Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, fulfilled a campaign promise to tackle the country’s epidemic of violence — by signing a temporary decree Tuesday that makes it easier for Brazilians to buy guns.
“I signed this decree, created by many upstanding people, so that at this first moment, upstanding citizens can have peace inside their homes,” Bolsonaro said at the signing ceremony in the country’s capital, Brasília.
Bolsonaro, a former Army captain, was sworn in as president on Jan. 1, after rising in popularity last year on a fiercely nationalist, hardline law-and-order platform to reduce the country's murder rate — which ranks the highest in the world — and the booming illegal drug trade that fuels it.
But his plan to give "guns to good people," is likely to backfire. Gang members responsible for some of the worst violence in Brazil’s major cities told VICE News that the president's new policy of fighting crime by putting more guns on the streets will only lead to more bloodshed. So too will his plans to ramp up the military’s role in the drug war by giving security forces more power to shoot and kill armed criminals.