Overview of gun laws by nation

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Firearm legislation and policy vary greatly around the world. For example, some countries such as South Korea, China, the United Kingdom and Germany, have strict limits on gun possession by private citizens while others, such as Yemen, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and the United States, allow for relatively greater access. Countries like Canada, and Finland fall in between.

International[edit]

National sovereignty[edit]

Most nations hold the power to protect themselves, others, and police their own territory as a fundamental power vested by sovereignty. However, this power can be lost under certain circumstances: some countries have been forced to disarm by other countries, upon losing a war, or by having arms embargos or sanctions placed on them. Likewise, nations that violate international arms control agreements, even if claiming to be acting within the scope of their national sovereignty, may find themselves with a range of penalties or sanctions regarding firearms placed on them by other nations.

Enforcement[edit]

National and regional police and security services enforce their own gun regulations. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) supports the United States' International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) program "to aggressively enforce this mission and reduce the number of weapons that are illegally trafficked worldwide from the United States and used to commit acts of international terrorism, to subvert restrictions imposed by other nations on their residents, and to organize crime and narcotics-related activities.[1]

Worldwide politics and legislation[edit]

There are many areas of debate into what kinds of firearms, if any, should be allowed to be privately owned, and how, where and when they may be used.

Australia[edit]

Firearm laws in Australia are enforced at a Federal and State level. Gun ownership is accessible to the civilian population, and those people must comply with 'genuine reasons' to obtain a 'Permit to Acquire' from their State government. 'Genuine Reasons' focus on either hunting and/or sport/target shooting (for Rifles), and do not include 'personal protection.' Handgun licenses are also available, and applied for separately. In New South Wales (and similar in other States), firearm ownership is widely prohibited for convicted offenders or those with a history of mental illness. Gun licenses must be renewed either annually or every 5 years, and expire automatically (if not renewed prior).

Firearm controls have been in place following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. Gun ownership in Australia is not a wide social issue, and major political parties are generally supportive of pro-control legislation (although parties such as the New South Wales Shooters Party, which represent deregulation, have a small number of seats in State Parliaments).

The rate of homicides involving firearms per 100,000 population in 2009 was 0.1.[2] The rate of unintentional deaths involving firearms in 2001 was 0.09.[3] The overall homicide rate of Australia was 1.2 deaths per 100,000 for 2007-2008,.[4][5]

In 1996 Australia restricted semi-automatic weapons and "The American Journal of Law and Economics reported in 2010 that firearm homicides in Australia dropped 59 percent between 1995 and 2006. In the 18 years before the 1996 laws, there were 13 gun massacres resulting in 102 deaths, according to Harvard researchers, with none in that category since." [6]

Brazil[edit]

All firearms in Brazil are required to be registered within the state. The minimum age for ownership is 25,[7] and it is generally illegal to carry a gun outside a residence.[8] The total number of firearms in Brazil is thought to be between 14 million and 17 million[8][9] with 9 million of those being unregistered.[7]

Some 39,000 people died in 2003 due to gun-related injuries nationwide.[8] In 2004, the number was 36,000.[7] Although Brazil has 100 million fewer citizens than the United States, and more restrictive gun laws, there are 25 percent more gun deaths;[10] other sources indicate that homicide rates due to guns are approximately four times higher than the rate in the United States.[11]

Brazil has the second largest arms industry in the Western Hemisphere.[11] Approximately 80 percent of the weapons manufactured in Brazil are exported, mostly to neighboring countries; many of these weapons are then smuggled back into Brazil.[11] Some firearms in Brazil come from police and military arsenals, having either been "stolen or sold by corrupt soldiers and officers."[11]

In 2005, a referendum was held in Brazil on the sale of firearms and ammunition to attempt to lower the number of deaths due to guns. Although the Brazilian Government, the Catholic Church, and the United Nations, among others, fought for the gun ban, the referendum failed at the polls, with 64% of the voters voting no.[7] The Brazilian government passed the law to completely ban all rights to the public even though the referendum failed. They bypassed the Brazilian democratic system despite the public votes.

Canada[edit]

The stated intent of Canadian firearms laws is to control firearms to improve public safety. Canadians have somewhat limited access to firearms, but are still able to purchase them, all in all Canadian gun laws are noticeably more liberal in comparison to other commonwealth countries. Licensing provisions of the Firearms Act endeavours to ensure proper training and safe storage.

Users must possess a licence, called a "possession and acquisition licence (PAL)". A firearms safety course must be passed prior to applying for a PAL. A non-resident (i.e., non-Canadian) can have a "non-resident firearms declaration" confirmed by a customs officer, which provides for a temporary 60-day authorization to have a firearm in Canada.[12] There are three categories of firearms for purposes of Canadian law: non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited. Restricted and prohibited weapons may actually be owned and used in limited circumstances.[13]

In Canada firearms fall into one of three categories:

1. Non-Restricted: Long guns with an overall length greater than 26 inches and, if semi-automatic, a barrel which is 18 1/2 inches or longer. These can be possessed with an ordinary PAL, and are the only class of firearms which can be used for hunting, due to the ATT (Authorization to Transport) requirement for Restricted and Prohibited weapons, as well as provincial regulations. This class includes most popular sporting rifles and shotguns.
2. Restricted: This includes handguns with barrel lengths greater than 4.1 inches (105mm), and long guns which do not meet the length requirements for non-restricted, and are not prohibited. These guns require ATTs, and as such can only be shot at ranges. These arms can be possessed with an RPAL, which is similar to the PAL course, but covers restricted weapons and the increased storage requirements. One must pass the CFSC as well as the RCFSC in order to obtain their RPAL. Examples in this class include all AR-15 variants.
3. Prohibited: These weapons generally cannot be possessed by civilians. Normally, the only way to possess these is by being grandfathered in or inheriting a pistol with a barrel length at or under 4.1 inches (105mm), in which case the individual may receive the Class 7 endorsement. This class also includes prohibited devices. Many military arms fall under this classification, including all AK variants, and the FN-FAL. All handguns with a barrel length equal to or under 4.1 inches (105mm) are prohibited, as well as those chambered in .25 or .32 caliber cartridges, presumably to prevent the manufacture of "Saturday Night Specials". Also prohibited are fully automatic weapons and suppressors. Magazines for semi automatic long guns capable of holding more than 5 centerfire cartridges or 10 rounds for handguns, are prohibited, with the exception of the M1 Garand, as well as carbines which use pistol magazines, such as the Beretta CX4 Storm.

