Tuesday, May 14, 2019

President Bolsonaro of Brazil eases Restrictions on Ammunition sales and Gun Imports




On 7 May, 2019, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree further reforming Brazil's extremely strict laws on gun ownership and carry.

Keeping his campaign promises, President Bolsonaro signed an initial decree only two weeks into his presidency, in January of this year.

The decree signed on 7 May makes it a little easier for Brazilians who wish to use their guns to defend themselves, to train and to do so.  From lfpress.com:
“Public security starts inside your home,” said Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain who made getting tough on criminals in a country that is the world leader in total homicides a big part of his election campaign.

To own a gun in Brazil, citizens must pass a series of requirements, including a psychological screening and a safety course.

I have not found the text of the 7 May decree. But riotimesonline.com gave this summation:

According to Bolsonaro, the main measures of the decree include:
  • Permission for the rural gun-owner with legal possession of a firearm to use the weapon within the perimeter of their own property;
  • Breaking of the monopoly on arms imports in Brazil;
  • Permission for collectors, sport shooters and hunters (CSCs) to be able to travel between home and shooting site with the firearm and its ammunition;
  • Armed Forces Veterans with ten years or more of experience will be entitled to bear firearms;
  • The right to purchase up to 50 cartridges per year will go up to one thousand cartridges per year.
President Bolsonaro has been called the Trump of the Tropics, partly for his willingness to eschew political correctness and to speak bluntly and forcefully, and partly for his willingness to keep campaign promises.

Brazil has a major problem with homicides. As one of the more promising developing nations,  Brazil has a very high homicide rate, and a total number of homicides that comprise about half of all reported homicides in the world. The high homicide rate and high number of homicides have happened in spite of extreme restrictions that have been placed on gun ownership, the carry of guns, and the ability of the population to use guns for self defense.

The new government of President Jair Bolsonaro promised an end to the extreme gun laws. They looked to the United States, and wished to try a radically different tact. Instead of forbidding people from defending themselves, the new government offered a different vision.

People would be able to legally have guns and use them to defend themselves from criminals.

The theory is largely in line with Professor John Lott's thesis: More guns, Less crime.

It appears President Bolsonaro is committed to testing the thesis, though so far, few people will actually be able to carry guns on the street for self defense. The framework has been laid for that effort.

To have a serious effect, a few percent of Brazil's population will need to be able to carry firearms for self defense. That would be at least four million people with carry permits.

The current decree makes it a little easier for hunters and collectors to transport guns. It makes it much easier for them to purchase ammunition and train.  It will have little immediate effect on the ability of Brazilians to defend themselves outside of their home or property.

Veterans with 10 years of service will be able to obtain a carry permit. But Brazil's military has only about 235,000 active members. The numbers of veterans with 10 years of service is a small percentage of the total population.

Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro, has 15 years of active military service.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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1 comment:

Marshall said...

I have a friend in Brazil who has lived under the restrictive gun rules for years while shooting in timed competition at a gun club. He wrote me an excited email about this change and adds:

1. All calibers below 1600 joules are now permitted calibers. So instead of being restricted to 380 ACP and 38 Special, they can now have 9mm, 40 and 45 calibers.
2. The validity of the license they need to possess a gun has been extended from 3 to 10 years.
3. They no longer need a "Traffic Guide" to walk with their weapons as they go to the range. Otherwise they could be arrested for illegal possession of a weapon.
4. Liberated foreign trade to break the monopoly of arms/ammunition in Brazil. Currently, they can only buy guns from Taurus and ammunition from CBC. Even reloading supplies are expensive (compared to the US).

My friend is a dedicated reloader (by necessity) and has to pay ~4x the price we pay in the US for primers. He is currently working on reloading 22LR to reduce the cost of his hobby. Hopefully, these changes will reduce the costs of ammunition and reloading to something more reasonable.

His biggest fear is that Bolsonaro's decrees will be overturned by the courts and nothing will change.

Marshall