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Sun Jun 23, 2019, 01:40 AM

Bolsonaro's New Security Policy Will Endanger Black and Marginalized Women

Brazil’s new gun legislation and measure package for public security threaten to increase gun deaths and police violence.

Kristina Hinz, OpenDemocracy
June 22, 2019

Today, Brazil is the highest ranked country in the world for homicides and murders by firearm and fifth for female homicides. Black women fall victim particularly often to gun murders: In 2016, 66% of all women killed by a firearm were of color.

While Brazil’s militarized approach to public security has systemically contributed to civilian victimization in armed operations, justified through an “us or them” war rhetoric in the combatting of drug traffic, the Bolsonaro administration has introduced several modifications to the current public security policy which have the capacity to take the already alarming levels of violence against black women and favela residents to a new record level.

These measures boil down to two significant changes in the current legislation: the flexibilization of the legal requirements for purchasing and carrying firearms, implemented through two presidential decrees, and the relaxation of the penalties for excesses committed by security agents, presented in the context of a measure package for public security and currently in progress in the Brazilian Congress.

The Flexibilization of Firearm Legislation
The relaxation of the gun legislation was one of the main pillars of Bolsonaro’s rhetoric during his election campaign. As one of his first acts in office, Bolsonaro established per presidential decree that adult citizens are now allowed to acquire up to four firearms, as long as they are older than 25 years, legally employed, have no outstanding criminal prosecutions or have been convicted, have a fixed residence and have a technical and psychological capacity to use the weapon.


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