Society

Legal guns in the hands of illegal gangs

Regulatory confusion and frail oversight during the Bolsonaro government have made it much easier for Brazil's organized crime gangs to obtain guns through proper legal channels

guns gangs
Photo: Shutterstock

In mid-July, Brazil’s Federal Police arrested a 36-year-old member of the sprawling Primeiro Comando do Capital (PCC) organized crime gang at his home in Minas Gerais state. While carrying out searches on the property, the police found seven firearms, including a 5.56-caliber assault rifle. 

However, despite owning a meaty rap sheet and facing convictions for aggravated murder, drug trafficking, and illegal possession of firearms, the target had acquired the weapons legally, with permission from the Brazilian Army.

Earlier in the year, in Rio de Janeiro, a joint operation by the civil police and state prosecutors led to the arrest of...

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