A Supreme Court judge has given Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and the justice ministry five days to explain his decree granting millions of citizens the right to carry loaded weapons in public, which critics say is unconstitutional.
Justice Rosa Weber’s ruling on Friday came after an opposition political party, the Sustainability Network, challenged the constitutionality of Bolsonaro’s decision.
His order, signed on Tuesday, was “an abuse of regulatory power” and “contravened the spirit” of a 2003 disarmament statute that prohibited the carrying of weapons in public, according to a copy of the court documents provided to journalists.
Meanwhile, documents circulating in Congress on Friday accused Bolsonaro of “going beyond” his presidential powers and described the decree as “illegal” after he gave those in a range of professions -- including politicians, journalists, and truckers -- the right to carry guns, O Globo newspaper said Saturday.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has defended the decree as honoring the result of a 2005 referendum in which nearly 64 percent of Brazilians rejected a law that included, among other things, a total ban on the sale of firearms.
But experts warn the loosening of restrictions will fuel gun violence in a country which already has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.