By: Teresa Mull

Brazil’s new President, Jair Bolsonaro, just announced plans to relax the country’s strict gun laws amid a surge in violent crime.

“By decree, we plan to guarantee the ownership of firearms by citizens without criminal records,” Bolsonaro tweeted.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Brazil is “the country with the highest number of murders in the world…”

“Throughout his campaign, Bolsonaro had pledged to dismantle Brazil’s current gun legislation, which presents various bureaucratic and legal obstacles for people seeking to purchase firearms,” Reuters reports. “That message appealed to many Brazilians who want to use guns for self-defense amid sky-high levels of violent crime.”

Researcher John Lott said in an interview with the University of Chicago that in the U.S.:

States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes… Criminals are deterred by higher penalties. Just as higher arrest and conviction rates deter crime, so does the risk that someone committing a crime will confront someone able to defend him or herself. There is a strong negative relationship between the number of law-abiding citizens with permits and the crime rate—as more people obtain permits there is a greater decline in violent crime rates. For each additional year that a concealed handgun law is in effect the murder rate declines by 3 percent, rape by 2 percent, and robberies by over 2 percent.

Reuters also notes that, “Shares in Brazilian gun maker Taurus Armas SA have climbed some 88 percent year-to-date amid expectations that Bolsonaro would win the election and follow through on promises to liberalize gun laws.”

Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at