Will Brazil, long having some of the strictest gun control in the world and one of the highest murder rates, finally liberalize its gun laws?

Nov 2, 2015 | Featured


Literally only a few percent of Brazilians are currently legally able to own guns, but Brazil has had one of the highest murder rates in the world (they are 24th in the first figure in this post).  From AFP about a draft law that could be voted on in November:

Brazil, which has one of the highest murder tolls on the planet, could soon end most restrictions on gun ownership, risking what one critic called a “Wild West” scenario. . . .

Under the law, anyone over 21, including people accused of crimes or convicted of less than serious crimes, would be allowed to purchase up to nine firearms a year and 50 rounds of ammunition a month.

State employees and public figures, ranging from government inspectors to politicians, would be authorized to carry arms, as would private citizens often in the public eye such as taxi drivers.

At present, weapons can only be bought legally by people obtaining a license on a case-by-case basis.

Supporters say freeing up gun sales will allow people to protect themselves in a country plagued by violent robbery and intense confrontations between drug gangs and police, with some 40,000 gun-related deaths a year. . . .

From Vice News earlier this year

Firearms are responsible for 116 deaths every day in Brazil, according to a new study — a rate of nearly five people every hour. The Map of Violence 2015, which UNESCO published this week in partnership with the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences and the Brazilian government, calculated that gun violence ended a staggering 42,416 lives in 2012 alone, the most recent year with comprehensive data.

The national mortality rate of 21.9 gun-related fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants — of which nearly 95 percent are homicides, while the balance includes suicides, accidents, and unexplained cases — is the second highest ever recorded in the annual study’s 35-year history.

Nearly 60 percent of the victims were young people aged between 15 and 29 years of age. Black individuals were found to be 142 percent more likely to be shot and killed than those who are white. . . .

If you are interested in learning more about the relationship between guns and homicide rates for countries around the world, this post and this one may be of help.



  1. Saulo Barreiros

    Good Morning, i would like to say that this part of the text:

    “including people accused of crimes or convicted of less than serious crimes, would be allowed to purchase up to nine firearms a year and 50 rounds of ammunition a month.”

    are completely wrong, people accused of crimes don’t be allowed to purchase guns, this are in the text of the project that you could see here: http://www2.camara.leg.br/proposicoesWeb/prop_mostrarintegra;jsessionid=E3C4137DB3729CBCC5C0BF020AA6C5A4.proposicoesWeb1?codteor=1404588&filename=Tramitacao-PL+3722/2012

    • johnrlott

      I agree, but it shows how incredibly bad things are now and how much of an improvement it is.

      • Saulo Barreiros

        Yes, and I agree, the project will bring a significant improvement compared to how are you today

        • Saulo Barreiros

          how are the situation today*

      • João Augusto

        It’s true John, it’s hell here right now. I live in a middle class neighborhood and more than one neighbor got shot to death already. Criminals have no fear of going to jail at all, because we have not only gun-control, but a justice criminal that is overwhelmingly pro-criminal in it’s penalties, rules, etc. Only around 10% of murder cases are even investigated, maximum penalty is 30 years, most get out after 1/3 of their penalty due to “good behavior”, criminal minors get at most 3 years and no criminal record, we can’t have guns even though we voted against disarmament, etc. It’s a complete hellhole and it’s infuriating to see!

        If you guys could explain how our law changes to americans I’d be grateful, since the only people talking about this great law change in english are gun-grabbers

        • João Augusto

          And like another guy said we don’t even have a castle doctrine or stand your ground! the few people who manage to defend themselves are some of the few that are actually punished for a “crime”. No wonder we have a saying that goes “the police arrests, courts set free”, our laws are complete nonsense

  2. Magdiel Soares

    It is horrible. People feel afraid to walk in the streets.

  3. Parnell

    50 rounds a month is not exactly a sufficient amount for achieving competency. Especially if you can buy 9 guns a year.

    • laercio

      No. You understood it wrong! By now, theoretically by law, yo can posses a maximum fo 6 guns: 2 rifles, 2 handguns and 2 shotguns. It is not the amount allowed to by in an year, it is the maximum number of guns that you can have. By the new law, that number may be raised to 9.

  4. Ana H. Jackson

    Just remember: In Brazil, the citizen who obeys the law can not have guns.
    So all guns in Brazil that are used for homicide are illegal. (Or for any violation of the law.)

