Gun control won't prevent deadly shootings: Brazil's Bolsonaro

Concern about the Amazon forest has grown since Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro took office (AFP Photo/EVARISTO SA)

Brasília (AFP) - President Jair Bolsonaro argued Sunday for his signature policy of relaxing gun control measures, saying they will not stop mass shootings such as those that left 29 dead in the US over the weekend.

"Disarming people isn't going to keep that from happening," Bolsonaro said.

"Brazil is, on paper, extremely unarmed; and a similar thing has already happened here in Brazil," Bolsonaro told reporters in Brasilia.

The United States was in mourning Sunday for victims of two mass shootings that killed 29 people in less than 24 hours. The first was in El Paso, Texas and the second in Dayton, Ohio.

In Brazil, such attacks are rare, but in March, two former students of a school in Suzano, in the metropolitan region of Sao Paulo, killed eight people and wounded 11 before killing themselves.

Bolsonaro, a right-wing former army captain, maintains that guns can be part of the solution to violent crime in a country that had 65,602 murders in 2017, according to official data.

Like many gun rights advocates in the United States, he argues that an armed citizen could potentially stop a shooter during an attack.