SAO PAULO, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Brazil's new stricter gun-control laws went into effect Wednesday, part of a nationwide effort to curtail one of the world's highest murder rates.
According to legislation first passed in December 2003, unlicensed gun carriers caught with a weapon face up to 4 years in prison as well as a fine.
Restrictions created by the new law included stricter control of weapon importation and mandatory registration of all firearms. Gun licenses will also have to be renewed every three years.
The government Tuesday declared all current gun licenses -- whether issued by federal or state police -- expired, forcing all gun owners to obtain a new license. One of the new requirements for legal ownership is applicants must be at least 25 years old.
Brazil has experienced a dramatic increase in gun violence during recent years. An estimated 50,000 Brazilians were killed in gun-related violence last year.