In breach of the Disarmament Act and backtracking on her original position on the issue, President Dilma Rousseff signed into law on June 18 a bill that permits off-duty prison guards to bear arms.
Complementary Bill of Law No. 28/2014, approved by Congress in May, was submitted by the Ministry of Justice after pressure from prison guards. In 2012, the president vetoed a similar bill since it went “against the national policy to combat violence”.
Conectas, IDDD (Defense of the Right to a Defense Institute) and Sou da Paz have issued a statement of condemnation to President Rousseff, classifying as “regrettable” her “lack of commitment to the arms control policy”.
Read the statement in full:
Statement of Condemnation of the Presidential Approval of Bill 28/2014
President Dilma Rousseff signed into law on June 18 the bill that permits off-duty prison guards to bear arms.
It is a mistake to believe that the ability of prison guards to bear arms when off duty will result in more security for this professional category. After vetoing the bill twice, declaring that it was incompatible with Brazil’s national security policy, the president has now approved the law.
The most appropriate political option would be to invest in structuring and valuing the profession. The passage of this law undermines the progress that has been made since the approval of the Disarmament Act.
It is regrettable that the federal government has demonstrated such a lack of commitment to the arms control policy, particularly considering that 33,000 people are killed every year by firearms.
Conectas Human Rights, the Defense of the Right to a Defense Institute – IDDD and the Sou da Paz Institute condemn this decision and will continue to monitor the additional regulation to the text of the recently-approved law and its consequences on public security.