Argentina approves "easy trigger" policy

  1. Security minister pointed out guns "will not be used in demonstrations" and "does not recommend" to use them
  2. President Macri announced more laws to fight violence in football grounds

New regulation for the use of firearms drafted by minister of national security Patricia Bullrich — which repeals and flexes UN regulations and recommendations for life-threatening use of strength — has been authorised by Argentine President Mauricio Macri and published officially on Monday, 3 December.

A week before and due to the then upcoming G20 summit — when Buenos Aires was on virtual lockdown and normal life and civil liberties for its residents were suspended — the minister managed to modify the legislation for the use of firearms by security forces through a ministerial resolution.

However, Ms Bullrich refrained from having it published in the official gazette — a necessary step to start enforcing legislation of this sort.

The resolution authorises all federal security forces to use firearms “in case of imminent life or serious injury risks” as well as a “flexible” use of firearms in the face of “imminent danger”, which could be “acting under threat” or by a police assumption that the suspect might have a lethal weapon.

In addition, it allows to use the firearm in case of escape to achieve a detention. “It is plain and simple, to legitimise an ‘easy trigger'”, warned the People Against Police and Institutional Repression platform in a press release.

Article 2 of the law authorises security forces to use firearms in almost all situations of intervention against a criminal act: in self-defense, to prevent the commission of a crime, to arrest individuals or prevent them to flee.

It even deems the police “warning shout” criterion unnecessary “when it is evidently inadequate or useless, given the circumstances of each case”, and leaves it at discretion of the shooting officer.

Protocols authorised by President Macri state “imminent danger” as a condition, described in Article 5 in a broad and flexible way:

– When acting under life or serious injury risks for themselves or third parties
– When the alleged offender possesses a lethal weapon, even if after investigation it is verified it was a fake lethal weapon
– When it is assumed that the suspect is in possession of a lethal weapon
– When, if armed, the suspect seeks advantage by hiding, hiding, or improving their attack position
– When the suspect is clearly going to, or highly likely to cause death or a serious injury to any person, even without the use of a weapon
– When the suspect flees after causing, or having attempted to cause, death or a serious injury, or
– When the unpredictability of the attack, or the number of aggressors, or the weapons they use, impede the due fulfillment of the police duty, including the ability to exercise self-defense or defend third parties.

The policy — widely known as “Chocobar doctrine” — reflects the stance taken by ruling party Cambiemos to defend local policeman Luis Chocobar, accused of having killed alleged thief Juan Pablo Kukoc.

Local news portal Infobae reported Kukoc’s half-brother — who has a criminal record in spite of being under legal age — has been arrested under theft allegations.

The Chocobar case has passed three tribunal and court rulings despite the fact that Ms Bullrich said the government will continue “thinking that the police did what they had to do”.

Article 4 of the new regulation indicates that “adequate communication should be made to inform relatives or close friends” when “the use of weapons causes injury or death”.

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