Brazilian President Bolsonaro Calls On All Citizens to Arm Themselves Immediately

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has called on all citizens to arm themselves as soon as possible, saying that a well-armed public will never be enslaved by a tyrannical elite.

While addressing a crowd of supporters on Friday outside of the Alvorada Palace, the official residence of the President of Brazil, the right-wing populist leader said: “Everybody has to buy a rifle, damn it! Armed people will never be enslaved.”

Since assuming the presidency at the beginning of 2019, Bolsanaro – a retired, decorated army captain – has worked diligently to make it easier for Brazilian citizens to own firearms, issuing a succession of decrees which have made various firearms, including semi-automatic rifles, more easily available to the public.

In addition to making it easier for Brazilians to obtain firearms, Bolsanaro also loosened restrictions on weapons carrying and lengthened the validity of firearms licenses from five to ten years.

Under the first two years of his presidency, gun ownership in Brazil has grown by a whopping 65 percent. While there were some 700,000 firearms in legal private ownership in 2018, today the number stands at roughly 1.2 million.

As a result, Brazilian citizens who were previously left defenseless and at the mercy of heavily-armed, criminal drug gangs have now been empowered to protect themselves, their families, and their property with their own weapons.

Thanks to Bolsonaro’s pro-gun policies, Brazilian citizens can now keep up to four firearms at their homes or workplaces. Import taxes on firearms have been abolished, previously restricted high-caliber guns are now available, and constraints on the amount of ammunition one can purchase have been loosened.  

Despite the Brazilian president’s expansion of gun rights, however, and amid a massive smear campaign by the country’s left-leaning press, the latest opinion polls carried Futura/ Modalmais show him trailing behind his main leftist rival, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in both rounds of a hypothetical presidential election.