    Brazilian police also manages to solve only 8% of homicides … cops who kill a criminal respond to a trial in prison … Punishments justice are all relative. 18 minors are never arrested, can kill all you want … but that’s what certain political groups want and support. They do not want to change the law. Latin America still has a socialist revolutionary political wave, you know? So it takes a bit of chaos for it. It’s kind of intentional, you know? =)

    Remember also that in Brazil do not allow the defense of property and life. If any citizen to kill someone who breaks into your property or attempt to kill a member of your family, will account for “attempted murder because it took the risk of killing”. (Even if this is done with a knife.) This citizen will be arrested for sure.

    No permission to defend themselves in Brazil. In Brazil there is no understanding of freedom and individual rights. All politicians and the media think only with the filter socialist collective.

    Brazil is an extremely vigilant paternalistic socialist state that wants to have every centimeter control the lives of their citizens and tell them what they should or should not do. So there are armed guerrilla groups that invade land and urban properties. These groups are supported by various political parties, including the presidencial.

    Remember also that Brazil is the paradise of the Democratic Party: there are only progressive parties, the center-left and communists (Throughout this political situation that extends to any country on the continent, there is a fight to form a new USSR in America South. We have groups here as UNASUR and the Sao Paulo Forum, and some other revolutionary groups that hold meetings to plan the dream of “Grande Patria”).
    Yes, the progressive intellectuals managed a blow to the population, universities and institutions. The advantage is that these people do ideology with the economy, and then can bankrupt the country.
    We are trying to react, but it is very difficult because the population is alone. No article is published in the media about us. We are hidden in major media, we only exist on the internet. Find out about the social movements that support the impeachment for you to have a notion.

    In all this, we turn to what Marco Rubio said:
    you tu . be / 4nPTwBqvuj4

    That’s just a little honesty that sometimes lacking in some speeches or analyzes…

    • ObrigadoServo

      Brazil is not part of Spanish America
      It is Portuguese America which makes it Celtic America
      Learn your facts first

  5. Neil Wix

    How in the world is anyone expected to train enough to become proficient in the use of a firearm with only 50 rounds per month? 10 times that amount might be reasonable if you absolutely must place a restriction on the amount of ammunition one is permitted to purchase.

    • Otavio

      Training in Shooting Ranges and Gun Clubs with bullets provided by the. Yyou are technically using their rounds, not yours.

    • Arthur Franzen

      The restriction doesn’t apply to shooting clubs, where you can shoot as much as you like, since the rounds are providaded by the club itself. This way you can effectively practice there and keep your all-too-precious 50 rounds for those times you really need them.

      I do agree, though, that an ammo restriction is plain dumb.

  6. Craig

    Most crime in Brasil is the direct results of extreme poverty and drugs, such as crack cocaine. Brasil as a whole is a very friendly country full of peaceful fun loving people.

  7. Paulo Roberto

    We want back our right to own guns for self defense!
    Nobody wants to go to streets and do justice by killing thieves! We just want to have an opportunity to defend ourself and our family!
    This right was taken from us since 2003 when Lula was the president! Then in 2005 he completely ignored the referendum when 64% of the votes were to settle back our right to own guns! Is that to represent the people?? Or is this to make things easy to the criminals???!
    They say that today we already are able to register and buy a gun. Yeap, it´s writen in this current law … BUT all the federals (who emit these licenses) are instructed to not do so. One of the benefits to the citizen in this new law to be voted are a VERY CVEAR DEFINITION ON WHO AND THE NEEDS for one to be able to receive a license to own/carry a gun.
    We just want back right our right!

  8. Fabiola Carvalhinho

    We will fight against the Brazilian Socialist Government. Unarmed population is easy to maneuver. Guns will be allowed ONLY for people with NO CRIMINAL records, the article is not correct.

  9. Rich Figueroa

    I live in the USA but my wife is Brazilian she lives in the USA .
    We go to Goiânia Brazil 3 times a year we have property there.
    In the USA I have a concealed weapons carry permit because it is my constitutional right to bear arms.
    I feel if Brazilian citizens where allowed to bear and carry guns the crime rate especially murder by handgun would go down.
    The criminals in Brazil know legal law abiding citizens in most do not have or carry a handgun yet the criminals obtain illegal handguns on the streets . They the criminal take advantage of Brazil current laws and perpetrate robbery and attacks against unarmed citizens. If the criminals knew that the Brazilian citizens where legally armed they would think twice before they tried to attack a legally armed citizen ….PASS THE LAW

    • Vladimir Ulyanov

      “A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniencies, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them, who dares say to reason, ‘Be thou a slave;’ who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.

