Brazil: President Bolsonaro Signs Decree Reforming Gun Law

Brazil: President Bolsonaro Signs Decree Reforming Gun Law
Brazil: President Bolsonaro Signs Decree Reforming Gun Law

Arizona -( -President Bolsonaro of Brazil is following President Trump's lead. On January 15, 2019, Jair Bolsonaro kept a prominent campaign promise. He signed a decree modifying the extreme firearms restrictions passed in December of 2003.


Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has signed a decree making it easier for many Brazilians to own a gun – a measure he says will help people defend themselves. The decree establishes wide categories of people who qualify for gun ownership. Those include people living in rural areas, in urban areas with high levels of homicide, business owners, gun collectors and hunters.

In effect, the named categories include all of Brazil.

Citizens will still have to meet the other requirements in the law. Those include training, a psychological exam, and being 25 years of age or older. Legal gun owners must have a clean criminal record, a fixed address, and have gainful employment.

  • The decree increases the license period from 5 to 10 years.
  • The decree automatically renews current licenses for the new period, including licenses that have lapsed.
  • The decree appears to allow reloaded ammunition to be used for training at authorized ranges.
  • The decree allows for possession of firearms at home or businesses.

The most significant reform is the elimination of the subjective “need” requirement to obtain a permit to possess a firearm.

Brazil's constitution grants the President the power to issue provisional decrees, which have the immediate effect of law. The decrees last for 60 days. They require Congressional approval to become permanent. It the Congress does not approve of the order, it can be reissued, but only one time, for another 60 days.

If the decree is not considered by the Congress in 45 days, it moves to the top of the legislative agenda. This provides an incentive for the Congress to act on the decree and gives the President of Brazil considerable power to shape the legislative agenda. The 2003 gun law was put in place by Workers Party President Luiz da Silva, who has since been convicted of corruption. He is serving a 12-year prison sentence. President Bolsonaro's decree is being criticized by both self-defense advocates and those who support the restrictive legislation enacted in 2003.

Anti-gun advocates of the current restrictive law say reforming the restrictions will increase the homicide rate. Brazil currently has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. In 2017, the rate was 30.8 intentional homicides per 100,000 population. The homicide rate rose significantly between 1980 and 2003, then leveled off at close to the current rate. The Homicide rate in 2003 was 28.9 per 100,000. Legal ownership of guns in Brazil is relatively low, at about 3.77 per 100,000. Illegal gun ownership is higher at 4.52 per 100,000, according to the Small Arms Survey. Advocates for self-defense expected the age restriction to be dropped to 21, and allowance made for carrying guns for self-defense. They want Brazil to move in the direction of the United States, with its Second Amendment guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms.

Brazil's murder rate is about six times as much as the murder rate in the United States. President Bolsonaro said that additional changes in the law would be made by the Congress. The decree can be viewed here. It is in Portuguese, but online translations do a fair job.

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.

  • 22 thoughts on “Brazil: President Bolsonaro Signs Decree Reforming Gun Law

    1. I agree with JMR,
      DJT promised to protect the 2A, now he set a terrible precedent.
      The next Democrat President wil order the DOJ to issue a regulation to ban pistol braces and binary triggers.
      All workarounds of the NFA will be gone.
      As a single issue voter, Trump has lost my vote.

      1. Good for you – you have decided against voting for the only politician in 30 years who is cleaning up the mess and fighting back. Give yourself a gold star. And a kick in the A$$.

    2. Brazil had some of the most restrictive gun laws on the planet. You could only have two handguns with a MAXIMUM caliber size was a .38 special in a revolver or a .380 auto in a semi-auto, two shotguns and two rimfire rifles. There was a loophole though that you could have a 44-40 lever action, probably because of all the farmers. The law needed to be changed.

    3. Anyone else catch Brasil’s numbers for gun ownership? Particularly the bit that the ILLEGAL gun ownsership rate/100K is a third higher than the LEGAL gun ownership rate.
      Sounds a lot like CHicago….. as hard as that hellhole has worked to ban guns for so long it seems their murder rates are pretty high, and at least in the nastiest parts of the city illegal guns far outnumber legally owned ones.

      I am heartened when, on occasion, we get to read about some dirtbag with an unlawfully possessed gun (stolen, felon in possession, underage) trying to use it in commission of a serious crime comes up against a rightly armed, skilled, trained citizen who “takes out the trash” in proper fashion. Cirtbags are used to never coming up against an armed citizen, because, being illegal, honest citizens did not carry. But that’s changing, rapidly, in spite of some of the nastiest anti-gun laws in the nation.

    4. The cards are definitely stacking up against Trump because of his anti gun stances and they seem to be growing with the appointment of Barr. Coming from the Bush global organization doesn’t put any feathers in this guy’s hat, either. What to do in 2020 is the question in my mind while I think ahead. I do not want to throw my vote away by just voting for a candidate that might be good but won’t get enough votes to beat Bernie (shudder) or to vote for Trump that has done some good for the country but not good for the 2A. Two years will tell the rest of the story and a lot can develop in that length of time. Back to the subject of the article, I don’t agree that Bolsonaro is following trump’s footsteps.

