n African Security Review - Using public health information to inform, build support and implement policies for gun violence prevention : a case study from the gun ban referendum : feature

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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Gun violence is one of the most serious health problems in Brazil. Information on gun deaths and injuries is collected by the Ministry of Health. This data has been used very successfully to inform and design public policies for preventing gun violence. This article analyses the use of public health information by researchers and activists, as well as government officials and the media, to reveal the severity of firearm injuries and deaths and to gain consensus on the need for reforms to national gun laws. It also assesses the resounding 'no' vote in a recent disarmament referendum to decide whether to prohibit the sale of guns and ammunition. The results of the Brazilian referendum are a lesson to other countries struggling to deal with high levels of gun violence, showing that it may not always be enough to have data to back up efforts to change policies - as people's decisions around gun ownership and use, as well as their choices regarding security policies, are motivated by a complex interaction of factors.

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