American Gun Owners Should Pay Close Attention to What is Happening in Brazil

Armando Franca

The First Amendment in the United States Bill of Rights guarantees the right of free speech to all Americans. The current assault on those rights is clear. But going hand in hand with an attack on the First Amendment is an equally dangerous one on the Second Amendment, our inherent right to keep and bear arms, our right to defend ourselves, our family, and our property. As Americans, we are blessed to have staunch defenders of the Second Amendment – groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) – standing firm against the Biden administration and Democrats’ push to infringe on those sacred rights. But as we all know, freedom is fragile and must be tended to in order to keep it alive. But for others around the world, in some places very close by, those freedoms appear to be disappearing. It happens incrementally, so no one will notice until it is too late.

In Brazil, with the election of far left-wing President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva comes new stricter gun laws. This past weekend, Lula signed into law, the “Responsible Gun Control” – operative word “control” decree. It reduces Brazilians’ rights to firearm ownership and rolls back policies put into place by former conservative President Jair Bolsonaro. The decree not only reduces the types of weapons citizens can own, but it also drastically reduces how much ammunition they can legally buy. It is also very far-reaching as it puts restrictions on shooting clubs, weapons used for hunting, marksmen, and collectors.

One of the most ominous portions of the law: Any regulation or inspection of civilian weapons is moving from the purview of the Brazilian Army to the federal police, who will now have sole authority over any activity by Brazilians involving weapons and ammunition. The federal police will work in conjunction with Brazil’s Justice and Public Security Ministry. (What could go wrong there?)

Lula apparently had no problem saying the quiet part out loud. In a speech after the signing, he stated, “We cannot allow arsenals in the hands of people.”

Luis Inacio Lula da Silva is not the only leader in the northern hemisphere who has taken steps to limit his citizens’ ability to defend themselves. It is happening much closer to home. In May of this year in Canada, the Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendocino, announced the proposal of C-21. The proposal would put a national freeze on handguns and create a permanent ban on “assault”- style weapons. It would also impose massive restrictions on both new weapons being sold and existing firearms. There is also a curious passage in C-21 that states, “Nothing proposed in Bill C-21 derogates from the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.” Does it all depend on who you are in Canada? Also, a curious bit of detail: no mention of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the announcement of C-21.

And, of course, here in America, Democrats’ assault on the Second Amendment rolls merrily along. But fortunately, in this case, the wheels of government are turning slowly. In January of this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sponsored the latest assault ban attempt. The bill would make it illegal to “knowingly import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD).”

In Brazil and Canada, as well as here at home, the argument for weapons restrictions is to reduce crime. But that argument really doesn’t hold up in Brazil, at least in the last year of Bolsonaro’s presidency, where gun restrictions were eased. In Brazil, the rate of violent deaths was at the lowest level in a decade, despite there being an increase in firearm ownership.

Bottom line: The attempt to restrict citizens’ rights to defend themselves is going on all around us. And while we have groups like the NRA to be ever vigilant of our Second Amendment rights, as the citizens of Brazil and Canada are finding out, those rights can be threatened in the blink of an eye – or in the immediate aftermath of electing a leader who knows that the easiest way to maintain power is through an unarmed citizenry. Let’s make sure the lessons of Brazil and Canada are not lost on Americans.


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