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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – President of Brazil, Michel Temer, sanctioned on Thursday (October 26th) a new law that turns the carrying of firearms, that are restricted to the Armed Forces, illegal and a ‘heinous crime’.

President Temer sanctions law restricting use of heavy high power firearms to Armed Forces, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
President Temer sanctions law restricting use of heavy high power firearms to only the Armed Forces, photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil.

With the new law, the government hopes to reduce the number of high-powered weapons in the hands of drug traffickers and gang members, who often are slapped with a fine or a few days in jail when caught with the illegal firearms.

With the new law, the government hopes to reduce the number of high-powered weapons in the hands of drug traffickers and gang members, who often are slapped with a fine or a few days in jail when caught with the illegal firearms.

“Let us enter increasingly more into a fierce and necessary combat, and make known that every action must correspond to an equal and opposite reaction. There is no way to treat outlaws with roses in your hands, you have to respond in the same level as the criminals act,” Temer said during the law-signing ceremony.

The law was signed in the presence of Rio de Janeiro’s mayor, Marcelo Crivella, who introduced the bill in Congress when he was still a senator.

Among the weapons which are now illegal to carry in Brazil unless you are in the Armed Forces are rifles, machine guns and certain pistols depending on the caliber of the ammunition. President Michel Temer vetoed the part of the bill authorizing the use of firearms by transit agents.

Unlike an ordinary illegal weapons charge, a heinous crime charge is considered more serious with legislation calling for tougher punishments and greater penalties. The convicted person is not allowed bail and the progression of sentence to semi-open regime becomes more difficult.

According to Rio de Janeiro’s Instituto de Segurança Public (Public Security Institute) from January to July of this year, 324 rifles, 22 submachine guns, 2,063 pistols and 2,049 revolvers were seized across the state of Rio.

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