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INT’L – GUN RIGHTS – Firearms exports to Brazil surge as gun ownership increases under Bolsonaro

Firearms exports from Austria to Brazil have surged by more than 377% in the first half of this year as gun ownership increases under the South American country’s rightwing president, Jair Bolsonaro. Official data from Brazil’s trade ministry seen by the Guardian shows the renowned Austrian weapons manufacturer Glock exported more than $14.8m of guns from Austria to Brazil in the first six months of 2020, compared with about $3.1m in the same period last year. Glock is Austria’s sole gun exporter. The jump came as gun ownership soared following a series of presidential decrees that have made it easier for Brazilians to buy larger numbers of weapons, ammunition and increasingly powerful guns, including semi-automatic assault rifles. A recent report by the Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo said nearly 140,000 new guns had gone into circulation in Brazil in the first half of 2020 compared with just over 138,000 in the whole of 2018, and fewer than 84,000 in 2016. Federal police figures obtained by the Guardian show that in the first quarter of this year about 60% of newly registered guns in its database were for civilian use. Bolsonaro’s highly controversial relaxation of gun laws – a key pledge in his 2018 campaign – is fuelling fears among experts and campaigners that such moves will add to already shocking levels of violence. Last year there were more than 40,000 murders in Brazil. “Bolsonaro’s moves to make it easier for Brazilians to own guns is a disaster because it floods an already violent society with its main tool for homicides,” said Ivan Marques, an independent arms control expert who chairs the Control Arms Coalition campaign.  [full article]

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