Brazil is very near to becoming something of a gun rights unicorn, that’s a country in which citizens have had their rights harshly restricted, but then they have taken them back.
With the election of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilians are optimistic that they’ll be allowed, once again, greater freedom to protect themselves on streets that have become some of the most violent in the world.
Despite strict gun control, Brazil’s murder rate is six times higher than that of the United States. Cartels have been battling each other on the streets, endangering disarmed innocents caught in the middle of their wars.
Law abiding Brazilians want to fight back, and they are now hoping to get their chance. The New York Times reports:
For Natalia and Rubens Ortega, the only remaining question is: Glock or Taurus?
The young couple signed up for a gun-training course at a shooting club in São Paulo just days after Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former Army captain, was elected Brazil’s next president on the strength of his promise to upend the status quo and combat crime.
For a population angered by the last few years of political and economic turmoil and worried by escalating violence, Mr. Bolsonaro’s vow to break with Brazil’s restrictive attitude toward weapons and make it easier for “good guys” to own guns was particularly resonant.
“We want to get back in practice so we can buy a pistol when it happens,” said Mr. Ortega, who has joined a wave of Brazilians preparing for a widely expected relaxing of gun restrictions. “We just can’t decide which one.”
Mr. Bolsonaro’s tough-on-crime stance helped catapult him to the head of a splintered race in a country reeling from a record-level epidemic of violence. Last year there were roughly 175 homicides per day in Brazil, according to the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety. Often simulating gunfire with his fingers at campaign rallies, Mr. Bolsonaro said he would combat the homicide epidemic by easing firearm laws and giving the police more freedom to shoot suspects.
“We have to stop this politically correct thing, saying that disarming everyone will make Brazil a better place — it won’t,” Mr. Bolsonaro said in his first post-election television interview, pointing out that the strict regulations now in place have failed to stem the flow of firearms into the hands of criminals.
Read more here.
The Brazilian experience is evidence that giving up your gun rights to the government will not make you safer. The best way to protect yourself is to protect your rights. Read my series, Get Your Guns and Your Training Now to prepare you to take your personal safety into your own hands.