In Brazil, a decree limits access to firearms for civilians

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday signed a decree to restrict access to firearms for civilians, which had been facilitated by his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro. “We will continue to fight so that there are fewer weapons in our country. Only the police and the army must be well armed,” Lula said during the presentation in Brasilia of a series of measures aimed at reducing violence in Brazil.

The “responsible arms control” decree reduces the number of weapons authorized for personal defense from four to two, and anyone wishing to acquire them will have to demonstrate that they really need them. Hunters, sport shooters and collectors, grouped under a category called “CACs”, can now only own six firearms, compared to 30 allowed by a decree under the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022). Ammunition purchase authorizations were also significantly restricted.

The new decree limits the operating hours of shooting ranges, which can no longer be located less than one kilometer from schools. These stands have experienced a boom in recent years, the practice of sport shooting allowing to acquire a large number of weapons legally.

From army control to police control

According to the NGO Instituto Sou da Paz, more than a million weapons were registered in the CAC register in July 2022, almost triple the approximately 350,000 registered in December 2018, a month before the start of Jair Bolsonaro’s mandate.

The decree signed by Lula “represents a step forward to return to standards of responsibility and legal certainty in the control of arms in Brazil”, welcomed this NGO in a press release. Another major change provided for in the decree: the weapons register of the CACs will gradually come under the control of the federal police, and no longer of the army.

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The Lula government also presented a bill on Friday that provides for tougher penalties in cases of violence in schools. The country was bereaved by several attacks in schools during the first semester.

According to a report published Thursday by the Brazilian NGO Public Security Forum, 47,508 homicides have been committed in Brazil, more than five per hour on average. But that figure has fallen steadily in recent years, since a record 64,078 homicides were recorded in 2017.

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