AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo
The president of Brazil vowed during his campaign to liberalize gun laws in the South American nation. It’s plagued by violence, and it’s clear the laws in place aren’t working. It seems he looked to the north and recognized that the United States and our protected right to keep and bear arms offered a solution for his nation’s woes.
Now, he’s kept that promise.
Brazil has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world, while the country of over 200 million inhabitants at the same time also has one of the highest murder rates, two concepts that Bolsonaro linked in his campaign for office last year. This week he kept his campaign promises and relaxed some controls on personal gun ownership and use adopted by past administrations.
“We are following a path totally opposed to authoritarianism, which always seeks to disarm the population,” said Bolsonaro on his social media account, which has nearly 12 million followers. “We are mainly attending the good citizen, who follows the laws and respects society.”
As detailed by the Rio Times, the new decree will open Brazil to more gun imports as well as enable more individuals to legally own, use and carry firearms. Additionally, the move will boost the yearly ammo purchase limit on restricted categories of firearms from 50 cartridges to 1,000 and on unrestricted types to 5,000.
Most of those limits were put in place by Bolsonaro’s corrupt predecessor.
This isn’t all that far when you think about our rights, but it’s a start. This is what Bolsonaro can do right now. Will he do more? Who knows. What I do know, however, is that a maximum of 50 rounds per year means it’s incredibly difficult for a private citizen to be proficient with their firearms. While 1,000 rounds per year are still less than some of us shoot, it’s a damn sight better than it was.
The truth is, Brazil didn’t get itself into this mess overnight, and it won’t get itself out of it overnight either.
What we need to wait and see on is whether Bolsonaro continues to liberalize his nation’s gun laws or whether he considers this enough. Much of that may depend on the crime rate proceeding forward. If it decreased, it becomes far easier to expand the gun rights of Brazilian citizens. If not, well, we can all imagine how that will go.
It may not even take that. If Brazil’s media is anything like our own, don’t be surprised if Bolsonaro’s efforts are a success yet painted as a major failure.
For gun rights advocates here in the United States, this is important. A reduction in Brazil’s outrageous, violent crime rate will show that more gun equals less crime, something we’ve always known. However, that is dismissed here in the U.S. for various reasons, yet it might be more difficult to dismiss coming from a country like Brazil.
We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m optimistic that the future of Brazil is going to be bright.