Can the Blockchain Help Curb Gun Violence?
It was declared that a move by Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, to shut down a project that intended to aid gun-tracking with the blockchain’s use has caused a sudden upheaval in the legal and political scene of the country. The battle which came up as a result of the President’s decision was between the President, the judiciary, and the country’s Army.
A regional press outlet has pointed out that Bolsonaro’s decision may have pointed to a violation of the constitution. Regional Attorney of the Republic, Raquel Branquinho, requested for measures to be taken for the government to comply with the constitution and the Disarmament Statute. In line with this action, Brazil’s Public Prosecutor’s Office had started two judicial investigations against President Bolsonaro based on suspicion of interference with the duties of the federal police and obstruction of military operations.
Constitutional crisis on the blockchain
According to the acts Colog No. 46, 60, and 61 published in March 2020, the Brazilian army logistics command was tasked with the obligation of setting up a National system for monitoring regulated products (Sisnar). The system was created to combine blockchain technology in tracing the supply chain of products under the control of the Brazilian Army, from the point of acquisition of the weapons, ammunition, and other supplies to their final point of distribution in the customer markets.
According to reports from the Mexican organization Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal (Citizen’s Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice), 14 out of the 50 most violent cities in the world are in Brazil. Integrating blockchain into the tracking of guns was based on the requirement to allow more established control over firearms within the country. Although the type of blockchain network to be applied wasn’t specified by the Army, it is presumed that it will be a permissioned (i.e., private) network to be controlled internally by the military.
Nevertheless, President Bolsonaro did not take too well to this development as he made his stand identified on the blockchain-based tracking system for firearms. “Gun hobbyists and collectors: I have determined to revoke COLOG Ordinances No 46, 60 and 61, of March 2020, which deal with the tracking, identification and marking of weapons, ammunition, and other controlled products, because they do not conform to my guidelines defined in the decrees,” the President said on his official Twitter account.
The statement issued in Bolsonaro’s tweet was no wonder to observers in the political scene, as he has been recognized for his pro-gun stance. Nevertheless, this was the last straw for other branches of Brazil’s government. In the middle of all these, another investigation against the President was being carried out, directed by the Federal Attorney for Citizens’ Rights and the External Control Chamber of Police Activity and Prison System. The attorneys also provided the go-ahead for the Army to proceed with the proposed project against Bolsonaro’s order.
The utilization of blockchain technology in the supply chain of weapons would make it more accessible to follow illegally issued guns seized from criminals if the Brazilian court victoriously revoked Bolsonaro’s decision.