and their ties to violence. Among its findings? That the more diffuse the presence of firearms in an area, the higher the homicide rate.

Segundo nossas estimativas, o aumento de 1% de armas de fogo eleva em até 2% a taxa de homicídio. Por outro lado, a difusão de armas nas cidades não possui efeito sobre a taxa de crimes contra a propriedade. O uso defensivo da arma de fogo para conter crimes contra a propriedade é na verdade uma lenda que não reflete a realidade”[.]

According to our estimates, an increase of 1% of firearms elevates the homicide rate by 2%. On the other hand, the diffusion of weapons in the cities did not have an effect on the property crime rate. The defensive use of firearms to prevent crimes against property is in reality a legend that does not reflect reality[.]

The study was thorough, looking not only at gun ownership and violence nationwide, but also breaking it down by “microregions” to study variability in ownership and crime. In doing so, the study has found that “the microregions with the greatest diffusion of firearms demonstrate a [murder] rate 7.4 times higher than that in regions with less gun diffusion.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, it appears that, at least in the case of Brazil, gun laws and a reduction in firearm ownership rates does have a real impact on reducing murder.

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About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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