RIO DE JANEIRO – Five days after Brazil’s most lethal school shooting killed 12 children, Senate leaders decided Tuesday to rush a bill that would let the voters decide whether to forbid gun sales in South America’s biggest country.
Senate leader Jose Sarney said at a news conference that legislators would treat the matter with urgency so the issue could be put before Brazilian citizens this fall.
The bill would have to be approved by both the Senate and the House before going on the ballot. A similar proposal in 2005 was strongly rejected by voters and kept gun sales legal.
The federal government also proposed launching a disarmament campaign in May that would pay Brazilians to turn in firearms.
Calls for tighter controls on guns increased in the legislature after Wellington Oliveira, 23, walked into his former school in a working class neighborhood of Rio state on Thursday and shot a dozen children to death.