The rate of homicide involving firearms per 100,000 population in 2009 was 0.5.[2] The rate of unintentional deaths involving firearms in 2001 was 0.08 .[14]

China[edit]

Gun ownership in the People's Republic of China is heavily regulated by law. Generally, private citizens are not allowed to possess guns.

Guns can be used by law enforcement, the military and paramilitary, and security personnel protecting property of state importance (including the arms industry, financial institutions, storage of resources, and scientific research institutions).

Civilian ownership of guns is largely restricted to authorised, non-individual entities, including sporting organisations, authorised hunting reserves and wild life protection, management and research organizations. The chief exception to the general ban for individual gun ownership is for the purpose of hunting.[15][16]

Illegal possession or sale of firearms may result in a minimum punishment of 3 years in prison, with the maximum being the death penalty (needs better citation).[17]

East Timor[edit]

Under East Timorese law, only the military and police forces may legally possess, carry and use firearms. Despite these laws, East Timor has many problems with illegally armed militias, including widespread violence in 2006 which resulted in over 100,000 people being forced from their homes, as well as two separate assassination attempts on the Prime Minister and President of the country in early 2008.

In late June 2008, the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão, introduced a proposed gun law to Parliament for "urgent debate", pushing back scheduled budgetary discussions. The new law, which would allow civilians to own guns, sparked heated scenes in the East Timorese parliament between the parliamentarians who support the new law and those who oppose it. The United Nations, which has a peacekeeping force deployed in the nation, also expressed concern over the new law.[18]

European Union[edit]

European Firearms Directive
Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons
Citation 91/477/EEC
Enacted by Council of the European Communities
Date enacted 18 June 1991
Date commenced 17 October 1991
White paper Completing the internal market
Amendments
Directive 2008/51/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons
Status: In force

In the 1985 White Paper on completion of the internal market, the European Commission stressed out that the absence of border checks must not provide an incentive to buy arms in countries with less strict legislation. This goal was to be reached by approximation of the countries' national legislation.[19]

Prior to abolishment of the internal border controls, the Council of the European Communities adopted the Directive 91/477/EEC, which was later, in 2008, amended by Directive 2008/51/EC. As a Directive, it is not a self-executing norm, but a legislative act which requires Member State to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving it. Member States must meet the minimum requirements laid down by the directive, but may also elect to adopt more stringent rules.[20] Thus certain countries such as the United Kingdom or Poland are unaffected as they maintain more stringent gun control laws than those effectively set as a minimum by the European Union, while others, like the Czech Republic, were forced to introduce more regulation in their national legislation.

In order to prevent the possibility that abolishment of internal borders would allow persons from Member States with stringent gun laws to acquire firearms in other states with more lax rules, the Directive makes purchase of B category firearms (see table below) abroad subject to authorization of the person's state of residence. At the same time, promoting the internal market, Member States may not prohibit acquisition of a firearm in other state unless such acquisition would be also prohibited domestically.[21] Moreover, the Directive calls upon the Member States to intensify gun controls on the external borders of the Union.

The Directive also introduced the European Firearms Pass, which is a locally-issued firearms license in a common format that allows citizens of the European Union (EU) to travel with one or more firearm(s) mentioned on the license from one Member State to another. For certain purposes other documentation may be required, depending on the current states' laws and the reason for the movement; a transfer may be temporary (for a competition) or permanent (on a sale).

Generally, a person with valid European Firearms Pass traveling to or through other Member States must inform the concerned Member States of particulars regarding the journey and firearm, after which he may be granted an approval.[22] Exception to this rule are hunters (regarding firearms in category C and D) and marksmen (B, C & D), who may be in possession of one or more firearms during journey with view to their activities, provided that they are in possession of a European firearms pass listing such firearm or firearms and provided that they are able to substantiate the reasons for their journey, in particular by producing an invitation. That, however, does not apply to journey through Member States that have more stringent laws and generally prohibit such firearms within their territory.[23]

The Directive recognizes the following four categories of firearms and ammunition:

Firearm category Designation Minimum standard required
Category A
- Prohibited firearms
1. Explosive military missiles and launchers.
2. Automatic firearms.
3. Firearms disguised as other objects.
4. Ammunition with penetrating, explosive or incendiary projectiles, and the projectiles for such ammunition.
5. Pistol and revolver ammunition with expanding projectiles and the projectiles for such ammunition, except in the case of weapons for hunting or for target shooting, for persons entitled to use them.
In general, the firearms are prohibited, authorization to acquire and possess may be possible only in special cases.[24]
Category B
- Firearms subject to authorization
1. Semi-automatic or repeating short firearms.
2. Single-shot short firearms with centre-fire percussion.
3. Single-shot short firearms with rimfire percussion whose overall length is less than 28 cm.
4. Semi-automatic long firearms whose magazine and chamber can together hold more than three rounds.
5. Semi-automatic long firearms whose magazine and chamber cannot together hold more than three rounds, where the loading device is removable or where it is not certain that the weapon cannot be converted, with ordinary tools, into a weapon whose magazine and chamber can together hold more than three rounds.
6. Repeating and semi-automatic long firearms with smooth-bore barrels not exceeding 60 cm in length.
7. Semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with automatic mechanisms.
Acquisition and possession allowed only
  • to persons who have good cause, are older than 18 (or younger in case of hunters and sport shooters) and are not likely to be a danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety.[21]
  • subject to prior authorization.[25]
Category C
- Firearms subject to declaration
1. Repeating long firearms other than those listed in category B, point 6.
2. Long firearms with single-shot rifled barrels.
3. Semi-automatic long firearms other than those in category B, points 4 to 7.
4. Single-shot short firearms with rimfire percussion whose overall length is not less than 28 cm.
Acquisition and possession allowed only
  • to persons who have good cause, are older than 18 (or younger in case of hunters and sport shooters) and are not likely to be a danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety and[21]
  • subject to registration.[26]
Category D
- Other firearms
Single-shot long firearms with smooth-bore barrels. Acquisition and possession allowed only to persons older than 18.[21]

