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Brazil’s Senate rejects Bolsonaro’s gun decree

June 20, 2019
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends a presidential decree signing ceremony that proposes to make it easier for authorities to sell goods seized from drug traffickers, at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Monday, June 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends a presidential decree signing ceremony that proposes to make it easier for authorities to sell goods seized from drug traffickers, at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Monday, June 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s Senate has rejected a decree by President Jair Bolsonaro that loosened the country’s strict gun laws, dealing a blow to the far-right leader who had lobbied for lawmakers to approve the measure.

Making it easier for private citizens to carry guns was one of Bolsonaro’s campaign promises and his May 7 decree greatly expanded the ability of Brazilians to sell, access and carry firearms.

Bolsonaro had taken to social media to urge lawmakers to support the decree, but they rejected it late Tuesday by a 47 to 28 margin.

The decree now goes to the lower house. For the decree to be killed, both the Senate and the lower house must reject it.

“We hope that the Chamber doesn’t follow in the steps of the Senate and maintains the validity of our decree and defends the right to legitimate defense,” Brazil’s president tweeted after the vote.

The senators who voted against the decree argued that any changes to the nation’s gun laws should pass through congress as a bill.

During his time in Congress, Bolsonaro was part of the pro-gun lobby known as the “bullet caucus”.

Among the decree’s major changes, was to greatly increase the quantity of ammunition gun owners can buy each year and allow Brazilians to own up to four guns without requiring formal clearance from authorities. It also gave them access to higher calibers and allowed new categories of people access to guns without authorization from federal police.

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