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Ammoland Inc. Posted on May 29, 2019 by Dean Weingarten
Brazilian Lawyer Cesar Mello: Watch Brazil, See the Failure of Gun Control
Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Brazilian gun laws are some of the strictest in the world. President Jair Bolsonaro started to reform the administration of the laws in 2019. He did this by using his power of Presidential decrees. This changes the rules of how the law is administered. Much of the abuse under the law was through the administrative rules. Changes to the law must come through the Congress, those changes have not been enacted yet.
Because most Americans do not read Portuguese, Brazilian lawyer and licensed Professional Shooter, Cesar Mello, made a youtube video, in English, to educate the rest of the world about Brazilian gun laws, their history, and what may be expected next.
While Cesar apologizes for his English, it is quite understandable. I contacted Cesar, and he helped clarify the information he is providing.
Because it is not fluent, colloquial, American English, I have condensed and summarized the most interesting and important points Cesar makes. It is worth watching the video, to see the impact of the Brazilian gun laws on the Brazilian population. The video is 30:51 minutes long.
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A major point from Cesar is, prior to 1997, the gun laws in Brazil were almost non-existent. People could buy guns and ammunition easily. Carrying a gun without a permit was not a criminal act. It was like an American civil penalty, similar to a traffic ticket.
In 1997, this changed. The socialist president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, made carrying a gun without a permit a crime.
In 2002, the extreme leftist, Lula de Silva, was elected President. Lula bribed legislators to pass the extremely restrictive Brazilian gun legislation of 2003. Cesar says this is indisputable; it is a matter of public record in Brazil. Lula has been convicted and is serving prison time for corruption, although not the specific corruption involving the gun law.
The 2003 law was extreme.
In 2005, there was a referendum on the total ban of the purchase of guns or ammunition by ordinary Brazilian citizens. It lost by a large margin.
In Brazil, all gun laws are federal. The 2002 law left the administration of the law up to the executive branch. President Lula, having lost the referendum, applied extraordinary bureaucratic restrictions to make it difficult to purchase and own a gun.
First, as mentioned, obtaining a permit to purchase a gun, to keep in the home, was completely at the discretion of the police. A psychological evaluation was required. No criminal conviction, or accusation of a criminal act, was allowed.
The cost of the paperwork is about half the cost of a gun. The documentation is expensive and time consuming to create.
The documents must all be taken to the police, who then evaluate them over a period of months. It commonly takes 8 months to get permission to buy a gun. Then the permission slip must be taken to the gun store, a gun selected, and the document to take possession of the gun obtained. That document takes another four months, typically.
No guns may be imported under the administrative rules, so only Taurus, made in Brazil, is available. Only CBC ammunition is available.
It takes about a year to complete the paperwork, get police permission, and obtain a gun. The permit is good for three years, then the entire process must be done again. If, at any time, the police decide your reason to own a gun is not sufficient, you can be required to turn the gun over to them. The decision that the reason to own a gun is insufficient is completely arbitrary.
To refuse is a serious crime which can result in incarceration. If an illegal gun is used for defense in the home, the homeowner has committed a crime with greater penalties than the criminal who broke into the home.
As with Venezuela, the law put in place by Lula Siva allowed for police discretion. In practice, this meant the politically connected supporters of Lula were able to get permits to have guns, just as in Venezuela, the supporters of Chavez, and now Maduro, are allowed guns.
Crimes of violence in Brazil became extremely brazen, carried out in broad daylight, because the criminals knew law abiding people no longer had guns.
Jair Bolsonaro, the new President of Brazil, known as “Trump of the Tropics”, ran on two promises:
More economic freedom
What is happening now that Jair Bolsonaro is President of Brazil?
With a presidential decree, President Bolsonaro has eliminated the discretionary power of the police to prevent an otherwise qualified individual from buying a gun.
There were complaints this was insufficient. His supporters wanted greater reform, a return to the gun laws before 1997.
In Brazil, as in the United States, the media attack President Bolsonaro daily. They say he is incompetent and cannot govern. The media is attempting to push the President into using bribes, as did his predecessors, to buy votes to get legislation passed. Then they would expose the bribes and use the legal system to drive him from office.
But President Bolsonaro is not taking the bait. He refuses to pay bribes to legislators. He says he will arrest people who ask him for bribes.
Recently, President Bolsonaro issued his second presidential decree about guns. This is legal in Brazil. President Bolsonaro used the same power that President Lula did to enact the absurd administrative rules, to reform them. Bolsonaro overrode the equivalent of police chiefs and sheriffs, which he supervises through the Minister of Justice. In Brazil, if the person supervised has authority to do something (such as issue a permit), the person who supervises them has the same authority.
In his second presidential decree, President Bolsonaro changed the rules so that people in Brazil can buy guns of any common caliber. They can buy ammunition of up to 5,000 rounds, instead of only 50 rounds, per year. He allowed gun owners to transport their guns to ranges and to train with them.
In his second presidential decree about gun laws, President Bolsonaro reversed Lula's decree about eligibility for the carry permit. Lula's decree required people to prove they were at risk; Bolsonaro's decree reverses the burden of proof for certain high-risk groups. Under President Bolsonaro's decree, the police have to prove a member of those groups is *not* at risk, in order to refuse them a permit.
Brazil is a very dangerous country. In 2017 there were over 63,000 murders, 70% of them committed with mostly illegal guns. The police clearance rate for crimes is about 8%. It is impossible for the police to show these high risk groups are not at risk.
The categories of gun owners President Bolsonaro authorized to carry guns are these:
For the first time in 20 years, criminals will not know if the person they are attacking is armed or not. It will create uncertainty and fear in the criminal world. The homicide rate will drop.
The experience of Brazil will prove the restrictive gun laws were about control, not security.
The people of the world need to watch what is happening in Brazil. Brazil's experience will show the false premise of gun control laws.
Cesar Mello, asked that I include information that early reports are showing a 25% drop in Brazil's homicide rate, in the first quarter of 2019. If this trend continues, 16,000 lives will have been saved in the first year of President Bolsonaro's time in office.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.