Since the Member States are bound to meet only the minimum requirements set by the Directive, the gun politics vary from one to another:

Austria[edit]

Guns are divided into four categories:
  • Category A - Forbidden weapons: Pump action shotguns, fully automatic weapons, semi-automatic and other rifles when considered military weapons, and disguised weapons.
Licenses to own/carry category A weapons are available but rare, for example pre-ban grandfathered pump action shotguns - these are then added like normal category B weapons to the Waffenpass/Waffenbesitzkarte.
  • Category B - Weapons requiring permission: Semi automatic long weapons for sporting and hunting, repeating (non-pump action) and semi automatic shotguns and weapons shorter than 60 cm in overall length (for example pistols and revolvers, but also bolt/lever/pump action rifles under 60 cm overall length). Semi automatic long weapon models are required to be verified as civilian-legal before this category applies to them, otherwise they are considered category A. A permission can either be a hunting license, gun ownership license ("Waffenbesitzkarte", for sporting, collecting and self-defense at home or work) or a carry permit ("Waffenpass", for carrying a loaded weapon outside of the owner's home or workplace), with the ownership license being the most common way to category B gun ownership.
  • Category C - Weapons requiring registration: Break action guns and all repeating rifles (i.e. bolt-, lever- or pump action). All Austrian citizens aged 18 or over can freely buy and own this type of weapon, but ownership has to be registered at a licensed dealer or gunsmith within 6 weeks of purchase (Typically, if bought in a store, the store registers them after doing the required background check).
In 2012, the former Category D (Non-repeating shotguns) which required no registration was integrated into category C, therefore now requiring registration as well.

Cyprus[edit]

(Comments apply to the internationally recognized Greek portion of the island) Cyprus has strict gun control. Private citizens are completely forbidden from owning handguns and rifles in any calber, even .22 rimfire. Only shotguns are allowed, and these require a license. Shotguns are limited to two rounds. The only shotguns typically sold in stores are double-barreled side-by-sides or over-unders. Pump actions and semiautomatics are prohibited.
A private citizen can own a total of ten different shotguns. A citizen is not required to specify a reason for ownership to obtain a license, but most own their guns for hunting. Licenses are issued by provincial police. A gun license is required to buy ammunition, and ammunition sales are recorded. A shotgun owner may purchase up to 250 shells at one time. Cyprus also controls airguns, and airgun owners require a license.[27]

Czech Republic[edit]

While in other EU states the most common firearms are usually long hunting rifles, the most common gun in the Czech Republic is ČZ 75.[28]
Gun ownership in the Czech Republic is regulated by liberal gun laws compared to the rest of Europe. Generally, handguns in the Czech Republic are available to anybody above statutory age with a clean criminal history who passes tests about firearms legislation, weapon knowledge and first aid, and a medical inspection (which may optionally include psychological test).
Gun ownership is also acceptable for self-defense purposes. Unlike most European countries the Czech gun laws allow its citizens to carry a concealed weapon without having any specific reason.
Sport shooting is the third most widespread sport in the country (after football (soccer) and ice hockey).

Finland[edit]

The ownership and use of firearms in Finland is regulated by the country's Firearms Act of 1998. Weapons are individually licensed by local police forces, there is no limit on the number of licenses an individual may hold. Licenses are granted for recreational uses, exhibition or (under certain circumstances) professional use.
With the exception of law enforcement, only specially trained security guards may carry loaded weapons in public. There is almost no regulation of air rifles or crossbows, except that it is illegal to carry or fire them in public. Guns are divided into 13 firearms categories and four action categories; some of which are limited. Fully automatic weapons, rockets and cannons (so called "destructive" weapons), for example, are generally not permitted.
In November 2007 Finland updated their gun laws, pre-empting a new EU directive prohibiting the carrying of firearms by under-18's by removing the ability of 15- to 18-year-olds to carry hunting rifles under parental guidance. In 2010, after controversial high school shootings in 2008 prompted government review, a constitutional law committee concluded that people over the age of 20 can receive a permit for semiautomatic handguns. Though individuals have to show a continuous activity in a handguns sporting for last two years before they can have a license for their own gun.

France[edit]

In France, to buy a weapon, a hunting license or a shooting sport license is necessary. Firearms are divided into eight categories that determine the regulations that apply to their possession and use. France also sets limits on the number of cartridges that can be purchased per year, depending on the purpose of the gun.
The total number of firearms owned by an individual is also subject to limits.[29] France has a limit on magazine capacity (3),and a "assault weapon" ban, other than that one needs a permit for category one semi-automatics.

Germany[edit]

Gun ownership in Germany is regulated by the Federal Weapons Act (German: Waffengesetz), 1972; it extends previous gun legislation. It is considered a restrictive law.[30] Under this act Germany maintains a two-tier policy to firearm ownership.
A firearms ownership license allows for the purchasing of weapons by those over the age of 21 who meet various competency/trustworthiness guidelines. Convicted felons, those with a mental disability or those deemed unreliable are denied licenses. To get a license issued it is also required to prove the necessity of owning a gun, while self-defense is not an accepted reason to own a gun. Owners of multiple firearms need separate ownership licenses for every single firearm they own.
The second tier is a firearms carry permit which allows concealed or open carry in public. The permits are usually only issued to individuals with a particular need; such as persons at risk, money couriers, etc.
The laws apply to any weapons with a fire energy exceeding 7.5 Joule.
Several weapons and special ammunitions are completely prohibited. To these belong for example automatic firearms and weapons of war, as well as weapons like Brass knuckles, Switchblades, Balisongs, Nunchakus or Tasers. Buying, possessing, lending, using, carrying, crafting, altering and trading of these weapons is illegal and punishable by up to five years imprisonment, confiscation of the weapon and a fine of up to 10,000. Using an illegal weapon for crime of any kind is punishable by from 1 to 10 years imprisonment.
Germany's National Gun Registry introduced at the end of 2012 counted 5.5 million firearms legally owned by 1.4 million people in the country.[31]

