Brazil’s Bolsonaro signs decree easing gun laws

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — President Jair Bolsonaro loosened Brazil’s strict gun laws by decree Tuesday, delivering on a campaign promise to make it easier for Brazilians to buy guns and ammunition amid rising crime fears.

Bolsonaro signed the presidential decree surrounded by supporting lawmakers who applauded and made finger-gun gestures with their hands. It alters a 2003 law on firearms.

The decree “lessens bureaucracy” in the gun market and opens Brazil to firearms and ammunition made outside the South American country, according to a summary of the decree released by the president’s office. The full text of the decree had not yet been published.

The summary said gun owners can now buy between 1,000 and 5,000 rounds of ammunition a year, depending on their license, up from 50 rounds. Lower-ranking military members can now carry guns after 10 years of service.

“Public security starts inside your home,” said Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain who made getting tough on criminals in a country that is the world leader in total homicides a big part of his election campaign.

To own a gun in Brazil, citizens must pass a series of requirements, including a psychological screening and a safety course.

Two weeks into Bolsonaro’s presidency, he signed a decree ending the requirement that gun seekers must formally justify their reason for wanting a gun with the Federal Police, a step that hindered many from legally obtaining firearms.