Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed an executive order restricting civilian access to firearms on Friday in order to limit increased gun ownership, which was prominent under former President Jair Bolsonaro, seeing an increase in over 600,000 registered firearm owners.
Bolsonaro had previously loosened laws concerning “hunters, marksmen, or collectors” (CAC), increasing the limits to 30 firearms and freeing up rules regarding restricted firearms. Bolsonaro claimed that this increase in firearm ownership led to a decrease in violent crime in the nation, resulting in a lower murder rate during his time in office.
Lula’s restrictions target these groups, minimizing the once-limit of 30 firearms to just six while also limiting ammunition and requiring clearance from the state’s environmental protection agency, Ibama. The President enforced the restriction via executive order, fulfilling a long-standing goal of his presidency to curb the loose gun laws of Bolsonaro, which he claims contributed to the siege on Congressional buildings in the capital following Bolsonaro’s loss of the 2022 election.
“It is one thing for a citizen to have a gun at home for protection and assurance, but we cannot allow there to be arsenals of weapons in people’s hands,” Lula said during a speech announcing the restrictions. “We will continue to fight for a disarmed country. The Brazilian police have to be well armed. It is the Brazilian Armed Forces.”
Lula also transferred responsibility for civilian weapons control from the army to the federal police, due to the army being criticized for weak oversight, incomplete databases, little transparency, and poor information sharing with law enforcement agencies.
The 9mm handgun, a popular choice for those who own CAC permits, will no longer be accessible to civilians. The restrictions also closed a loophole that allowed many gun owners to go out in public with loaded weapons if they claimed to be going to a gun club. Gun owners who bought their weapons during the previous administration will not be forced to give them up; however, Lula envisages a buyback program starting this year.