Hungary[edit]

Gun ownership in Hungary is regulated by Law 24/2004 and Law revision 13/2012.[32][33][34] Hungarian gun law is relatively strict:
In 2010, there were 129,000 registered gun owners (1.3% of the population) in Hungary with 235,000 weapons. The majority of these are hunting guns and handguns for self-defense.
Gun violence is very rare in Hungary; one of the most tragic event took place at the University of Pécs in 2009, causing 1 death and two injured. It was the first and the only school shooting in the country's history. Hungarian Police use lethal weapons less than 10 times a year.[35]

Ireland[edit]

Irish firearms law is based on several Firearms Acts, each of which amends those Acts which were issued previously. The initial Firearms (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1924[1] which was introduced as emergency legislation following the founding of the state, was replaced by the Firearms Act, 1925,[2] which laid the foundations of the system of licencing that has continued unaltered until quite recently. Relatively small modifications were introduced in the Firearms Act, 1964,[3] the Firearms (Proofing) Act, 1968,[4] the Firearms Act, 1971,[5] the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act, 1990,[6] the Firearms (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1998[7] and the Firearms (Firearm Certificates For Non-Residents) Act, 2000.[8] By 2006, such was the confusion from these multiple Acts, each amending the others (and not all of which were ever actually commenced and thus were in the public record but not enforced as actual legislation); and the amendments of Irish firearms legislation by other Acts ranging from the Wildlife Acts (mostly relating to hunting law) to the Road Traffic Acts (relating to how and where firearms could be transported) and others; the large amount of secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments, which set out regulations, the design of application forms for licences and so forth, as well as the details of when various parts of the Acts came into force); as well as the introduction of EU firearms law into the canon of Irish legislation; led the Irish Law Reform Commission to recommend that all the extant legislation be restated[9] a legal process by which all the existing primary and secondary legislation would be read as one and a single document produced as the new Firearms Act (and all prior Acts would be repealed).

The introduction of the Criminal Justice Act 2006,[10] which contained an enormous rewrite of the Firearms Act, rewriting almost 80% of the Act completely. It was quickly followed by the Criminal Justice Act 2007[11] and the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009,[12] each of which amended all the preceding Firearms Acts. As of 2011, the Law Reform Commission recommendation still stands and has not as yet been acted upon; the Firearms Act consists of the initial 1925 Act amended by approximately eighteen separate Acts and is well understood by only a handful of those directly involved in its drafting, amendment or usage. Extensive complaints have arisen over the application of the legislation, with over 180 judicial review cases currently[when?] in the High Court and over seventy already successfully prosecuted in the High Court by firearms owners.

In 2011 three of the 180 cases were taken as "test cases" by the Department of Justice and policy with regard to firearms licences will be determined based on the outcome of these cases, according to the Ministerial Briefing document[13] for the newly elected Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter.

Italy[edit]

In Italy different types of gun licenses can be obtained from the national police authorities. Gun usage is restricted to people over the age of 18. There are 3 licenses that allow individuals to carry guns in public: Hunting license; Shooting Sports license; and Concealed Carry license.
A shooting sports license allows the licensee to carry his/her weapon from home to the shooting range and back only. If caught with a gun anywhere else severe penalties are in force, including arrest. The same applies for hunting licenses, while to obtain a concealed carry license, a person has to prove that there exists a real "threat to life". This can be, for example, having been shot already.
The number of guns an individual may own and retain in their home is restricted by a classification: three common handguns, six sporting handguns/long guns, and an unlimited number of hunting long guns. Purchase of any gun and ammunition is allowed only to individuals issued with a carry license.

The Netherlands[edit]

In The Netherlands, gun ownership is restricted to law enforcement, hunters, and target shooters. Self-defense is not a valid reason to own guns. To obtain a hunting license one must pass a hunters safety course. To get one for target shooting, one must be a member of a shooting club for a year. People with felonies, drug addictions, and mental illnesses may not possess any firearms.
Once obtained, firearms must be stored in a safe. Firearms may only be used in self-defense as "equal force". Police will come once a year to inspect your guns. Fully automatic guns are banned, however there are little restrictions on types of guns one may own besides that. Semi-automatics, handguns, and magazines of all sizes are legal, as are all types of ammo. A licensed gun owner may only have five firearms registered to his or her license at one time.

Poland[edit]

Gun ownership in Poland is regulated by the Weapons and Munitions Act. A license is required to keep and purchase firearms. As a result of very strict controls, gun ownership in Poland is the lowest in the European Union, at one firearm per 100 citizens.[36] In order to get a gun license, one must:
  • Prove they are not endangering themselves nor general public by passing a psychological evaluation;
  • Display that they have clean criminal record;
  • Give a valid reason for wanting to own a gun, such as sport shooting or hunting. If the reason is self-defense, one must demonstrate why he believes his life is in danger;
  • Pass an exam in proper weapon handling (not required for members of PZSS and PZŁ).
The psychological evaluation must be repeated every 5 years. Some other weapons, such as crossbows, require the same license as is required for firearms.

Romania[edit]

Gun ownership in Romania is regulated by Law 39/2004. Romania has one of the toughest gun ownership laws in the world.[37] In order for citizens to obtain a non-lethal weapon, they must obtain a permit from the police, and must register their weapon once they purchased it. Civilians cannot purchase a lethal firearm. The only categories of people who are legally entitled to carry a weapon are magistrates, MPs military forces and certain categories of diplomats. A psychological evaluation is required beforehand in all cases. Furthermore, knives with a blade longer than 15 cm are considered weapons and have a similar regime to those of firearms.[38]
In order for a hunter to obtain a hunting/gun ownership license, he must spend a certain "practice time" with a professional hunter.
Minors (15 and older) may also use a weapon, provided that they are under the supervision of someone who has a gun license. However, they cannot own or carry one until the age of 18.[39]
The use of guns for self-defense is only allowed if the gun is a last resort option.[40]

Slovakia[edit]

