Murder Rates Drop in Bolsonaro’s Brazil: More Guns, Less Crime

Murder Rates Drop in Bolsonaro's Brazil: More Guns, Less Crime
Murder Rates Drop in Bolsonaro’s Brazil: More Guns, Less Crime

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil -( During the first two months of President Bolsonaro’s term, the Brazilian murder rate fell by 25%.  From

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The murder rates in Brazil for January and February this year were 25 percent lower compared to the same period last year, according to G1’s national homicide index. The index is based on official data from the 26 states and the Federal District.

Jair Bolsonaro was elected President of Brazil on 28 October 2018. President Bolsonaro has been adamant about reforming Brazil’s extreme gun laws, to allow more Brazilians to defend themselves.

Did President Bolsonaro’s reform policies in favor of self-defense cause the drop in murder rates? The answer is complicated. Bolsonaro’s policies probably had a positive effect.

President Bolsonaro’s opponents have routinely predicted that homicides would increase because of his reforms of Brazil’s gun laws.  From, in March 2019, before the new statistics were out:

But even if the law doesn’t pass, the presidential decree already represents a step backward for public security in Brazil. Broadening access to guns puts men, women and children at higher risk of lethal violence. Bolsonaro and other gun advocates say that more armed citizens will deter shootings, but there is simply no hard evidence that loosening restrictions on firearms improves public safety or security. In fact, research from IPEA shows that for every 1 percent increase in the number of firearms in circulation in Brazil, there is a 2 percent increase in homicides. In most other countries as well, there is a similar relationship between permissive gun laws and gun-related homicides.

Note the last sentence in the quote above. The author is not talking about a decrease in homicides, rather a decrease in gun-related homicides.

Those who wish a disarmed population assume that more guns = more crime. But numerous studies show there is no clear relationship. Some studies, done by John Lott and others show more guns = less crime. The effects are not extreme, but the overall trend shows a decrease in violent crime when more people are armed. Many studies show no relationship between guns and overall murder rates.

Decreasing gun-related homicides is ineffective if the overall homicide rate remains the same or increases. Much of the argument about restrictive gun law is about substitution effects. It does not matter to a murder victim if they are killed with a bomb or knife instead of a gun.  Making guns harder to get can also mean making victims easier to kill because they are unarmed.

President Bolsnaro issued his first decree reforming some of Brazil’s extreme gun laws on 15 January 2019. How could his decree have such a dramatic effect in such a short time? It is unlikely that the total number of Brazilians with legal guns increased significantly in from January 15th to the end of February.

The answer is an inversion of the copycat effect. Just as some people are more likely to commit horrific crimes because of media publicity, criminals are less likely to commit a violent crime if they perceive the risk to be great because of media coverage.

When President Bolsonaro was elected, the publicity of his desired reform of the gun laws was tremendous. His actual reform decree on 15 January was widely reported all over the world.

Potential murders and violent criminals watch TV, listen to the radio, and surf the Internet.

When their perception is that crime has a greater risk, crime rates decrease.

There are historical examples that illustrate this effect. When women were widely reported to receive firearms training in Orlando, Florida, in 1966, the number of rapes decreased by 88% in the next year. There were similar effects when Kennesaw Georgia received substantial publicity for an ordinance requiring a gun in the home (an 89% decrease in residential burglaries). Several other instances are cited by Professor Gary Kleck in his seminal work, Point Blank, Guns and Violence in America.

In order to continue the initial drop in homicides, Brazil will need to reinforce the perception that violent crimes have become more dangerous.

The high level of reporting, as President Bolsonaro reinforces his push to reform the extreme gun laws, should help.  There was worldwide coverage of his second reform decree on 7 May 2019.

President Bolsonaro can assist by keeping the gun law reforms in the news.

The media in Brazil should publish stories of citizens purchasing guns, citizens receiving gun training, and successful instances of citizens using guns for defense of self, others, and their homes.

By the end of 2019, we will see if the experiment in reducing homicides by reforming the gun laws to make self-defense easier, has had an effect.

Over the long term, more Brazilians will need to be armed and capable of defending themselves on the street to sustain changes in how criminals perceive the risks of violent crime.

About Dean Weingarten: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.

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I live in Paraná, Brazil, and in my state only there was a 90% increase in orders to buy guns. Outlaws know that, and they are not stupid to pay to see if the houseowner has a gun or not now. Doubt creates fear. The next step is to permit the general public to carry guns, so if this happens, even crime on the streets like car jacking and others will decrease as well, once you can defend yourself. In fact there are many new videos out here showing armed resistance by the common citizen, not by off duty cops.

Eric J

The Mayans were a gun free zone when the Conquistadors showed up… (It was a teaching moment.)