    5. Trump has prevented knee jerk reactions in Congress.

      The bump stock ban was a common sense reading of existing law.

      Obama perverted the regulatory process to “allow” legislative actions to fix the the “regulatory perversions” that Obama set in motion.

      Obama’s actions would have worked if Hillary had been elected.

      Trump prevented federal legislative overreach by allowing the ATF to re-institute the automatic weapons ban via regulatory action.

      However, draconian gun control measures by many states (New Jersey and Washington state for example) can only be limited by the Second Amendment and the US Supreme Court.

      Six more years should allow Trump time to change the US Supreme Court from a hot bed of activist, Politically Liberal judges to simple Constitutional Constructionists.

      1. Actually Obama’s BATFE got it right, a bump stock does not make a rifle a machine gun. It simply allows a person to pull the trigger faster. The fact is a rifle can be bump fired from the shoulder using the recoil exactly as a bump stock does. With practice, a person can fire a rifle just as fast as a bump stock with nothing more than their finger. So if rate of fire is going to become the new standard, what are we going do, ban people’s fingers? (Go to Youtube and look up Jerry Miculek and bump firing) Bump stocks are a result of the Hughes Amendment to the FOPA. It is this that needs to go, not bump stocks. If someone wants a full auto firearm and have no limitation against such ownership, they should be able to have it. This is still a free country last I looked.

      2. Common sense? No, no it was not, bump stocks are not automatic firearms. There was nothing common sense about that.

        Further using an exectuive decree to do it, to change laws is government overreach.

        Go be an Anti-gunner somewhere else.

        1. Trump did NOT use an executive order to ban bump stocks. Come on, now, READ the papers.

          While BATF are a aprt of the executive branch, and thus can NOT make law as they did, BATF are not the president.

          How likely was COngress to pass a bump stock ban? WHo knows. I’d not seen any indication it was a front and centre issue for them.

          What irks me no end is that the FBI so locked up the scene and investigation of the Las Vegas shootemup not even BATF could get in to run any examinations of trhe weapons alledgedly used, no ballistics testing, nothing. All we have is the (worthless) word of FBI that the perp used bump stocks. NO evidence at all, That, and the FACT that a two bit alphabet soup executive branch agency have effectively enacted law, and one contrary to the Constitutioin.

          I think every candidate for elected office should be required to take a course in basic constitutional law and government, and pass a closed book test as qualification for their candidacy. I doubt even half of the current fed elected officials could pass the exams we had in seventh grade civics class on these things.

          1. That’s a very good idea and should be looked at.There are far to many incompetent people in government.

      3. Really? Explain how redefining what the word semiautomatic means is common sense, especially when your own Federal Agency had previously ruled on it.

        ATF should have NO authority to institute ANYTHING. Under our system of government that is completely the job of Congress which, because they were sniveling cowards, abdicated, and told ATF they could have the authority to make “determinations” NOT laws. When these have been challenged in court ATF has an abysmal record of losing.

        Trump instituted his own “knee jerk” reactions by declaring “National Reciprocity is dead” and doing not one damn thing to promote the Hearing Protection Act. In addition, his promotion of Red Flag Laws and “take the guns now, worry about the courts later” philosophy is the most anti-American, anti-freedom quote ever.

        Did he appoint Conservative SCOTUS Justices, yes, but spare me on any rhetoric that he’s been pro-gun. He, most likely, has been the most anti-gun President in the last 20 years.

      4. @E.Byran Hoover, Trump could have just said No. Creating agency precedent to change definitions of Congressional acts is as bad as Congressional overreach. There is no sense, common or otherwise, in this. It is as if none of the feds have read the Constitution.
        Maybe there should be Con. law and ethics exams before they can hold office. Can’t pass the ethics exam. Sorry you can’t be the himwic bureaucrat, congresspuke, administration NUB, or injustice of the S. CT.

      5. There is and was nothing “common sense” about the new bump stock rule; the previous ruling was correct. There STILL IS a separate pull of the trigger for each successive shot fired – it is just that the movement of the rifle from a spring, etc., storing and releasing the energy of the recoil pushes the trigger forward against the finger. If you don’t hold your finger right, it does not work. Just like a limp-wrist hold will not allow a semi-auto pistol to cycle properly.l

    6. Good job. At least someone in the world realizes that guns are not the problem. Looking forward to seeing stats on violence. If they prove out as hoped it will be another method to prove the anti gunners in this country what fools they are.

    7. How is he following Trumps lead? Trump banned firearm parts and that’s it. His only action on guns so far has been to ban parts.

          1. No kidding, what a story teller! They all lie through their teeth while they smear dogshit over our Bill of Rights.

        1. I missed where he said he was going to ban firearm parts by executive fiat and nominate an anti-gun AG.

          I’m pretty sure I remember him saying the 8 year long attack on our rights was over.

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