President Jair Bolsonaro took advantage of last Friday, the eve of an almost Carnival in Brazil, to sign four decrees that further facilitate the sale of weapons and reduce his state control. It is the thirtieth regulation published in the last two years by Bolsonaro, within a policy that has helped increase the number of weapons in circulation in Brazil. Ad, disclosed on the president’s Twitter account, has generated immediate reactions among political leaders and entities linked to human rights, especially because the president shows more commitment to facilitate access to weapons than to vaccines.
Among the regulations provided by the Government, there is an increase in the quota for the purchase of arms for citizens, which goes from 4 to 6. This number can reach eight for members of the magistracy, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and for members of the Police and prison officers and guards. The possession of weapons by civilians has jumped 65% in the country since December 2018, shortly before Bolsonaro assumed power on January 1, according to information from the newspaper Or Balloon. At the end of January, there were more than 1.1 million weapons in the possession of citizens, a figure that will easily increase if Justice does not overturn the president’s decrees, as public security experts hope.
“Bolsonaro’s arms populism, in addition to aggravating the problem [de la violencia]It is a smokescreen for their coup aspirations, ”wrote Marcelo Freixo, a deputy for the PSOL (Socialism and Freedom Party) in Rio de Janeiro. Freixo announced a project to annul Bolsonaro’s latest decrees and registered a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality [especie de recurso de inconstitucionalidad] in the Supreme Court. “The president cannot legislate on weapons based on decrees,” claimed the deputy. If Justice does not intervene, the decrees will be valid in 60 days.
Other Bolsonaro measures provide for the reduction of the control and tracing of weapons and ammunition, a risk that brings arms closer to organized crime. It also makes it easier for shooters and hunters, for example, to buy between 30 and 60 weapons without requiring an express authorization from the Army. The Army will also stop controlling projectiles and machines for reloading ammunition and chargers. It is about making it easier to access weapons with greater restrictions, those that are of particular interest to Brazilian paramilitary groups. “The increase in the sale of weapons of greater potential ends up supplying the world of crime,” says Carolina Ricardo, director of the Instituto Sou da Paz. “Weapons collected by a shooter or hunter can be stolen or diverted and supply the illegal market,” he warns, recalling that the lack of follow-up makes it difficult to investigate crimes.
Last year, an Army provision revoked the rules on the tracing of weapons and ammunition, security devices and marking of firearms in Brazil. Also at the end of the year, Bolsonaro tried to cut import taxes to zero, arguing that it would stimulate trade. The case ended in the Supreme Court following a request from the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), and Judge Edson Fachin suspended the decision, which in turn conflicts with the right to life and security, which are constitutionally guaranteed.
The Bolsonaro government’s arms trading policy begins to generate insecurity in society, especially after the invasion of the Capitol in the United States, on January 6. The far-right president has not yet condemned the invasion of Trump supporters who did not accept the election result. Bolsonaro also takes every opportunity to reinforce the discourse of distrust about the electronic ballot box in the elections – without any proof of it – and also to say that he wants to see the population armed, anticipating a crisis that may open next year in the case. that he is not re-elected.
Comparisons with Venezuela’s Chavista tactics grow by the day, with his followers feeling increasingly comfortable saying that the population has to arm itself. “The advantage of the armed civilian population is that parties like yours, if they come to power and dare to control society, will be received by bullets by the citizens,” wrote the deputy of the Social Liberal Party, Marcio Labre, in a response. to the PSOL deputy, Marcelo Freixo.
In a statement, Igarapé Institute, which studies public security, points out that the recent set of decrees “not only has lethal effects for the country that kills the most with firearms, but also reinforces possible threats to democracy and the security of the community.” According to Michele dos Ramos, Igarapé’s special advisor, “there are many questions that need an answer from the federal authorities about the political motives behind the lack of control of weapons in the country, since there is no justification or technical knowledge to support these dangerous changes” .
Following the release of the note, the president blocked Ilona Szabó, co-founder and president of the Igarapé Institute, on Twitter. “It is impressive to see how efficient and ready the hate machine is to block any opinion contrary to the official narrative. That only happens in dictatorships. We are already living in exceptional times ”, he says.
The vice president of the Chamber of Deputies, Marcelo Ramos (Liberal Party), an ally of Bolsonaro, criticized the new measures. “More serious than the content of the decrees related to weapons promulgated by the president is the fact of exceeding his regulatory power and entering into an exclusive competence of the Legislative Power. The president can discuss his claim, but by sending a bill to the House, ”he wrote on Twitter.
Bolsonaro ironized the criticisms saying that “the people are vibrating” with the new measures. He posted a video in which he discussed the decrees with a small group of people in the south of the country. Federal deputy Rodrigo Maia (Democrats), former president of the Chamber, reacted by stating that “Bolsonaro considers the part for the whole. Its extreme world is believed to represent the country. The town is not vibrating. The people don’t want weapons, they want vaccines ”.
The public health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic seems to have created a favorable scenario for the dismantling of public policy to combat weapons, an electoral promise that Bolsonaro has been striving to fulfill with his weapons decrees. The president has already managed to disarm the 2003 Disarmament Statute, a set of laws aimed at controlling arms and responsible for saving more than 160,000 lives, according to studies.
Bolsonaro’s arms policy moves in the opposite direction to the public policy that the United States will adopt under the Joe Biden government. The US president asked this Sunday that Congress act “immediately” to limit the circulation of firearms in a statement marking the third anniversary of the attack on the high school in Parkland, Florida, where 14 students and three teachers were killed. . “This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to hear calls for action,” Biden said in the statement.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.