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By Larry Pratt

October 28, 2005

Brazilians voted on October 23, 2005 against a government-endorsed gun ban. It was not even close; the final vote was about two to one against the ban.

At one time, with the media and the government all pushing for the ban, the referendum had 80 percent of the voters in favor of it. But in the end, defeat for the gun banners was everywheree -- in all 26 of Brazil's states plus its federal district of Brasilia.

The proposal would have banned all gun and ammo sales except to security firms, sport clubs, and of course, the government.

Then a law requiring free air time for both sides of a referendum kicked in and the 80 percent support in the polls became 34 percent of the voters on election day. This swing occurred during a mere thirty days prior to the election.

A political scientist, David Fleischer of the University of Brasilia, commented on the opposition campaign: "They ask the question: 'Do you feel protected and do you think the government is protecting you?' and the answer is a violent no."

The anti-ban campaign used images of Tianamen Square and the Berlin Wall to link owning a gun with freedom. One unhappy wannabe banner, a carpetbagger from California, Jessica Galeria, had this complaint: "Now, a lot of Brazilians are insisting on their right to bear arms. They don't even have a pseudo right to bear arms. It's not in their Constitution."

Notice what Ms. Galeria is saying about our own Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. By calling it a "pseudo right," she believes that the amendment does not apply to individuals. And to the extent that folks like her concede there is some sort of right that is being protected, they believe it is one established by the Constitution (read: the government) which means that it could be withdrawn by government.

A Brazilian proponent of the ban, Denis Mizne, of the anti-self defense group, Sou da Paz, was more honest about what happened. "We didn't lose because Brazilians like guns. We lost because people don't have confidence in the government or the police." This distrust was all the more intense because the socialist President of Brazil, Luiz Inancio Lula, is up to his eyeballs in scandal. Interesting, no? Corrupt, socialist politicians such as Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin in the United States are some of our most vocal proponents of domestic disarmament.

It turns out that some two thirds of the folks in Brazil understand why the U.S. has a Second Amendment -- the American colonists did not "have confidence in the government or the police." Seems like the average guy in Brazil has a lot more on the ball than most of the U.S. Congress and nearly all of the politically correct types of academe.

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One development in Brazil points to an important similarity with the United States. President Lula marshaled many of the stars of the entertainment industry on behalf of disarming the people. Looks like these stars better not give up their day jobs. Hopefully their U.S. counterparts will learn from the experience of Brazil.

Moral of the story? Buy a gun. Enrage a corrupt, socialist politician who rightfully does not trust the people with guns.

� 2005 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

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Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is: Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at:  

E-Mail: [email protected]









The proposal would have banned all gun and ammo sales except to security firms, sport clubs, and of course, the government.