Brazil president backtracks on looser gun restrictions as lawmakers resist

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a handover ceremony for Government Secretary Jorge Antonio de Oliveira Francisco at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday reversed a move to loosen gun control laws by presidential decree, in a strategic retreat after lawmakers pushed back on one of the far-right leader’s key campaign promises.

In May, Bolsonaro signed decrees easing restrictions on importing and carrying guns and buying ammunition, which needed congressional approval to become permanent law. After the Senate rejected a decree last week, Bolsonaro decided on Tuesday to revoke it and reconsider his strategy.

The former army captain vowed last year to crack down on crime and ease access to guns, rolling back decades of arms control efforts as many Brazilians clamored for a dramatic response to rising violent crime.

Bolsonaro’s reversal on Tuesday, published in a late edition of the government’s official gazette, contradicted comments made just hours earlier by his spokesman Otávio Rêgo Barros that the president would not revoke the guns decree.

Bolsonaro also sent a new bill to Congress on Tuesday that aims to loosen restrictions on the possession of arms in rural areas, Senate President Davi Alcolumbre wrote on his Twitter account.

Reporting by Eduardo Simões; Writing by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Brad Haynes and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.