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Brazilian judge temporarily suspends easing of gun control laws due to election violence fears

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Sep 7, 2022

A Brazilian judge has temporarily suspended provisions making it easier to buy guns implemented by President Jair Bolsonaro citing a risk of “political violence” leading up to the country’s presidential election.

“The start of the election campaign exacerbates the risk of political violence,” which “makes the need to restrict access to weapons and ammunition extremely and exceptionally urgent,” Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin ruled this week, according to France 24.

Fachin’s decision means that only “people who concretely demonstrate an effective need” will be able to possess weapons. This move comes after Bolsonaro issued more than a dozen decrees loosening restrictions on gun ownership since taking office in 2019.

Fachin also ruled that some firearms will only be allowed for reasons of “public security or national defense” as opposed to “personal interest,” which included hunting, sport shooting, and collecting.

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Fachin explained that he made the decision “in light of recent and unfortunate episodes of political violence.”

The conservative Bolsonaro is set to square off against his liberal opponent, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in a contentious election that some fear will lead to violence.

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Lula has already taken to wearing a bulletproof vest for public appearances and Bolsonaro, also wearing a bulletproof vest, recently revisited the spot in the city of Juiz de Fora where he was stabbed by a mentally ill man on the campaign trail in 2018.

The ruling in Brazil comes the same week Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernández escaped an assassination attempt when a man pointed a gun at her head and pulled the trigger at point-blank range and the gun misfired, leaving her unharmed.

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Reuters reported this week that recent polling shows Lula leading Bolsonaro by 10 points, down from a 12-point lead a week ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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