Brazil: Lula signs an order to limit access to weapons

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday signed a decree restricting access to firearms for citizens that was facilitated by his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

“We will continue to fight so that we have fewer weapons in our country. Only the police and the army must be well armed,” Lula said during a presentation in Brasilia of a series of measures aimed at reducing violence in Brazil.

The “Responsible Control of Weapons” decree reduces the number of weapons authorized for personal defense from four to two, and anyone who wants to acquire them must demonstrate that they actually need them.

Hunters, sport shooters and collectors, who are placed under a category called “CAC”, can now own only six firearms, while 30 are permitted by a decree under the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro (2019–2022).

Ammunition purchase authorizations were also largely restricted.

The new decree limits the hours of operation of shooting ranges, which can no longer be located less than a kilometer from schools.

These stands have seen a boom in recent years, with the practice of sport shooting allowing a large number of weapons to be legally acquired.

According to the NGO Instituto Sue da Paz, more than one million weapons were registered in the CAC register in July 2022, almost three times more than the 350,000 registered in December 2018, a month before the start of Jair Bolsonaro’s term.

The decree signed by Lula “represents a step forward to return to standards of responsibility and legal security in arms control in Brazil”, the NGO welcomed in a press release.

Another major change provided for in the decree: the arms register of the CAC will gradually come under the control of the Federal Police, not the military.

The Lula government also introduced a bill on Friday that provides for tougher penalties for violence in schools. During the first semester the country was gripped by several attacks on schools.

There have been 47,508 murders in Brazil, an average of more than five per hour, according to a report published Thursday by the Brazilian NGO Public Security Forum.

But this figure has fallen steadily in recent years, as a record 64,078 murders were recorded in 2017.

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