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Brazil leader Bolsonaro reveals plans to ease laws on carrying guns

Peter Stubley

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has announced his government is preparing new laws to make it easier to carry guns in public.

The far-right leader said his plans would benefit “collectors, shooters and hunters” and expand the legal protection for people using firearms to defend their own lives or property.

Mr Bolsonaro promised during his election campaign to overturn Brazil’s strict firearms laws, despite the country’s high murder rate.

He argued that guns will help people defend themselves.

“You can be sure the bums will think twice before committing a crime, knowing that someone might be armed," he said.

He took the first step by signing a decree easing restrictions on civilians buying guns in January. It allowed Brazilians to keep up to four guns in their homes or places of business.

During an internet broadcast earlier this week, Mr Bolsonaro revealed he had discussed the new legislation with the Ministry of Defence, according to a report in the Estadao newspaper.

He said: “We will have news. That’s what you want. What we want is to treat collectors, shooters and hunters with the due respect they deserve.”

The president said that in cases of invasion of a home or a farm, “the owner can defend himself by firing, and if the other side resolve to die is his problem.”

He added: “Private property is sacred in Italy, and it has to be in Brazil as well.”

No further details were provided about the planned legislation.

Mr Bolsonaro, whose trademark gesture was his fingers pointing two imaginary guns, portrayed himself as a tough-on-crime candidate during the election campaign.

Brazil recorded 64,000 murders in 2017, with with 43,000 of those the result of firearms.

About 330,000 civilians in Brazil were legally registered to have a gun during the same year.

Additional reporting by Associated Press