Top Macri government officials and lawmakers were forced Wednesday to defend a Security Ministry resolution to loosen gun controls on federal agents, after key coalition ally Elisa Carrió likened the decision to "fascism".
"The regulation for security forces by Minister Bullrich violates fundamental human rights. We will not step toward fascism", Carrió said via Twitter. "This does not mean that the Police should not have the power to keep order but the minister has gone too far", she added.
Carrió is the leader of the Coalición Civica, the third of the three parties composing President Macri's Cambiemos (Let's Change) coalition.
She expressed Tuesday her party would also vote against a government bill to loosen restrictions on business donations to political parties.
"I do not care what the President thinks, I am maintaining a position we (the Coalición Civica) have had for 25 years", she said.
In response, Security Minister Germán Garavano — who is facing an impeachment process resulting from a complaint lodged by Carrió herself — stood by the Security Ministry's decision.
"We are convinced that this is the path forward", he said. "Definitely the way forward is stricter than what it has been in the last 10 years, where if one analyses the growth of delinquency and drug trafficking one finds very inadequate responses", Garavano added, indirectly criticising the previous Kirchner administrations.
"This is Carrió's opinion, it's a valid one, but I think this a regulation that, given the functions of security forces, when used adequately, should not be considered in violation of human rights", he added.
Bullrich herself has defended the decision to grant Federal Police, Border Patrol, Prefecture and Airport Security Police officers the right to shoot without warning. The resolution comes as a high-profile criminal case against police officer Luis Chocobar moves through the courts.
"By doing this we are creating a clear, strict regulation. Of course, a weapon is a last resort; this is the regulation in place today. But today all federal officers can use their weapon when their lives or others' lives are at risk", she insisted.
Carrió's coalition ally in the Lower House Fernando Iglesias also stood by Bullrich, describing her management of the Security portfolio as one "of the best" among Cabinet minister and "across our nation's history".
However, he took issue with her use of fascism, describing his colleague's word choice as "an injustice".