A School Shooting in Brazil Complicates Bolsonaro’s Push to Ease Gun Laws

Published on World Politics Review

Last week, two gunmen opened fire at a high school near Sao Paulo, killing eight people, including five schoolchildren. The mass shooting has cast a spotlight on the issue of gun control in Brazil, as President Jair Bolsonaro makes a concerted push to relax restrictions on firearms. In an interview with WPR, Robert Muggah, co-founder and research director at the Igarape Institute in Brazil, discusses Brazil’s polarizing debate over guns and how Bolsonaro’s policy initiatives might be affected by the shooting.

World Politics Review: How strict are Brazil’s gun control laws currently, and how well are they enforced?

Robert Muggah: Brazil has imposed relatively strict limits on firearms ownership that include penalties for noncompliance. The most important piece of gun legislation is the 2003 Disarmament Statute, which includes regulations on exporting, importing, marking and registering firearms, as well as commonsense requirements for licensing, ownership and storage. Until recently, only people who are over 25, meet certain psychological standards and are judged fit by the federal police could legally obtain a firearm. Brazil does not allow firearms to be carried in public without special permits.

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