Gun ownership in Slovakia is regulated principally by law 190/2003.[41] A gun license is necessary to purchase most firearms. Air guns with muzzle energy up to 15 J, gas pistols and non-repeating muzzle-loaded guns are available to anybody above 18 without permission. There is a restriction in muzzle energy output - handguns up to 1000 J, rifles up to 6000 J. Fully automatic guns, silencers and hollow-point bullets (when used for self-defense) are forbidden.
A gun licence can be issued for 6 categories of possession (A - carrying for defense, B - possession at home for defense, C - gun-holding for work purposes, D - long guns for hunting, E - gun holding for sport shooting, F - guns collecting).
Generally one must be at least 21 years old, free of a criminal history, and of sound health of mind and body to apply for a gun license, which is then issued after passing an oral exam covering aspects of gun law, safe handling, first-aid, etc. The license allowing carrying for self-defense is only issued if the police deem a sufficient justification exists—examples of such justifications include being a business owner (including those self-employed), handling money in connection with business, etc. 2% of the adult Slovak population holds a license allowing for concealed carry.[42]

Slovenia[edit]

In Slovenia gun ownership is regulated under the "Weapons Law" (Zakon o orožju). The ownership and purchase of firearms requires a specific reason: if one wants to have a gun for hunting or target shooting, a person must obtain a proof of their membership in a shooting sports organization. If one needs a weapon for self-defense one must "prove that his personal safety at risk to such an extent that in order to ensure the needed a weapon for security".
Regardless of the reason, before applying for a gun permit one must receive a medical exam and a test on the knowledge of weapons. When keeping weapons at home the gun must be stored in a locked cabinet with ammunition stored in a separate location[43]

Spain[edit]

Sweden[edit]

Gun ownership requires license and is regulated by the weapon law (Vapenlagen 1996:67)[44] further regulations are found in weapon decree (Vapenförordningen 1996:70)[45] and FAP 551-3 - RPSFS 2009:13 "Rikspolisstyrelsens föreskrifter och allmänna råd om vapenlagstiftningen".[46]

The law doesn't ban any specific firearms or weapons, it merely states the requirements to own one. Everything from pepperspray to fully automatic machine guns are technically legal, and licenses to civilians can be given in "special" cases. Like the other Nordic countries, Sweden has a high rate of gun ownership.

The weapons law doesn't apply to air guns and similar with a projectile energy less than 10 joules at the end of barrel.[47] These require no license and may be bought by any person over 18 years. Firearms manufactured before 1890 and not using gas-tight unit cartridges are exempt as well.[48]

The gun license is obtained from the Police, and one must be in good standing and at least 18 years old, but exceptions regarding age can be made. To apply one must either be a member in an approved shooting club for at least six months or pass a hunting examination (jägarexamen). The former is mostly used to legally acquire pistols for sport shooting and the latter for hunting rifles and shotguns. A gun registered for sport-shooting may not be used in hunting. You are allowed to hunt without passing a hunting exam if you are chaperoned by someone that has passed the exam. The minimum age for taking a hunting exam is 15 years. A person under 18 years may not own a firearm him- or herself, unless an exception have been made. A person with a gun license may legally under supervision lend his or her gun to a person at least 15 years and older.

A person may be granted license to own up to six hunting rifles, ten pistols or a mix of eight rifles and pistols. Owning more firearms than this requires a valid reason. Firearms must be stored in an approved gun safe.

There is no specific permit for carrying guns. For civilians it's illegal to carry a firearm unless there is a specific, legal, purpose (hunting, going to range, etc.). The general guideline, for transport of firearms, is that the gun must be hidden and transported in a safe (unloaded etc.) and secure way (under supervision etc.). The laws and recommendations in how to transport weapons is found in "Rikspolisstyrelsens föreskrifter och allmänna råd om vapenlagstiftningen" (FAP 551-3 - RPSFS 2009:13)[44] and Vapenförordningen 1996:70.[45]

Another reason for gun ownership is collecting. A collector must have a clearly stated demarcation of the interest of the collection. To be a valid interest of collection it must be possible to obtain a complete collection, for example - Pre-World War II British handguns -. A collector may start a second (or more) collection if he or she has collected for several years and shown a great interest in gun history. If the collection holds guns of criminal interest, such as pistols or submachine guns, the police may demand a very high safety level on the keeping of the guns (such as security windows and vault doors). Collectors may also require a time limited permit in order to be allowed to fire their collectibles.

Guns can also be owned for affection value or as decoration. If ammunition for the guns are easy available, they have to be rendered inoperable.

Owning firearms is viewed as more of a privilege than a right.

United Kingdom[edit]

Gun ownership rates vary throughout the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland has a very high rate of gun ownership, one of the highest in the world, and has less restrictive laws than the rest of the UK. In contrast England and Wales have considerably lower rates and Scotland has the lowest in the United Kingdom. Private ownership of firearms is common in many rural areas of Britain.[49] Crime involving firearms has historically been very low in the UK.[citation needed] The gun crime rate rose between 1997 and 2004 but has since slightly receded,[50] while the number of murders from gun crime has largely remained static over the past decade.[51]

Over the course of the 20th century, the UK gradually implemented tighter regulation of the civilian ownership of firearms through the enactment of the 1920, 1937, 1968, 1988(Amendment), and 1997 (Amendment) Firearms Acts and [52] leading to the outright ban on the ownership of all automatic, and most self-loading, firearms in the UK. The ownership of breech-loading handguns is, in particular, also very tightly controlled and effectively limited (other than in Northern Ireland)[53] to those persons who may require such a handgun for the non routine humane killing of injured or dangerous animals. In 2007, the number of deaths in Britain (population 60.7 million) from firearms was 51, and in 2008 it was 42, a 20-year low, with vast parts of the country recording no homicides, suicides or accidental deaths from firearms.[54]

Ownership of most types of firearm in the UK requires either a Shotgun Certificate (SGC) or a Firearm Certificate (FAC). Both of these are issued by local police after the applicant has met the required criteria. For a Shotgun Certificate the applicant need to demonstrate that they can securely store the firearms (usually a gun safe bolted to a solid wall), have no criminal convictions, no history of any medical condition or disability including alcohol and drug related conditions, no history of treatment for depression or any other kind of mental or nervous disorder, or epilepsy. Once a SGC is granted the person is free to purchase single shot, multi-barreled and repeating shotguns of lever action, pump action or semi-automatic with non detachable magazine that hold no more than 2 rounds of ammunition, plus one in the breech. There is no restriction on the number of shotguns that can be held on a SGC nor are there any restrictions on the amount of ammunition one can possess. The shotguns can be used wherever one has permission.

