HAVANA TIMES – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday signed a decree relaxing the country’s strict gun controls in an attempt to stem mounting crime, reported dpa news.
“The people have decided to buy arms and munitions and we cannot deny [that],” the daily O Globo quoted the president as saying.
The far-right president had pledged to arm the population in order to restore law and order during his election campaign last year.
The decree will extend the validity of weapons registration from three to five years, according to the daily Folha de Sao Paulo.
People living in high-crime areas and owners of commercial establishments will be able to access weapons more easily, and gun ownership no longer needs to be authorized by federal police.
More than 63,000 people suffered a violent death in Brazil in 2017, up 2.9 per cent from the previous year, according to the non-governmental organization Public Security Forum.
About 60 per cent of Brazilians nevertheless oppose easing gun controls, a poll by the company Datafolha showed in December. There is concern that the measure will foment rather than reduce crime.
The United States’ model of easy gun purchasing appears to be the path chosen by Bolsonaro.
Known by many as the “Brazilian Trump”, Bolsonaro made gun rights one of the main planks in his campaign platform, liberally salting his speeches with NRA (National Rifle Association) talking points: “Guns are our guarantee of freedom,” he said during the campaign. “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” his son Carlos posted on Facebook.