Brazil's lower house OKs proposal to ease gun ownership, but dilutes it

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil’s lower house of congress approved a proposal to ease gun ownership, but withdrew some of the measures the government had hoped to see pass.

The bill, which passed late on Tuesday and will now head to the Senate, was limited to regulating gun use among snipers, hunters and collectors. It also made small adjustments to rules governing the purchase of firearms by security officials, who are already permitted to carry guns.

The parts that were withdrawn, which relate to granting access to firearms to a broader swathe of the population, will be presented in a separate bill by the government on Wednesday, the legislative body’s press agency said.

President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, has long advocated broadening gun laws here to fight years of rising crime.

In May, Bolsonaro signed decrees - that needed congressional approval - to ease restrictions on importing and carrying guns and buying ammunition. After the Senate rejected those measures here, Bolsonaro reconsidered his strategy.

Eventually, the government sent new gun proposals to Congress.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Bernadette Baum