The criteria required for the grant of a Firearm certificate are far more stringent. Alongside safe storage requirements and checks on previous convictions and medical records, the applicant must also demonstrated a Good reason for each firearm they wish to hold (Good reason may include hunting, pest control, collecting or target shooting). Police may restrict the type and amount of ammunition held, and where and how the firearms are used.[55] Historically, most certificates approved for handguns listed "self-defence" as a reason. Since 1968 in mainland Britain, self-defence is not considered an acceptable "good reason" for firearm ownership (however use of a licensed firearm in self-defence is often justified provided that the victim can prove they used necessary and reasonable force). Only in Northern Ireland is self-defence still accepted as a reason. The police should not amend, revoke (even partially) or refuse an FAC without stating a valid reason. (Section 29(1) of the 1968 Act gives the chief officer power to vary, by a notice in writing, any such condition not prescribed by the rules made by the Secretary of State. The notice may require the holder to deliver the certificate to the chief officer within twenty one days for the purpose of amending the conditions. The certificate may be revoked if the holder fails to comply with such a requirement.)

Air rifles under 12 ft·lbf (16 J) and air pistols under 6 ft·lbf (8.1 J) can be purchased legally by anyone over the age of 18, and do not require a licence. Licensing is being discussed for all air weapons in Scotland.[56]

In England, Wales and Scotland, the private ownership of most handguns was banned in 1997 following a gun massacre at a school in Dunblane and a 1987 gun massacre in Hungerford in which the combined deaths was 35 and injured 30. Gun ownership and gun crime was already at a low level, which made these slaughters particularly concerning. Only an estimated 57,000 people —0.1% of the population owned such weapons prior to the ban.[57]

In the UK, only eight percent (8%) of all criminal homicides are committed with a firearm of any kind.[58] In 2005/6 the number of such deaths in England and Wales (population 53.3 million) was just 50, a reduction of 36 per cent on the year before and lower than at any time since 1998/9. In the years immediately after the ban, there was a temporary increase in gun crime, though this has since fallen back. The reason for the increase has not been investigated thoroughly but it is thought that three factors may have raised the number of guns in circulation. These are, the reduction in gun crime in Northern Ireland (which led to guns coming from there to the criminal black market in England); guns (official issue or confiscated) acquired by military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan; and guns coming from Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain.[citation needed]

Firearm injuries in England and Wales also increased in this time.[59] In 2005-06, of 5,001 such injuries, 3,474 (69%) were defined as "slight," and a further 965 (19%) involved the "firearm" being used as a blunt instrument. Twenty-four percent of injuries were caused with air guns, and 32% with "imitation firearms" (including airsoft guns).[60] In 2007 the number of deaths in Britain (population 60.7 million) from firearms was 51, and in 2008 it was 42, a 20-year low, with vast parts of the country recording no homicides, suicides or accidental deaths from firearms.[54]

Honduras[edit]

Gun laws in Honduras took official form under the Act on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Material of 2000, which sets limitations on what firearms and calibers are permitted and which are prohibited for civilian use.[61] In April 2002, the National Arms Registry was formed, requiring all citizens to register their firearms with the Ministry of Defense.[62]

In 2003, a ban on certain assault rifles was passed restricting citizens from possessing military-style rifles such as the AK-47 and the M-16, among other assault rifles.[63] In 2007, an additional decree suspended the right to openly carry a firearm in public as well as limiting the amount of firearms allowed per person.[64]

Hong Kong[edit]

Gun ownership in Hong Kong and Macau is tightly controlled and possession is mainly in the hands of law enforcement, military, and private security firms (providing protection for jewelers and banks). Still, possessing, manufacturing and import/exporting airsoft guns with a muzzle energy not above two joules of kinetic energy is legal to citizens in China's SARs. Under the Section 13 of Cap 238 Firearms and Ammunition Ordinance of the Hong Kong law, unrestricted firearms and ammunition requires a license,[65] and those found in possession without a license could be fined HKD$100,000 and imprisonment for up to 14 years.

A license is issued to people who aren't mentally ill or a felon after a rigorous process. Explosives and fully automatics are the only firearms that appear prohibited. Other firearms may be stored at home in a locked box, but ammunition must be kept on a different premise.[66]

India[edit]

The Arms Act of 1959 and the Arms Rules 1962 of India prohibits the sale, manufacture, possession, acquisition, import, export and transport of firearms and ammunition unless under a license and is a stringent process. Indian Government has monopoly over production and sale of firearms, however, Breech Loading Smooth Bore shotguns are exception to this rule, some manufacturers have been allowed to produce certain number of these.[67] The Arms Act classifies firearms into two categories: Prohibited Bore (PB) and Non-Prohibited Bore (NPB), where all semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms fall under the Prohibited Bore category. Any firearm which can chamber and fire ammunition of the caliber .303; 7.62mm; .410; .380; .455; .45 rimless; 9mm is specified as Prohibited Bore under The Arms Act of 1962. Smooth bore guns having barrel of less than 29" in length are also specified as Prohibited Bore guns.[68]

Before 1987, licenses for acquisition and possession of both PB and NPB firearms could be given by the state government or district magistrate but later, the issue of licenses for PB firearms became the responsibility of the central government. The license is valid of 3 years and needs to be renewed and this rule covers sale of firearms, both parties involved need to possess the permit.[69]

The criteria which are considered during the issue of NPB firearm permits are whether the person faces threat to life. These firearm licenses are strictly regulated; PB firearms criteria is even more stringent, applicable for a person, especially having a government position who faces immediate danger or threats, family members of such people and a person whose occupation by nature involves open threats and danger. Acquiring a PB license has become next to impossible as of 2014 because these are highly regulated. Persons eligible for PB licenses are also frequently rejected on basis of national security grounds.[70][71][72][73][74][75][76] Exceptions are, defense officers who are allowed to keep firearms without licenses under the Defense Service rule until they complete their service and for professional shooters.[69] The most common firearm among households is double barreled shotgun of 12 gauge (also known as DBBL 12 Bore). Other common firearms are .315 Bolt Action Rifle (magazine capacity of 5 cartridges) and .32 Smith&Wesson Long revolver (chamber capacity of 6 cartridges).[77]

