Thomas DiGennaro | Brazil
Brazil, since 2003, has been subject to some of the strictest gun regulations in the world, along with one of the highest murder rate in the world. To put that in a comparative perspective, the murder rate is 30.8 per 100,000 persons. Tremendously higher than the United States murder rates (less than 6 per 100,000 persons since the 1990s), despite the fact that in Brazil, owning a firearm without a license is a jail-able offense up to four years; issuing of license are limited to police, security officials, and hunters/sportsmen; and proof of residence, employment, technical and psychological capacity are all license requirements. These requirements are a part of the Disarmament Statute which took effect in 2003. There was a slight decline in Brazil’s murder rate after the passage of said legislation, but that rate continued to rise again shortly after and is still on the rise today.
Newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro ran on the platform of being tough on crime, hoping to combat the murder rates as countless politicians from every country on the face of the Earth have. However, his plan to combat crime is a tad different; make firearms more accessible to the general public. A former army paratrooper, President Bolsonaro stated in a post-election interview that being “politically correct” and disarming everyone isn’t the solution, supporting that claim with the fact that the regulations from the Disarmament Statue have not made progress towards disarming criminals. His campaign offices displayed across the front door, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”, the all too familiar argument American gun owners try to make their leftist counterparts privy to.
Bolsonaro’s promises have inspired hope in many, as supporters have flocked to shooting clubs to register for firearm safety and training. “I’m not going to run around the streets with a gun in my hand, but a criminal might think twice if normal citizens could be armed,” one Brazilian citizen and supporter of Bolsonaro’s proposals says. Brazilian gunmaker Taurus Armas SA stock rose almost 90% in anticipation of sales to be made during Bolsonaro’s term.
“Every honest citizen, man or woman, if they want to have a weapon in their homes should be able to have one,” says Bolsonaro, and it will certainly be interesting to see what kind of legislation is passed to relax gun laws and what effect this will have on Brazil’s murder rates.
Whatever may happen in Brazil, or anywhere else around the globe, one thing is certain: The fight for gun rights is alive and well in the United States and if we, the law-abiding, armed American citizens, properly educate our children on safety and handling, continue to keep discussion open, and do not compromise away our rights, the next generations may be armed to the teeth as well. This is all the more reason why Americans need to apply Bolsonaro’s mentality to combatting crime and gun violence.
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