Brazil lawmakers water down Bolsonaro's bill to ease gun controls

Sao Paulo (AFP) –


Lawmakers in Brazil have watered down pro-gun President Jair Bolsonaro's proposal that would have allowed ordinary people to carry weapons in public.

The lower house of Congress voted late Tuesday in favor of giving hunters, sports shooters and collectors easier access to weapons.

But they opposed easing restrictions that would have allowed millions of ordinary Brazilians to buy and carry guns on the street.

The new version of the bill has to be approved by the Senate before it becomes law.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, caused a stir in May when he issued a decree enabling a wide range of professions, including truckers, politicians and even some journalists, to carry weapons without having to prove why they needed them.

Weeks later, he revised the original order to restrict "common citizens" to carrying handguns but not rifles in public.

Following legal and political challenges to the decree, Bolsonaro revoked his order and sent a bill to Congress to change legislation on the registration, possession and commercialization of weapons.

Experts have warned the loosening of restrictions would fuel gun violence in a country which already has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.