Indonesia[edit]

In Indonesia, gun ownership can only be given to:

  • Private corporate officers in banking business, that are CEO(direktur utama) or president director(presiden direktur), members of board of directors and CFO(direktur keuangan)
  • Government official, that are ministers, Member of People's Consultative Assembly and of the People's Representative council, Secretary-General, Inspector-General, Director-General, cabinet secretary, governor, vice governors, Secretary of regional district, inspector of the province, Speakers of Indonesian representative council at the provincial level
  • Active and retired Military and Police personnel.[78]

Iran[edit]

Iraq[edit]

Each household can have only one firearm.

Israel[edit]

It is forbidden in Israel to own any kind of firearm, including air pistols and rifles, without a firearms license.

The list of below personnel are eligible for licenses allowing them to possess firearms:

  • Israel Defense Forces officers honorably discharged with the rank of non-commissioned officer
  • Reservists honorably discharged with the rank of regimental commander
  • Ex–special forces enlisted men
  • Retired police officers with the rank of sergeant
  • Retired prison guards with the rank of squadron commander
  • Licensed public transportation drivers transporting a minimum of five people
  • Full-time dealers of jewellery or large sums of cash or valuables
  • Civil Guard volunteers
  • Residents of militarily strategic buffer zones considered essential to state security
    • Such personnel are allowed to possess one handgun.
  • Reservists honorably discharged with the rank of regimental commander are also eligible for licences allowing them to possess one rifle.
  • Licensed hunters may possess one shotgun
  • Licensed animal-control officers are allowed to possess two rifles
  • Civil Guard snipers may possess one rifle.

To legally own a gun as a souvenir, prize, inheritance, or award of appreciation from the military, an individual must first present proper documentation that they are about to receive it. Permits for gun collectors are extremely rare, and typically only given to ex-high-ranking officers.

To obtain a gun license, an applicant must be a resident of Israel for at least three consecutive years, have no criminal record, be in good health, have no history of mental illness, pass a weapons-training course, and be over a certain age:

  • 20 for women who completed military service or civil service equivalent
  • 21 for men who completed military service or civil service equivalent
  • 27 for those who did not complete military service or civil service equivalent
  • 45 for residents of East Jerusalem.

Gun licenses must be renewed every three years and permits are given only for personal use, not for business in the firearms sale while holders for self-defense purposes may own only one handgun, and may purchase a maximum of fifty rounds a year, except for those shot at firing ranges.

Members of officially recognized shooting clubs (practical shooting, Olympic shooting) are eligible for personal licenses allowing them to possess additional firearms (small bore rifles, handguns, air rifles, and air pistols) after demonstrating a need and fulfilling minimum membership time and activity requirements. Unlicensed individuals are allowed supervised use of pistols at firing ranges.

Following a number of cases of firearm-related suicides at firing ranges, private individuals who do not own firearms are required to present a certificate of good conduct and a physician's health declaration in order to shoot at commercial firing ranges.

Self-defense firearms may be carried in public, concealed or openly, together with ammunition, without needing any additional permits. Israel is notable for being a country with few places where firearms are off limits to licensed individuals (private premises, some government offices and institutions, courts).

In addition to private licenses of firearms, organizations can issue carry licenses to their members for activity related to that organization (e.g. security companies, shooting clubs, other workplaces).

Soldiers are allowed to carry their personal weapons and ammunition together while on furlough during active service, uniformed or in civilian clothing.

In 2005, there were 236,879 private citizens and 154,000 security guards licensed to carry firearms. Another 34,000 Israelis who were previously licensed own guns illegally due to their failure to renew their gun license.[79][80] In 2007, there were estimated to be 500,000 civilian licensed guns in Israel, in addition to 1,757,500 in the military, and 26,040 in the police.[81][82]

The regulation for gun ownership became stricter following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.[citation needed] Gun ownership in Israel is considered a privilege and not a right.[citation needed]

Jamaica[edit]

Violent crime accelerated in Jamaica after handguns were heavily restricted and a special Gun Court established.[83] However a high proportion of the illegal guns in Jamaica can be attributed to guns smuggled in from other countries.[84]

Japan[edit]

During the Tokugawa period in Japan, starting in the 17th century, the government imposed very restrictive controls on the small number of gunsmiths in the nation, thereby ensuring the almost total prohibition of firearms.[85] Japan, in the postwar period, has had gun regulation which is strict in principle. Gun licensing is required, and is heavily regulated by the National Police Agency of Japan.

The weapons law begins by stating "No-one shall possess a fire-arm or fire-arms or a sword or swords", and very few exceptions are allowed.[86] The only types of firearms which a Japanese citizen may acquire are rifles or shotguns. Sportsmen are permitted to possess rifles or shotguns for hunting and for skeet and trap shooting, but only after submitting to a lengthy licensing procedure.[87] Without a license, a Japanese citizen may not even hold a gun in their hands.

The former ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in response to violent crimes by minors and gangsters, has called for rewriting the constitution to include even further stringent firearms control measures.[88] In January 2008 Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in a policy speech called for tighter regulations on firearms.[89]

Kenya[edit]

It is illegal in Kenya to own any type of firearm without a valid gun ownership license as spelled out under the Firearms Act (Cap. 114) Laws of Kenya. Anyone who is 12 years or older can apply to privately own a gun. However, such persons must provide in writing to the Chief Licensing Officer (CLO) stating genuine reason(s) for their need to privately own and carry a firearm. It remains at the discretion of the CLO to make a decision to award, deny or revoke a gun ownership license based on the reason(s) given.

Anyone seeking to hold a gun license must pass the most stringent of background checks that probes into their past and present criminal, mental health and well as domestic violence records. Failure to pass one of these checks automatically bars one from being permitted to own a firearm. These checks are regularly repeated and must be continually passed for anyone to continue holding the gun license. Failure to pass any of these checks at any stage, means an automatic and immediate revocation of the issued license. Once licensed to own a gun, no permit is required in order to carry around a concealed firearm.