      The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.”

      Italian criminologist, Cesare Becaria, often quoted by Thomas Jefferson

  10. Paul Velte

    Can we have an update on t his article? What was the result of the effort to liberalize the laws in Brazil? Was a vote had in their legislature? This issue is coming to the fore with the extreme violence surrounding the Olympics in Rio.

    • johnrlott

      I don’t know if you have been following the impeachment of the Brazilian president, but politics in Brazil has been frozen for months.

    • João Augusto

      Still wasn’t voted. Some guy tried to rewrite it to make it worse than what it says in this article, but he mostly failed.

      I think we could pass it in the house nowadays, but the Senate is still awful. We didn’t vote in anything serious during the impeachment season (btw good riddance for us), but we might get to vote this law next year or after the next elections in 2018.

      If it passes our main defenders of the right to bear arms (a man named Bené Barbosa who btw sells translated copies of Dr. Lott’s books -among other great activities- and actually has a fact-based approach to the issue) and his MVB group (Movimento Viva Brasil), and others like Instituto Defesa, etc, will probably go for changing taxes on firearms (expensive), pro-firearm campaigns, and expanding the law so it’s better for law-abbiding people.

      To change what calibers we can use we need to convince the army to change it’s regulations, and they have a mixed record when it comes to this.

      Most lawmakers supporting this law strongly are themselves former law enforcement officers or former military officers. One of the few good unions in the country (a union of the federal police in the south) supports it too, curiously.

  11. RV

    “Brazil, which has one of the highest murder tolls on the planet, could soon end most restrictions on gun ownership, risking what one critic called a “Wild West” scenario. . . .”

    It never ceases to amaze me that with the evidence right in front of your face, even coming right out of your mouth, that anti-gun zealots just can’t see the truth. As you said, Brazil has long had some of the strictest gun laws in the world. And that didn’t decrease their murder rate. In fact, the rate went up when they passed these laws, not down. The same thing happened in the mid 1990s in the UK, which saw its murder rate double over the next 5 years, and only brought it under control by hiring tens of thousands of additional police and saturating their public spaces with police video surveillance.

    And yet, over the same period, the only major change to gun laws in the US was to largely do away with permitting laws for purchase and pass concealed carry in every state. The result? Blood running in the streets as predicted by the anti-gun zealots? Nope. Our murder rate dropped to record lows, decreasing at least twice as fast as that of any country that passed restrictive gun laws over the same period.

    Like here, Brazil’s murder problem is highly restricted to its poorer minority ghettos. And if we didn’t count these areas, the US would have a murder rate as low or lower than most European countries. Why? Because, here and in Brazil, the system is rigged to force people in these areas to either depend on a largely corrupt and ineffective government for virtually everything, including protection, or become criminals and take care of themselves. And gun laws are a perfect example. First, such laws make it virtually impossible for a poor black person in either country to legally own a gun. The restrictive fees, requirements for documentation and administrative processing (just like with voter ID laws), etc., are designed specifically to keep the poor from having access. So the very people far most likely to need a gun for protection are the ones specifically prevented by such laws from having access.

    Meanwhile, even in the most gun-restrictive states (as is true in Brazil as a whole), rich, politically connected white people are not only able to easily get guns, but often even have specific allowances in the law to give them special access to them, despite the fact that they are the least likely people to ever be victims of any form of violent crime. Most restrictive gun laws in the US were passed during the Jim Crow era, and were at the time openly sold to the public as anti-minority measures, including those in California, New York, and Massachusetts. They were designed from day-one to be racist laws that suppressed the most disadvantaged communities and favored the elites. That’s why restrictive gun laws have never correlated with reduced murder rates in any country or state where they’ve been passed. And Brazil is a perfect example of how poorly they work.

    • laercio

      I fully agree with your perfect observation!
      Here we say… Our government imposes difficulties by law, to keep the politician’s corrupted sell of law circumvention procedures


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