Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Brazil: Despite Rigorous Gun Control Laws, Brazilians Want a Firearm at Home, Justifiably So

According to EFE, the legal sales of new firearms rose sixfold in Brazil from 5,161 in 2004 to a record 31,500 in 2012, despite legislation enacted 10 years ago that made it more difficult to purchase and possess firearms.

The gun control law initially caused the number of firearms sold in the South American country to fall from 22,269 in 2003 to 5,161 in 2004, yet according to O Globo, the number of Brazilians who have purchased firearms for home protection has dramatically increase, although stiff laws on who can carry a firearm in public is still authorized only for law enforcement, many of whom commit crimes both on and off-duty.

COMMENT: Some 60% of the gun sales made last year were to people who complied with the strict purchase requirements and wanted to have a firearm at home, according to Federal Police statistics.

Unfortunately, Federal Police data does not include the trade in used firearms, weapons smuggled into Brazil or illegal gun sales, which amounts to a considerable number, particularly where the borders of Brazil converge on the majority of most South American countries. 

It is estimated that as many as 9 million of the 17 million firearms in the country have been illegally purchased.

The number of deaths involving firearms in Brazil soared 346.5% over a period of three decades, rising from 8,710 in 1980 to 38,892 in 2010, a study released this year by the Brazilian Center for Latin American Studies and the Latin American School of Social Sciences concluded. 

Considering that foreign nationals, particularly expats and business executives, are an endangered species in Brazil and on most criminals' "to do" list, I strongly suggest that foreigners cultivate rapport with influential Brazilians who might help them join a shooting club where contacts can be made with sellers of firearms and dealers and where reloading supplies can be purchased with governmental approval.

Sad as it is to say, Brazil is one of the most violent countries in the world where possessing firearms skills and having access to a firearm can contribute to living a long life.

No handguns with ammunition more powerful than .38 Special are allowed for civilians. Rifles and carbines are only allowed if they fire handgun ammunition. No center fire semi-automatic long gun (rifled or smooth bore) is permitted. 

A resident must not have, at any given time, more than two handguns, two rifled long guns and two shotguns.

Reloading is permitted only for shooters belonging to a shooting club and reloadind supplies are strictly controlled by the Brazilian Army. Only through a shooting club is it possible to purchase reloading supplies.

Please note that firearms dealers are not permitted to sell used firearms; taxes on new gun sales are 81%, placing most firearms beyond the resources of most citizens.