A Brazilian supreme court judge has given President Jair Bolsonaro and his justice ministry five days to respond to criticism that a recently signed gun decree has violated the country’s constitution.

The May 7 presidential order would grant millions of citizens the right to carry loaded weapons in public.

The directive from Justice Rosa Weber on Friday came after an opposition political party filed a petition with the Supreme Federal Tribunal court arguing the order, which is due to take effect in early June, was “an abuse of regulatory power”.

The Sustainability Network party said it was up to Brazil’s Congress to legislate on the possession of firearms, according to a copy of the court documents.

The petition also said the decree “contravened the spirit” of a 2003 disarmament statute, which prohibits citizens from carrying weapons in public and sets out other restrictions on weapon use.

Bolsonaro has long opposed that statute, and was part of the so-called “bullet caucus” when he served in Congress.

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His executive order loosened rules so that Brazilians can own up to four guns and would allow tax collectors, bus drivers, elected officials, lawyers and journalists, among others, to carry loaded guns in public without authorisation from the federal police.

The decree also eased restrictions on gun imports and increased the amount of ammunition a person can buy, raising the yearly limit on purchases from 50 to 5,000 cartridges for permitted weapons and up to 1,000 cartridges for use in restricted weapons.


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