Despite protests from dozens of social movements that work towards curbing violence in Brazil, a Special Commission at the Chamber of Deputies decided on Tuesday to approve a project that would ease requirements for firearm purchasing and lower the age limit of those wanting to purchase firearms.

Among the measures proposed by the project is the lowering of the minimum age for those wishing to purchase firearms, from 25 to 21, and the automatic authorization of firearm permits for Congressional Representatives. The project significantly changes the disarmament law passed in 2003.

The Representative who proposed the bill, Laudivio Carvalho, defended the project stating that to restrict gun registration to all establishes an unilateral peace agreement’ so that criminals may act ‘in peace’. According to Carvalho, society has the right to defend itself from rising violence.

“In the cost-benefit relation, crimes become more intense and cruel with a society which is unarmed and hostage to delinquents,” Agencia Brasil quoted Carvalho as saying. “These criminals are protected by a law which allows them everything and the regular well-intentioned citizens, nothing,” he added.

“It is inconceivable that (the 2003) law which was created due to a great mobilization by society after three years of intense debate has become a model of arms control laws in several countries being threatened in this manner,” stated the open letter sent by public safety organizations to the Chamber of Deputies last year when the Commission started to look into the project.

The disarmament law passed in 2003 made it illegal to own unregistered firearms. It also increased the minimum age for gun ownership from 21 to 25 years, and called for potential firearms owners to undergo a psychological report and practical exam.

The Commission will vote on specific issues in the project next week and then the bill will go to the full Chamber for a final vote.