Wild Bill

J, I am sure that you meant Aztecs or Incas. But an excellent observation, none the less!


Thanks for prompting a little self-lesson in history. Looks to me like any of the three works equally well for Eric’s purpose. And while we’re at it, I’m sure you meant “nonetheless”. 🙂

Robert Messmer

The politicians and police of Chicago always blame the violence on “how easy guns are to come by”. Not the guns in Illinois of course because of the Draconian anti-gun laws here. No, those easy, violent guns are, according to media reports, all from Indiana. They way they talk about it one would think that you can walk into any 7-11 and buy a machine gun with no ID required.


While I’m a firm believe in this sort of thing and carry daily, every time I leave my home, I don’t believe 6-8weeks is a statically significant period& would like to see the data collection methods used, experiment design & see a 12-60mo long study to document this for more conclusive findings. As I feel this would still show up, but a long term study would provide stronger evidence for this position given their are minimal flaws in data collection and experiment design, thus making it less harder to refute by the anti-gun leftists. As Dr john lott sums up… Read more »

Jack Kardic

Okay, that’s nifty, but he’s also ordered dozens of human rights violations and he’s a gnat’s ass away from becoming the new Pinochet.


which human rights violations? …an example please, don’t lie, don’t lie !

You talk about and you don’t know ! …you is a leftist, only this.

#Trump2020 #Bolsonaro2022


You are a special kind of stupid that needs to be removed from mortality.


Comments like that are exactly the reason there’s a growing gun control movement in the U.S., Steve.

Marcelo Strat

Spot on!

Heed the Call-up

Mike, a growing gun control movement? That’s quite humorous given the fact that over the past several decades many states have liberalized firearm laws to the point that about half are “Shall Issue” and over 16 are “Constitutional Carry”. The other 8 states have highly restrictive firearm laws and keep adding more. However, their more restrictive laws have done nothing to prevent criminals from committing crimes.

Ram Muchewicz

Kennesaw, Georgia enacted their firearms ownership (non-enforceable) law directly after
Morton Grove, illinois banned firearms ownership. I only mention this to make Mr. Weingarten’s
point. Morton Grove recorded an immediate and lasting increase in crime.
Whereas Kennesaw achieved a completely opposite outcome.

110% American

Wonder what can be done to help MEXICO and HONDURAS?

Wild Bill

110%, We could make them states!

George Steele

I think the most interesting effect is that murder rates dropped even without a major increase in gun possession – just the fact that criminals are made aware that guns are more available to the public changes the calculus of the risk/reward in their minds. I suspect that as more Brazilian citizens come to own guns, and more stories emerge about successful defenses by citizens against crime, the rate will continue to descend. I say this because that is our experience in America – the areas of greatest violence are areas with strict gun laws, and low citizen gun ownership… Read more »


On top of what you wrote, there’s also an enormous shift in how the police force deal with criminality, no more BS Humans Right and leftist agenda defending criminals demanding punishment for the officers for doing their job.


Those who wish the people to be disarmed and helpless will find any excuse to refute reality.
More Guns, Less Crime. by John Lott


“A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie.” — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Concerned citizen

The anti-gun news media will twist this around to promote more laws to restrict ownership of firearms. It’s just like here, the gun banning cults say a shooting within 2 or 3 miles of any nearby school to be a school shooting, it didn’t happen at the school but it was several miles away so that makes it a school shooting. most street gangs are teenagers and they have turf wars with other street gangs over drug dealing etc. but the news media reports it as a school shooting. And the democrats are hell bent on banning all guns in… Read more »


and that perverse thinking was the origin of the FIRST gin control laws in the US.. It was an attempt to prevent “negroes” from owning guns, thus enabling themselves to “level the playing field” as against certain factions that wanted them gone, or at least so scarce and powerless as to be almost gone, and certainly not a force with which to be reckoned. “Reconstrruction” in the former Confederate States of America was little short of a wholesale continuance of the war of northern aggression. Next gun control law of note was the Sullivan act, about 1911 I think, wherein… Read more »


I was anxiously awaiting some reporting on crime and guns coming from Brazil. It appears from this report that more access to guns results in less crime. That is the trend reported worldwide. Too bad the MSM will not acknowledge the stats and continues on with its biased coverage.

Get Out

Murder Rates Drop in Bolsonaro’s Brazil: More Guns, Less Crime? Can’t wait for the anti-gunners to see this and try to spin it.


MSM will not put a spin on it, they will never report it!


That’s ‘IF’ they get to see it. You know the media.


They already tried to spin it – “In most other countries as well, there is a similar relationship between permissive gun laws and gun-related homicides.” Obviously, they have not looked at this data in US Cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, D.C. and New York. Cities with the highest crime rates in the country with the most restrictive gun laws.