Brazil’s far-right, pro-gun president-elect has signaled he will seek to relax his country’s firearms laws in a bid to combat a homicide epidemic that last year claimed nearly 64,000 lives, the Guardian reports. In his first television interview since being elected on Sunday, former army captain Jair Bolsonaro said it was time to abandon what he called the politically correct fallacy that Brazil would be a safer place if everybody was unarmed. “It won’t be any better. If there were three or four armed people here now, I’d be certain that some nutter wouldn’t be able to come in through that door and do something bad,” the right-wing populist told his interviewer from Record, a television channel owned by one of his powerful supporters.
Bolsonaro’s incendiary comments provoked an immediate reaction from his political opponents. “The majority of the Brazilian population is against the right to carry weapons and wants more intelligent solutions,” tweeted former environment minister and presidential candidate Marina Silva, calling Bolsonaro’s proposal “appalling.” “Firearms are responsible for 71 percent of recorded homicides in Brazil. That is why I don’t tire of saying … The more guns, the more violence,” Silva added. In a recent interview Scott Mainwaring, a Harvard Kennedy School Brazil expert, said he was troubled by Bolsonaro’s faith in firearms. “The idea that you can reduce violence by cutting back on the restrictions of purchasing and carrying guns is ludicrous. There is no public security specialist in the world, or very few, who would say that is a good idea. It’s a terrible idea. It will increase violence.” See also, The Crime Report, “Race, Policing and Video in Brazil”