Archive for July, 2023

Brazil: Senate Moves to Challenge Socialist President’s Extreme Gun Control Decree

Thursday, July 27th, 2023

Brazilian Senator Luis Carlos Heinze introduced a bill on Monday that seeks to suspend the new “Responsible Gun Control” decree issued by radical leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva last week.

Lula’s gun control decree rolls back policies implemented during the administration of former President Jair Bolsonaro. It forbids citizens from obtaining certain types of firearms, reduces the total number of firearms that a civilian can purchase, and decreases the duration of firearm permits. The decree also limits the amount of ammunition that citizens can purchase per year and imposes restrictions on shooting clubs, hunters, marksmen, and firearm collectors.

The decree also establishes a series of guidelines to transfer authority over the regulation and inspection of civilian firearms from the Brazilian army to the federal police, granting the police force exclusive power over civilian activities involving weapons and ammunition in the country alongside Brazil’s Justice and Public Security Ministry.

“That is why we will continue to fight for a disarmed country,” Lula said last week during the signing of the new decree. “It is the Brazilian police who have to be well armed, it is the Brazilian armed forces who have to be well armed.”

According to the senator, the decree “violates several constitutional and legal provisions,” while going beyond the powers attributed to the executive branch of government. The senator also argued that the decree “ignores shooting as a sporting practice” by reducing the amount of purchasable ammunition per year.

“The text transfers duties from the Army to the Federal Police, totally outside the Disarmament Statute,” Heinze said. “The Lula government is going against the wishes of the population. The 2005 referendum shows that 63.94 percent of Brazilians voted against disarmament. The popular will must be respected.”

The senator’s statements refer to a national referendum held in 2005, during Lula’s first presidential term, in which Brazilian citizens voted overwhelmingly against banning gun and ammunition sales. About 64 percent voted againt doing so, while about 36 percent supported the move.

The decree signed by Lula last week forbids civilians from legally obtaining 9mm, .40, and .45 Automatic Colt Pistols (ACP), as well as semi-automatic smoothbore firearms, overturning Bolsonaro’s policies that allowed for the sale of those types of firearms to citizens. The Brazilian government announced that it will implement a buyback program for the now banned firearms this year.

Heinze also criticized the Brazilian federal government’s attempt to disarm the population without presenting projects for public safety.

“What we have today is a Minister of Justice who is, all the time, on the platform and does not present results,” Heinze said when presenting the bill. “It is necessary to act with due seriousness.”

Reversing Bolsonaro’s flexibilization of firearm access for Brazilian citizens was one of Lula da Silva’s sterner campaign promises. In January, the radical leftist president began to roll back Bolsonaro’s gun-related policies within the first hours of his third presidential term.

Heinze’s bill accuses Lula of violating the Brazilian Disarmament Statute bt stripping the army of its regulatory functions over civilian firearms and transferring them to the Federal Police. Heinze also argued that the decree constitutes an “illegal intervention of the government in an economic activity, which generates jobs and helps in the growth of the Gross Domestic Product.”

“The ban on the sale of weapons, ammunition and supplies for reloading throughout the national territory will harm thousands of entrepreneurs, importers and the industry itself,” Heinze stated.

The Senator introduced a similar bill in January that sought to reverse Lula’s initial limitations on Bolsonaro’s gun policies.

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Brazil: Lula tightens gun control amid surge in ownership

Monday, July 24th, 2023

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has signed an order to tighten gun controls in a bid to halt a surge in firearm ownership.

Under Lula’s far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, there was an almost seven-fold rise in registered users.

Limits will be placed on stockpiles of guns and ammunition, while certain weapons, including nine millimetre handguns, will be prohibited.

The new controls fulfil a campaign promise by Lula.

The president blamed a wave of political violence during last year’s presidential election on looser gun controls.

“We will continue to fight for fewer weapons in our country. Only the police and the army must be well-armed,” Lula said while unveiling the new stricter measures.

The announcement comes after several recent school shootings in a country that registered more than five murders per hour on average in 2022, according to the Public Security Forum, an NGO.

Brazil has almost 800,000 registered gun owners, up from less than 120,000 in 2018 when Mr Bolsonaro was elected, according to the 2023 Brazilian Yearbook of Public Security.

The country has no constitutional right to bear arms.

But under an executive decree passed by Mr Bolsonaro in 2019 Brazilians were entitled to own up to four guns, while others were granted permission to carry loaded firearms in public under certain conditions.

The decree also raised the amount of ammunition people could buy from 50 to 5,000 cartridges for permitted weapons and up to 1,000 cartridges for use in restricted weapons.

The new restrictions will see a registered hunter granted permission to own six weapons, instead of the previous 30 – including up to 15 restricted firearms.

“It is one thing for a citizen to have a gun at home for protection and assurance … but we cannot allow there to be arsenals of weapons in people’s hands,” Lula said in his speech.

Supervision of civilian weapons is being transferred from the army to Brazil’s federal police, after criticism of weak oversight.

Gun owners who bought their weapons under Mr Bolsonaro will not be forced to give them up, but a buyback program could start this year.

Mr Bolsonaro argues that guns make Brazil safer, pointing to a lower murder rate during his time in office.

The former president has been barred from running for office for eight years after being found guilty of abusing his power ahead of last year’s presidential poll.

He had been accused of undermining Brazilian democracy by falsely claiming that the electronic ballots used were vulnerable to hacking and fraud.

The bitterly fought election went into a run-off on 30 October and was won by a narrow margin by Lula.

Mr Bolsonaro never publicly acknowledged his defeat and left Brazil for Florida two days before Lula was sworn in as president.

The former president’s supporters, who refused to accept the outcome of the election, stormed Brazil’s Congress, the presidential palace and the building housing the Supreme Court on 8 January.