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Montevideo, September 25th 2023 - 03:12 UTC



Brazil STF Justice Weber halts Bolsonaro's easing on firearms, pending plenum ruling

Tuesday, April 13th 2021 - 08:29 UTC
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“Guns acquired legally end up being diverted to crime...,” Justice Weber said. “Guns acquired legally end up being diverted to crime...,” Justice Weber said.

Justice Rosa Weber of Brazil's Supreme Federal Court (STF), Monday issued a provisional preemptive injunction against parts of decrees from President Jair Bolsonaro which enabled or facilitated the acquisition and use of firearms by regular people.

The magistrate's ruling is valid only until the country's highest court examines the case and delivers a plenum decision. The other members of the court are to start analyzing the case separately this coming Friday and will have one week to cast their votes on the Court's electronic system, without the need to meet to discuss the issue.

The decrees were to become effective this Tuesday.

The main parts Weber ruled against were those which would take away from the Army the control over “ammunition projectiles for small arms or portable weapons, up to a maximum caliber of 12.7 mm,” “machines and presses (…) for reloading ammunition,” “optronic sights, holographic or reflective” and “telescopic sights,” together with the need for prior registration to practice recreational shooting at clubs; the one that simplified documentation for of up to six firearms for civilians and eight for State agents and the lifting of the requirement of psychological validation by a licensed Federal Police professional for the use of guns.

Bolsonaro had also intended collectors, snipers and hunters, known by the acronym CAC to be allowed to prove their ability to handle firearms by means of a sports shooting instructor's report and to no longer need the Army's authorization to purchase guns and ammunition and the amounts thereof. Firing ranges were also to benefit from the lifting of those caps.

The President's orders also set a minimum age for taking shooting lessons at 14 and extended gun licenses of local jurisdiction to nationwide validity, also allowing CACs to carry loaded weapons;

Weber found Bolsonaro's executive orders were at odds with the arms control and inspection system established by the Disarmament Act, and with the duty to promote public security and the right to life.

The judge highlighted the principle whereby a presidential decree cannot go beyond what is provided for by law of Parliament, while Bolsonaro had claimed his orders were mere by-laws to the Disarmament Act.

“Numerous studies, national and international, public and private, supported by a significant majority of the world's scientific community, reveal an unequivocal correlation between facilitating the population's access to firearms and the diversion of these products to criminal organizations, militias and criminals in general, through thefts, robberies or clandestine commerce, further increasing the general rates of property crimes, violent crimes and homicides,” Weber said in her ruling.

”It seems unreasonable and disproportionate to give ordinary people, perhaps without adequate training, the ability to carry weapons in an amount comparable to that used by the military or police in their functional activities. I understand that the free movement of armed citizens, carrying with it multiple firearms, undermining the values of public security and the defense of peace, creating social risk incompatible with the constitutionally enshrined ideals that express, for example, the right of all to meet, in open and open spaces. public, peacefully and without weapons,“ she added.

“Guns acquired legally end up being diverted to crime through theft ... [or] by the creation of a clandestine secondary arms resale market by the original owners,” she went on.
The leftwing parties (PSB, Rede Sustentabilidade, PT, PSOL and PSDB ) which had sought the intervention of the STF had the full suppression of all four orders in mind. But Justice Weber declined to go to those lengths, arguing that, if she did, sections would also be suspended that only “reproduce the administrative model in force since 2004”, which “could establish an anomie situation within the scope of the National Weapons System” .


Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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