Buying a gun in Brazil, the country with the most murders in the world in 2017, is easier thanks to the decree signed this Tuesday ceremoniously by the new president, the retired military man Jair Bolsonaro. Thus, he fulfills his promise to the powerful parliamentary coalition known as the bullet bank, which he has renamed "of legitimate defense" in his appearance in Brasilia surrounded by ministers. The ultra-rightist, who has become the defender of “good Brazilians”, suggested in the campaign to also lift the veto for a civilian to use a legal weapon on the street.
The right to have arms and legitimate defense was one of Bolsonaro's recurring themes in his career until the Presidency; and the gesture with which he simulates pointing with two pistols, the most imitated by his followers. And with the decree of this Tuesday he begins to fulfill one of his great promises.
Insecurity has increased in recent times, largely because the fighting between criminal gangs has become more violent. It is undoubtedly one of the main urgencies of citizenship. Brazil recorded 64,000 murders in 2017, according to the latest available data. More than two thirds were perpetrated with firearms. Legal weapons are a minimal part of the total; With 209 million inhabitants, it is estimated that in Brazil there are some eight million illegal weapons.
The president explained during the ceremony held in the capital that the legal change responds to the fact that "the sovereign people decided" in favor of the sale of arms in a referendum held 13 years ago. So 63% voted against banning it. "To guarantee that legitimate right to defense, I as president will use this weapon (in reference to the fountain pen)”, He has proclaimed. In any case, current polls indicate that in recent years there has been a drastic change of opinion: 68% are against relaxing the current restrictions on the sale of weapons, according to a Datafolha poll this week.
Some 330,000 Brazilians have permission to possess weapons at home or in their shops, but this does not extend to carrying them on the street. This decree includes two relevant news. One, the duration of the license is extended to ten years from the current five. The former president, Michel Temer, of the center-right, extended it from three to five. Two, the potential buyer will no longer have to argue with the Federal Police why they need a weapon as the 330,000 Brazilians who have permits had to. Bolsonaro maintains that this process was "subjective."
The requirements of being 25 years old, a legal job, a known address and no criminal record or physical or psychological impediments to acquire a pistol do not change. In recent years, sales and licenses have increased dramatically. The Bolsonarista reform also expands to four the weapons that a citizen can possess and amnesty for those whose license has expired.
The Sou da Paz Institute (I am from Peace) has criticized the president for using a presidential decree that steals the debate from Congress, the police officers who patrol the streets … “The issue is so relevant and has such an impact on the life of million Brazilians that should have been properly debated. This is one of the pillars of democracy ”, emphasizes Felippe Angeli, activism coordinator for this NGO. Until now, all changes to the so-called disarmament law have been approved by parliamentarians.
With this decision, the president also makes a significant gesture to the arms lobby in his third week in power. In the first week he already had a nod to the agricultural sector, another of the groups that has supported him the most, by giving the Ministry of Agriculture the power to demarcate indigenous reserves to the chagrin of environmentalists. The president, however, has decided to back down from his promise to abandon the Paris Agreement against climate change.
Bolsonaro and his children have been heating up the atmosphere in recent days for the signing of this Tuesday. The president announced this decree as soon as he settled in the Planalto palace. And his son Eduardo, a former policeman and current deputy, released a video of him two weeks ago in which he trains at a shooting range with the caption: “We like shooting, perhaps you prefer other activities, you are the best person to decide how he wants to live his life and that the State does not tell him what is right ”. The three adult children of the president are parliamentarians but they are also a key element in the dissemination of his ideas on social networks.
Bolsonaro's recipe for fighting crime includes his electoral promise to give impunity to agents who kill a criminal in a police operation. Last year, more than 800 people were killed in Rio de Janeiro by police bullets.
Towards the end of a monopoly
The Taurus of 38 is the weapon that kills the most in Brazil. The cheapest. The one that most often seizes the police. It is locally made. The eponymous company shot up on the stock market when Jair Bolsonaro went to the second electoral round -although it drags a deep crisis- then it abruptly collapsed, began to rise again after the inauguration, in the New Year, and this Tuesday it fell 1.27 % mid-afternoon in the Ibovespa index.
Taurus, with the rest of the local arms manufacturers, runs the risk of losing the monopoly of the small arms market because the Bolsonaro government considers allowing the entry of foreign manufacturers. The Minister of the Civil House, Onyx Lorenzoni, declared this Tuesday in Brasilia that "there is no problem" with 100% foreign investment in this sector.
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