Brazil’s presidential candidates split over gun laws

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Brazilians are split when it comes to gun laws.

As Brazil’s presidential race looms on the horizon, potential candidates are divided over gun laws. The affectionately named ‘bullet caucus,’ a group of conservative politicians scattered throughout the country’s legislative houses, form an influential bloc with an agenda bent on loosening firearm restrictions.

Currently, Brazil has strict legislations around who can carry firearms, and under what circumstances. Individuals over the age of 25 are permitted to own a limited number of weapons, and may not carry guns outside of their homes without special authorization. They must also register their firearms with authorities every three years, in addition to being certified as having the technical capacity and psychological conditions necessary to wield a firearm.

But strong correlations exist between firearms and Brazil’s astounding annual levels of lethal violence. More than 60,000 murders took place in Brazil in 2016, according to data from the Brazilian Forum for Public Security. This is an increase from the 59,000 that took place in 2015, 71 percent of which used firearms. Research has also found that the presence of a firearm in a home dramatically increases the chances of femicide.

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Based in Rio de Janeiro, Ciara focuses on covering human rights, culture, and politics.