CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE: Countdown: Top stories of 2018
by WorldTribune Staff, December 30, 2018
President-elect Jair Bolsonaro said he plans to loosen Brazil’s strict gun laws.
“By decree, we plan to guarantee the ownership of firearms by citizens without criminal records,” Bolsonaro, who takes office on Jan. 1, tweeted on Dec. 29.
During the presidential campaign, many Brazilians who want to use guns for self-defense amid surging levels of violent crime called on Bolsonaro to dismantle current gun laws.
“Every honest citizen, man or woman, if they want to have a weapon in their homes – depending on certain criteria – should be able to have one,” Bolsonaro said during the campaign.
Bolsonaro, a supporter of the U.S. National Rifle Association, had the door of his campaign office emblazoned with the slogan: “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”
Various bureaucratic and legal obstacles currently prevent many of the country’s citizens from purchasing firearms.
Under the Disarmament Statute of 2003, only strictly defined groups of people, including police and security officials are able to obtain a gun license. Anyone using a gun without a license faces four years in jail. Proof of residence, employment, technical and psychological capacity are needed to get a gun license.
About 500,000 guns were seized by police under a buy-back scheme after the statute passed in Brazil’s Senate.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro has also promised to move forward with his pledge to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Dec. 30 that Bolsonaro told him that it was a matter of “when, not if” the embassy is relocated.
“We attach enormous importance to Brazil, and Brazil in the context of Latin America. This heralds a historic change,” Netanyahu said as he met with leaders of Brazil’s Jewish community in Rio de Janeiro.
Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister to visit Brazil.
After he met the Israeli leader, Bolsonaro said that “we need good allies, good friends, good brothers, like Benjamin Netanyahu.”