BRASILIA – This week Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree that will temporarily make it easier for Brazilians to buy guns, despite fears the move could aggravate already staggering violent crime.
The executive order, signed in a live television broadcast following a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, allows “good citizens” to more easily own firearms, said Bolsonaro, a former army captain.
“To guarantee the legitimate right of defense, as president I am using this weapon,” he said, indicating the pen he then used to sign the decree.
Além das inúmeras iniciativas tomadas nestes primeiros dias de Governo, aumentamos de 3 para 10 anos o prazo para a renovação da posse da arma de fogo e acabamos com a subjetividade para a compra, que sempre foi dificultada ou impossibilitada. Esse é apenas o primeiro passo! 🇧🇷
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) January 15, 2019
The far-right president ran on a law-and-order platform. His message resonated with voters in Brazil, which in 2017 had a record 64,000 murders, more than any other country.
Tuesday’s decree makes it much easier for adults with no criminal record to buy guns and keep them at home. It does not extend to carrying weapons — concealed or otherwise — in public, which remains restricted to police, public or private security personnel, and the military. A ministerial source said the new decree took effect immediately, without needing congressional approval.
Bolsonaro has said he wants to overturn a 2003 law that was tantamount to banning civilians from purchasing guns. On the campaign trail he often mimicked a pistol by extending the thumb and forefinger with his hand.
According to a survey published last month by the Datafolha firm, 61% of Brazilians are opposed to generalized gun ownership.–MercoPress