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  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro signed a gun decree that allows civilians to buy and use military rifles.

    Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro signed a gun decree that allows civilians to buy and use military rifles. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 May 2019 (9 hours 18 minutes ago)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree this month losing civilian access to military-style weapons.  

Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree this month which will allow citizens to possess rifles with four times the amount of firepower

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Before the decree, the possession of all weapons with firing projectile above 407 joules (the amount of energy released at the moment of firing) was restricted to state security forces. Bolsonaro's decree allows the public to purchase the T4 rifle, a 5.56 caliber weapon with a force of 1320 joules. 

​​​​​The T4, manufactured by the company Taurus, said it has a waiting list of two thousand people waiting for the okay to buy the semi-automatic version of the hand-held weapon and that they could be delivered within three days.

The Ministry of Defense has not commented about the decree yet other than to say it is looking into a report on the presidential measure. 

According to Bene Barbosa, a weapons specialist and member of the Free Brazil Movement that seeks to give citizens access to firearms told local press the T4 will have a "burst option" but will provide a single shot.

"The T4 is an assault rifle. ... The version that will be available to civilians does not have the burst option. It has a single shot. And, yes, if the citizen meets all legal requirements he or she will be able to have one at home,” Barbosa said.

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In addition to the rifle, pistols of caliber .40, .45 and 9 mm will also now be available for public purchase.

The Federal Public Ministry has requested the suspension of the decree and there are currently, there are three cases against the decree in Brazil's Federal Court, and three in the Federal Supreme Court (STF).

Barbosa defends the president's regulation saying, "criminals never had any problem in acquiring any type of weapon or any type of caliber. They were never restricted. Citizens and even policeman have always been restricted and haven't had access to the arms the criminal has. So, I think (this measure) is extremely positive."

Ignacio Cano, coordinator of the Laboratory of Analysis of Violence at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Uerj) said that the sale of the rifle is a serious problem for public safety.

"The sale of rifles to the civilian population is an extreme measure that does not exist in almost any country in the world, except for the United States, which represents a risk to the population as these weapons have a greater power of destruction,” Cano told Brazilian media.

The expert also said in Rio de Janeiro rifles symbolize rampant violent crime and he is afraid that if the rifles are commercialized, some will fall into the wrong hands.

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