Bolsonaro Signs Decree Making It Easier for Brazilians to Buy Guns

Bolsonaro Signs Decree Making It Easier for Brazilians to Buy Guns

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil signed a decree on Tuesday making it easier to buy guns and signaling he will follow through on his campaign promise to tackle the country’s epidemic of violence by arming the “good guys” and crushing violent drug gangs.

Mr. Bolsonaro was sworn in on Jan. 1 after a decisive electoral victory last year that was bolstered by his vows to combat crime with an iron fist and reduce Brazil’s record-high murder rate. Simulating guns with his fingers at campaign rallies, he pledged to make it easier for the police to shoot suspects and to relax the country’s restrictive firearms law.

Two weeks into his term, he took what he called a “first step” to those ends, to be followed by further congressional measures.

“I signed this decree, created by many upstanding people, so that at this first moment, upstanding citizens can have peace inside their homes,” Mr. Bolsonaro said at a signing ceremony in the capital, Brasília.

The decree also extends the registration renewal period to 10 years from five.

Many other aspects of Brazil’s 2003 gun control law, the Disarmament Statute, remain unaltered. Applicants for gun ownership must be at least 25 years old, have no criminal history, provide proof of a steady job and fixed residence, pass a psychological test and have gun training. And it is still illegal to carry guns outside of homes and places of work.

“He is fulfilling a campaign pledge which is in line with his 27 years in Congress,” said Robert Muggah, research director at the Igarapé Institute, which focuses on security issues. “You can be sure we’ll see additional measures in the coming year.”

A former army captain, Mr. Bolsonaro was for many years a marginal, far-right voice in Brazil’s Congress, best known for his verbal attacks against women, gay people and black people before persuading voters in the 2018 presidential election that he was the best candidate to take on entrenched political corruption and soaring violence.

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