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Brazil uses soccer to bring down the murder rate

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Taylor Barnes

(Read caption) Luiz Carlos destroys a turned-in gun.

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• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

With 16 million guns circulating in Brazil and nearly 100 citizens killed each day by firearms, lawmakers here are hoping there is one national passion that will induce gun owners to lay down arms: soccer.

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Draft legislation in Brazil’s congress would give discounted 2014 World Cup Brazil tickets to those who voluntarily turn in their weapons. Brazil currently has the highest number of annual murders.

Luiz Carlos, a retired policeman who mans a local voluntary disarmament center, is skeptical the proposed legislation will work. “Ninety percent who come here turn [guns] in for their family’s security,” says Mr. Carlos. He shows three pistols donated by a widow who said her husband wouldn’t have been killed by a burglar if he hadn’t pulled a gun to challenge the robber. “The motivation isn’t the money. It’s to do away with the gun.”