SAO PAULO (AP) – Katia Sastre was on her way to school with her 7-year-old child in the violent town of Susano, near Sao Paulo, when she saw a young man shooting a gun at other parents at the school entrance.
Within seconds, he pulled the .38 special he had taken in his bag.
The three shots fired by the outgoing police officer killed the Magi that morning in May 2018, beginning his transformation into a beacon for the weaker weapons control champions. Security camera footage won medals, a social media star, and a congressional run on the same Conservative channel that lifted pro-gun legislator Air Bolsonaro from the sidelines to the presidency.
Now a lawmaker himself, he supports Bolsonaro supplying firearms to any Brazilian who wants one, rejecting public security experts’ concerns about the president’s four recently issued decrees on weapons. They will take effect next month until Congress or the courts intervene.
“Brazilians want to protect themselves because they feel insecure about crime,” Sastre told the Associated Press, blaming the 2003 disarmament law on the escalation of violence in Brazil, which killed more than 65,000 people. “The weapons used in those murders were not in the hands of the citizens”; “They came illegally from traffickers.”
Sastre is a minority of Brazilians, almost three-quarters of whom want to enact stricter gun laws, according to a recent poll. However, the unpopular offer is one of Bolsonaro’s top priorities for deploying his recently replenished political capital, and in the worst of the Brazilian epidemic, some 1,800 people die every day.
– Anti-Yenik activists, the former Minister of Defense, former high-ranking police officers, including the former Secretary of National Security, warn that the decrees will only increase the number of bodies.
The two most controversial decrees will increase the number of weapons that the average Brazilian can have, from six to currently four, allowing them to carry two at a time. The police, the main supporters of the president, may have eight firearms if the orders are carried out.
Ilona Sabo, director of the igarape Institute for Security in Rio de Janeiro, has been pushed back by Bolsonaro’s attempts to get more weapons from the Brazilians. Nominated for the National Security Council, he faced a flood of threats from Bolsonaro devotees and was forced to flee the country. From abroad, he urges lawmakers and the country’s Supreme Court to overturn the measures.
Court judges are expected to rule on the first of at least 10 of the challenges in a few weeks.
“Those decrees have no technical substantiation. “It is obvious that they are tightening the police; they may eventually contribute to criminal organizations,” Sabo said.
The death toll from gunshot wounds increased by 6% per year from 1980 to 2003, when the Disarmament Act was passed. After that, the index fell by 0.9% until 2018, when it was fully implemented, according to the IPEA State Atlas of Violence Research Institute. “It shows that fewer weapons means fewer deaths,” Sabo said.
And although the killings have risen to 2017, they fell in 2018 before any measures to ease gun control.
Bolsonaro’s pro-gun stance was the trademark of his legislator for seven terms. In July 2018, he shocked opponents by teaching a young child how to make the finger gun mark representing his presidential campaign.
When he took office in January 2019, a man could have had two weapons, but he had to go through a difficult process, checking the criminal case, employment, psychological and physical fitness, as he wrote in a statement explaining the need for weapons.
The decrees, passed in May 2019, allowed rural landowners to carry weapons over their property, increase annual arms allocations, and allow registered shooters and hunters to move weapons from their homes to the borders.
Last month, the Igarape Institute and the Sou da Paz Institute for the Study of Violence said Brazilians had nearly 1.2 million legal weapons in their possession, up 65% from the previous month of Bolsonaro’s tenure.
Bolsonaro, a former Army captain who longs for Brazil’s three decades of military rule, has said he wants to arm civilians to prevent a dictatorship. He suggested that armed citizens could counteract the restrictions on local government activities during the epidemic.
“Armed people will finish all the games for all those who need to stay home,” the president said on the eve of Christmas.
The decrees also allow local councils of psychologists to authorize members of the shooting range to possess weapons rather than experts selected by the Brazilian Federal Police. And they are avoiding the control of the army over the sale of bullets of a few caliber, which makes it difficult for them to do so.
These are welcome prospects for people like Eduardo Barzani, president of the Americana Shooting Club in a suburb of S Պo Paulo. Before the practice session, while covering his semi-automatic rifles and making protective goggles, he explained why he was happy with Bolsonaro’s move to loosen control.
“Gun embers are like cell phones. “Maybe the person behind them is,” Barzani said. “What the government is doing is benefiting our sport, giving ordinary citizens the right to defend themselves.”
Former Secretary of Public Security Jose Vicente da Silva admits that the decrees will help the responsible owners, but says that they will also help to get the wrong weapon. A month after taking the oath of office as Sastri’s legislator, students at the school he once attended were shot dead. The attackers used weapons purchased online.
“Nobody needs six or eight weapons for defense, because there is no obvious reason to give so many weapons to snipers and hunters,” said Silva, who retired from Sao Paulo State Police after three decades of service. “Decisions make it almost impossible for police to return fire with bullets or weapons.” “If this goes ahead, we will have stockpiles of weapons, many of which have been bought by organized crime.”
Some analysts have feared that riots in the US Capitol in January could spark an armed uprising by Bolsonaro supporters if he fails to win next year ‘s second term.
Bolsonaro’s son-in-law, Eduardo, a staunch supporter of weapons and a former federal police officer, visited the White House on the eve of the riots. He later denied any involvement in the attack.
During a visit to Jerusalem on March 8, Eduardo Bolsonaro told the newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo that if unrest broke out in the United States, they would be able to take the Capitol, listen to their demands, have “minimal military force” to avoid them. from the victims. In 2018, he said, only two soldiers would be needed to close the Supreme Court.
Statements by other analysts at Igarape’s Szabó warn that the risks to democracy in Brazil are higher than in the United States.
“This rhetoric of politicizing the issue, when the president says he will arm citizens from blockades or electoral fraud, is Trump’s model,” Sabo said. “We saw what happened during the Capitol invasion, the death toll. It could have been worse. “
Arms sales in the United States reached a record high after the riots in January, continuing the record growth that began with the outbreak of the epidemic. Gun sales have risen sharply in recent years amid fears that the new administration could change its gun laws. US President Biden has backed arms control measures, such as the “arms offensive” ban.
In Brazil, both the speaker of the House and the president of the Senate took office last month with the support of Bolsonaro. Congressional analysts say the president is unlikely to address the issue he sees as so popular. The opposition is not strong enough to gather enough votes to overthrow the orders.
On Sunday, caravans of Bolsonaro supporters roamed the streets of major cities. Pictures posted on social media show some people holding guns near their car windows.
“It simply came to our notice then. “This is a political relief that is really serious,” said Raul Jungman, a former defense and public security minister. “Arming the population is always done by serving coups, massacres, genocides, dictatorships.”