Brazil’s Bolsonaro Ends Import Tax on Guns

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro points to the press as he refers to his recovery from COVID-19 and his past as an athlete, during a ceremony coined "Brazil winning COVID-19" at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
AP Photo/Eraldo Peres

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will end the import tax on firearms from January onwards, as well as a variety of other products, he announced Wednesday.

“The Foreign Trade Chamber [CAMEX] issued a resolution to eliminate the Arms Import Tax Rate (revolvers and pistols),” Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter, alongside a picture of himself at a firing range. “The measure comes into effect on January 1, 2021.”

Bolsonaro also confirmed the removal of taxes on 509 products, ranging from medicines to fight the Chinese coronavirus, cancer, and HIV to agricultural products such as rice, soybeans, and corn. He added that other products are currently under review.

“A united Brazil, with the help of all our people, can achieve great things!” he signed off.

Since taking office in January 2019, Bolsonaro has implemented a variety of measures intended to liberalize the country’s gun laws. Brazil has no constitutional guarantee on the civilian right to bear arms. Two weeks after his inauguration, he signed a decree loosening gun ownership rules “so that good citizens can immediately have peace inside their homes.”

In May 2019, he issued another executive order making it easier for Brazilians to import firearms and purchase large amounts of ammunition. The order also allowed rural gun owners to fire their weapons anywhere on their own property, while sport shooters and hunters can now legally transport firearms to and from their activities.

“It is an individual right of the one who may want to have a firearm or seek the possession of a firearm,” Bolsonaro said on signing the order. “Public security starts inside your home.”

In July, it was reported that in the first half of 2020, firearms exports from the Austrian weapons manufacturer Glock had surged by more than 377 percent as people took advantage of the liberalization in ownership.

“With disarmament laws, who gives up access to firearms: the decent citizen who only wants to protect himself, or the criminal, who by definition doesn’t follow laws?” Bolsonaro remarked last year. “The right to legitimate self-defense cannot continue to be violated!”

A crackdown on rampant crime was a central policy proposal of Bolsonaro’s presidential campaign, which promised the expansion of private gun rights and more powers given to security forces. Over the course of 2019, the country saw its lowest homicide rate in over a decade, although that number has risen this year amid the poverty and disruption caused by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

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