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Don’t mess with us: Brazil imports more guns than pencils; purchases grow by over 2,000%

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The simplification of the import process has boosted the purchase of foreign weapons. Data from the Ministry of Economy show that Brazilians imported US$29.3 million worth of revolvers and pistols last year, an all-time record.

Don' mess with us, we are armed to the teeth!! (Photo internet reproduction)
Don’ mess with us, we’re armed to the teeth!! (Photo internet reproduction)

This is not a new phenomenon and the growth in figures has been uninterrupted since 2017. The volume imported last year was 2,656% higher than the average registered since official records began in 1997. Currently, Brazil imports more firearms than bicycles or pencils.

Brazil was traditionally considered a modest market for foreign firearms. For two decades, annual imports averaged approximately US$1.1 million, according to data from Comex Stat, the Ministry of Economy’s foreign trade database.

However, since then, figures have been growing exponentially. In 2017, the import of revolvers and pistols totaled US$2.2 million – double the historical average. The following year, purchases were multiplied fivefold to US$11.8 million. Then, in 2019, they nearly doubled again, to US$21.2 million. Then in 2020 there was another increase, this time by 38.2%.

With this rise in imports, the purchase of revolvers and pistols now exceeds amounts spent on popular items in Brazil’s import agenda. In 2020, Brazil imported more guns than irons, bicycles or pencils.

Sector entrepreneurs explain that the increase in imports is the result of higher demand for modern weapons and also the speed in authorizing the purchase.

To import a gun two documents must be issued: the international import certificate and the import license. Originally, the issuance of these two documents took up to 120 days for the importing company. Since 2017, administrative changes have expedited the process and currently the same process may take up to 25 days.

Austria is the origin of most imports and accounted for 79.3% of the weapons purchased last year by Brazilians, worth US$23.3 million. The country is home to Glock, a large manufacturer of semi-automatic pistols costing from R$7,000 in the Brazilian market. Next comes the United States with 15.4% of imports, worth US$4.5 million. No other country has a significant share of imports.

Where does Brazil buy its weapons from?

Country: Austria
Imports in 2020: US$23,274 million
Share: 79.3%

Country: United States
Imports in 2020: US$4,533 million
Share: 15,45%.

Country: Slovenia
Imports in 2020: US$0.443 million
Share: 1,51%.

Country: Czech Republic
Imports in 2020: US$0.328 million
Share: 1.12%

Country: Israel
Imports in 2020: US$0.281 million
Share: 0,96%

Country: Italy
Imports in 2020: US$0.198 million
Share: 0,67%.

Country: Germany
Imports in 2020: US$0.112 million
Share: 0,38%.

Country: Argentina
Imports in 2020: US$0,096 million
Share: 0,33%.

Country: Turkey
Imports in 2020: US$0,067 million
Share: 0,23%.

Country: Slovakia
Imports in 2020: US$0.012 million
Share: 0,04%.

Country: Belgium
Imports in 2020: US$0.002 million
Share: 0.01%.

Source: CNN Basil

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