Texarkana, TX 88° Sun H 89° L 68° Mon H 86° L 70° Tue H 85° L 72° Weather Sponsored By:

Brazilian judge gives Bolsonaro five days to clarify gun decree

Brazilian judge gives Bolsonaro five days to clarify gun decree

May 11th, 2019 by Associated Press in International News

RIO DE JANEIRO—A Brazilian supreme court judge said Friday that President Jair Bolsonaro and his Justice Ministry had five days to respond to opposition assertions that a recently passed gun decree was unconstitutional.

The decree presented on May 7 widely loosens the country's strict gun laws by expanding the ability of Brazilians to sell, access and carry firearms, in a move that some critics have qualified as "the most devastating gun reform" in decades.

Igarape, a Brazilian think tank, said this "death decree" considerably increases the number of people that could carry firearms without prior authorization from the federal police, further increasing violence in the world's leader in total annual homicides.

A day after Bolsonaro signed his decree, surrounded by supporting lawmakers who made finger-gun gestures with their hands, the Sustainability Network party filed a petition with the Supreme Federal Tribunal.

In the document, the political party argues the decree constitutes an "abuse of regulatory power by the executive" and that it should have been passed by Congress. They say Brazil's Constitution stipulates that it is for Congress to legislate on the possession, carrying and registering of firearms.

The decree's measures "clearly go against the spirit of the Disarmament Statute," the Sustainability Network party wrote, referring to the existing 2003 law on firearms.

Both the Senate and lower house agreed. The decree is "invading the prerogatives of parliamentary members," House Speaker Rodrigo Maia sai d Wednesday, asking for the reversal of specific points.

Bolsonaro said Friday that if the decree was unconstitutional, it should cease to exist. But hours later, he told an enthusiastic crowd in the state of Parana: "We are not retreating in front of those that since forever have said they are security experts."

Bolsonaro insisted he had acted within the limits of the law. "The life of a good citizen has no price."

Bolsonaro, a former army captain and congressman for 27 years, has long opposed the 2003 Disarmament Statute, which imposed a minimum age for possession of 25 and included mandatory background checks and requirements to renew licenses every five years.

During his time in Congress, Bolsonaro was part of the pro-gun lobby known as the "bullet caucus".

Among the decree's major changes, is the increase in the quantity of ammunitions available to gun owners. Under the new rules, they can buy between 1,000 and 5,000 rounds of ammunition a year, depending on their licenses, up from just 50 rounds.

Brazilians can now own up to four guns without requiring formal clearance from authorities and also have access to higher calibers, so far restricted to trained members of the armed forces, Igarape said.

New categories of people that can access guns thanks to the new decree and without authorization from the federal police include shooting instructors, collectors, hunters, tax collectors, bus and truck drivers, elected officials, lawyers, rural residents, journalists working with police and private security guards.

The impact of the decree in rural Brazil, Latin America's largest nation, could be major, analysts say.

Under the new rules, Igarape estimates that some 18.6 million "rural residents" and hundreds of thousands of hunters and collectors could access and carry firearms more easily and under less supervision.

Robert Muggah, Igarape's research director, says he expects "a dramatic increase in the circulation of firearms in northern, northeastern and midwest Brazil," where are concentrated many of the disputes between landowners and indigenous communities.

Loosening Brazil's strict gun laws and offering more protection to rural landowners were campaign promises of Bolsonaro, who promised to get tough on criminals and protect Brazilians from rising crime.

In 2017, 63,880 people were killed in Brazil, according the think-tank Brazilian Public Security Forum, making it the deadliest year in the country's history.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com