Brazil’s Supreme Court on Wednesday banned registered gun owners from carrying firearms in the federal district until after the inauguration of President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in reaction to recent episodes of political violence.
Judge Alexandre de Moraes suspended licenses that allow hunters, snipers and collectors to carry firearms, firearms and ammunition in the region where the capital, Brasília, is located.
The measure will be in force from Wednesday night until January 2, one day after Lula’s inauguration, according to Moraes’ decision, which was reviewed by Reuters.
The move comes as tensions remain high in the South American country after the most tense election in a generation, in which leftist Lula narrowly defeated far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro supporters have been camping in front of the army barracks urging the military to stage a coup. The Brasilia camp, outside the army headquarters, has become one of the most extreme.
On December 12, the day Lula’s victory was certified, some of the campers attacked the federal police headquarters in Brasilia. On Saturday, a man was arrested for trying to detonate a bomb in protest of the election results and said Bolsonaro’s call to arms inspired him to build an arsenal.
The number of registered gun owners in Brazil has increased six-fold to some 700,000 since Bolsonaro began easing gun laws in 2019.
Moraes said in his decision that anyone caught violating the ban should be arrested. The ban does not affect members of the security forces and employees of private security companies.
The incoming Justice Minister, Flavio Dino, applauded the ruling, saying the move would ensure greater security at the inauguration. He said Lula’s team had petitioned the Supreme Court to suspend firearms licenses.