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GUN CONTROL

The proliferation of regulations, the easing of carrying and possession, and the increase of firearms registration as State policies

Curated by Luisa Plastino Published on 04/11/2020
  • Gun control
  • Curated by Luisa Plastino
  • Published on 04/11/2020

State control over the circulation of weapons and ammunition is a substantial part of the public security agenda in a democracy. Studies show that access to these artifacts by ordinary citizens – those who are not security officers – has direct impacts on violence rates, especially on those related to violent deaths and femicides, and, equally, may cause a rise in crimes and hinders the investigation of criminal organizations. 

Since his electoral campaign for the presidency, Jair Bolsonaro has promised to expand access to weapons and ammunition, making statements that evoke a supposed ‘legitimate self-defense’ against ‘bandits’. The handgun gesture has become one of his most widespread “personal trademarks” among political allies and supporters. In his first 15 days in office, Bolsonaro issued a decree amending the Disarmament Statute to expand the definition of “real necessity” that justifies the purchase of firearms for personal use. The new rule authorizes the purchase of up to 4 weapons per citizen. Five months later, this first decree was revoked by a more comprehensive one, initiating a back and forth movement in national arms policy. 

The Emergency Agenda reveals that one of the strategies for the relaxation of gun laws under Bolsonaro Administration has been the successive elaboration of ordinances and decrees, normatives that are not overseen by the Legislative Branch. Between 2019 and August 2020, 23 regulations were issued, loosening the rules on the carrying, possession, and circulation of weapons and ammunition. Following challenges to these regulations’ legality, the president revoked the decrees and issued new ones with minor changes in content. The main beneficiaries of these acts were rural landowners, armed forces members, hunters, marksmen and collectors (‘CACs’).

Amid pandemic, the state of public calamity has also served as a justification to suspend administrative processes on gun control. In 2020, another move towards more flexibility occurred due to the suppression of previous internal regulations. As a consequence, rules on the tracing, identification, registration, carrying, and commercialization of weapons have been revoked. The effects of the gun control deregulation policy are already visible: a survey revealed that civilian shooters bought, in 2019 alone, 32.1 million projectiles, which equals the number of ammunition purchased by State security forces. In 2020, data showed that the Federal Police issued 58,997 new  firearms possession licenses between January and May, a number three times higher than the one recorded during the entire previous year. 

See below a timeline with the set of acts that contributed to the relaxation of gun control.

 
Type of power
Formal power
Branch
Executive
Power Level
Federal

BOLSONARO ENACTS DECREE THAT EXPANDS ACCESS TO GUN OWNERSHIP BY COMMON CITIZENS

Theme(s)
Gun control, Security and Environment
Authoritarian Inventory measures
Legitimation of violence and vigilantism

Read more about it here [1] [2] [3] [4]. Read more about Bolsonaro’s campaign vows to loosen gun rules here [5] [6]

Jan 15 2019
 
Type of power
Formal power
Branch
Executive
Power Level
Federal

JUSTICE MINISTER REVOKES NOMINATION OF ESPECIALIST IN PUBLIC SECURITY TO THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR CRIMINAL AND PENITENTIARY POLICY AFTER ATTACKS ON SOCIAL MEDIAS AND BOLSONARO’S PRESSURE; THE NOMINEE PUBLICLY DESAGREED WITH FEDERAL POLICIES ON PUBLIC SECURITY

Theme(s)
Administration, Gun control
Authoritarian Inventory measures
Violation of institutional autonomy

Read more about it here – in Portuguese [find out here]. Read more about the nominee Ilona Szabó here [1]

Feb 28 2019
 
Type of power
Formal power
Branch
Executive
Power Level
Federal

BOLSONARO ISSUES DECREE THAT EASES GUN OWNERSHIP IN BRAZIL

Theme(s)
Gun control, Security and Environment
Authoritarian Inventory measures
Legitimation of violence and vigilantism

Read more about it here [1]

May 07 2019
 
Type of power
Formal power
Branch
Executive
Power Level
Federal

BOLSONARO ISSUES DECREE THAT ALTERS CONTROVERSIAL POINTS OF THE PREVIOUS DECREE ON THE CARRYING OF WEAPONS

Theme(s)
Gun control, Security and Environment
Authoritarian Inventory measures
Legitimation of violence and vigilantism

Read more about it here [1]

May 21 2019
 
Type of power
Formal power
Branch
Executive
Power Level
Federal

BOLSONARO ISSUES DECREE THAT CHANGES REGULATIONS ON THE PURCHASE OF WEAPONS BY HUNTERS, PROFESSIONAL SHOOTERS AND GUN COLLECTORS

Theme(s)
Gun control
Authoritarian Inventory measures
Legitimation of violence and vigilantism

Read more about it here [1]

Jun 25 2019
 
Type of power
Formal power
Branch
Executive
Power Level
Federal

BOLSONARO ISSUES DECREE THAT CHANGES REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CARRYING OF WEAPONS, EXPANDING THE LIST OF AUTHORIZED GROUPS THAT CAN CARRY GUNS

Theme(s)
Gun control
Authoritarian Inventory measures
Legitimation of violence and vigilantism

Read more about it here [1]

Jun 25 2019
 
Type of power
Formal power
Branch
Executive
Power Level
Federal

BOLSONARO ISSUES DECREE THAT REVOKES PREVIOUS RULES AND REGULATES THE DISARMAMENT STATUTE

Theme(s)
Gun control
Authoritarian Inventory measures
Legitimation of violence and vigilantism

Read more about it here [1] and about the Disarmament Statute here [2]
Read more about gun ownership rules here [3]

Jun 25 2019
 
Type of power
Formal power
Branch
Executive
Power Level
Federal

BOLSONARO ISSUES DECREE TO REGULATE LAWS ON WEAPONRY AND REVOKES HIS PREVIOUS DECREES

Theme(s)
Gun control
Authoritarian Inventory measures
Legitimation of violence and vigilantism

Read more about it here [1] [2]. Read more about Bolsonaro’s campaign vows to loosen gun rules here [3] [4]

Jun 25 2019
 
Type of power
Formal power
Branch
Executive
Power Level
Federal

ARMY COMMAND ISSUES ORDINANCE LISTING THE NEW CALIBERS OF WEAPONS CURENTLY ALLOWED

Theme(s)
Gun control
Authoritarian Inventory measures
Legitimation of violence and vigilantism

Read more about it here [1]

Aug 12 2019
 
Type of power
Informal power
Branch
Executive
Power Level
Federal

FIREARMS’ IMPORTATION IN THE FIRST 8 MONTHS OF BOLSONARO GOVERNMENT IS THE HIGHEST EVER REGISTERED IN BRAZIL

Theme(s)
Gun control
Authoritarian Inventory measures
Legitimation of violence and vigilantism

Read more about it here [1]. For data on the growth of importations in 2020, read here [2] [3] [4].

Aug 31 2019
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