Mexico[edit]

Mexican citizens and legal residents may purchase new non-military firearms for self-protection or hunting only after receiving approval of a petition to the Defense Ministry, which performs extensive background checks. The allowed weapons are restricted to relatively small calibers and may only be purchased legally from the Defense Ministry.

Possession of non-military firearms is regulated by Mexican federal law. Pistols are restricted to calibres up to .380 (9mm short), including .38 Special and .38 Super. Revolvers are also allowed in calibers up to .38 special excluding .357 Magnum. Shotguns up to 12 gauge and rifles up to .30 caliber are allowed for hunting and sporting. "Military" firearms, including pistols with bores exceeding .38 caliber, and BB guns (but not pellet guns) require federal licenses and are regulated in a manner similar to that dictated by the U.S. National Firearms Act (NFA). Generally, non-military firearms may be kept at home, but a license is required to carry them outside the home.

President Felipe Calderón has called attention to the alleged problem of the smuggling of guns from the United States into Mexico and has called for increased cooperation from the United States to stop this illegal weapons trafficking.[90][91] A 2009 GAO report is commonly cited as saying 90% of seized guns in Mexico were traced to the US. However, deeper analysis of the numbers shows that 30,000 firearms were seized, of those 7,200 were submitted to the ATF for tracing, 4,000 were traceable, and of those 3,480 came from the US - therefore almost 90% of the guns seized in Mexico in 2008 were not traceable to the United States.[92]

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand's gun laws are notably more liberal than other countries in the Pacific,[citation needed] focusing mainly on vetting firearm owners, rather than registering firearms or banning certain types of firearms. Firearms legislation is provided for in the Arms Act and its associated regulations.

Firearms in New Zealand fall into one of four categories:

Registration is not required for "A Category" firearms, but firearms in any other category require both registration and a "permit to procure" before they are transferred.

Except under supervision of a licence holder, owning or using firearms requires a firearms licence from the police. The licence is normally issued, under the conditions that the applicant has secure storage for firearms, studies the Arms Code and attends a safety lecture and passes a written test. The police will also interview the applicant and two references (one must be a close relative and the other not related) to determine whether the applicant is "fit and proper" to have a firearm. The applicants residence is also visited to check that they have appropriate storage for firearms and ammunition. Having criminal associations or a history of domestic violence, mental instability, alcohol or drug abuse almost always lead to a licence being declined. Misbehaviour involving firearms e.g. being on private land without permission, commonly leads to the license being revoked by the Police.

A standard firearms licence allows the use of "A Category" firearms. To possess firearms of another category they are required to get an endorsement to their licence. There are different endorsements for different classes of firearm but they all require a higher level of storage security, stricter vetting requirements and the applicant must have a 'special reason' for wanting the endorsement.

Generally air guns and paintball markers can be purchased by anybody over 16 (with a license) and unlicensed and unrestricted to persons over 18. However as a result of technology improvements a firearms license is now required to purchase high-powered Pre Charged Pneumatic (PCP) air guns (from October 2010).

Even when licensed, a person may only be in possession of a firearm for a particular lawful, proper and sufficient purpose. Self-defence is specifically excluded from being a proper purpose which needs to be a reason such as travelling to and from a range, on a hunting trip, working as a pest exterminator or if you are a member of the military or police. Even officers of the New Zealand Police force rarely carry a pistol on their person. Instead, firearms, usually one or two pistols, shotgun and an AR-15 style weapon are carried in squad cars, locked in a secure mount.

North Korea[edit]

North Korea strictly prohibits the use, ownership, manufacture, or distribution of firearms by any citizen not serving in the military or special sectors of the government "executing official duties." Anyone in violation of firearms laws are subject to "stern consequences."

According to experts, gun laws were tightened by the late Kim Jong Il towards the end of his reign in an act to ensure control of society and maintain order for the eventual succession of his son Kim Jong Un.[93]

Norway[edit]

Firearms in Norway are regulated by the Firearm Weapons Act,[94] with a new secondary law in effect 1 July 2009 providing more detailed regulation.[95]

Pakistan[edit]

Pakistan has relatively liberal firearm laws compared to the rest of South Asia. In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Pakistan ranks in 6th place.[citation needed] Gun culture is strong among Pakistanis and traditionally important part of rural and urban life.

Russia[edit]

Only Russian citizens who are over eighteen years of age can own civilian firearms. Guns may be acquired for self-defense, hunting or sports activities only. Russian citizens can buy smooth-bore long-barreled firearms and pneumatic weapons with a muzzle energy of up to 25 joules. An individual cannot possess more than ten guns unless part of a registered gun collection, guns that shoot in bursts and having more than a ten-cartridge capacity are prohibited.

Carrying permits are issued for hunting firearms licensed for hunting purposes. People who acquire firearms for the first time are required to attend six and a half hours of classes on handling guns safely and must pass federal tests on safety rules, and their background is checked.[96][further explanation needed] Gun licenses are for five years and can be renewed.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

To obtain a firearms license the person must be a citizen and provide a medical certificate given by a Psychologist. Then the Citizen must give reason for wanting to own whichever weapon he wishes. After he follows the procedure within a week he is given the license or refused. After receiving the license he may go to a gun shop and purchase his firearm or reapply.

Singapore[edit]

Citizens in Singapore must obtain a license to lawfully possess firearms and/or ammunition; applicants must provide justification for the license, such as target shooting or self-defense. Target shooting licenses permit ownership of a gun, stored in an approved and protected firing range. Self-defense permits are nearly never granted, unless one can justify the 'imminent threat to life that cannot be reasonably removed'.

When a license is obtained there is no restriction on types of arms one may own.[97][98][99]

Serbia[edit]

Serbia has relatively liberal weapon laws compared to the rest of Europe. Serbia ranks in 2nd place on the List of countries by gun ownership. Gun culture is strong among Serbs and traditionally important part of rural life.

Weapons are regulated by "Weapons and Ammunition Law" (Zakon o oružju i municiji[100]). Rifles, shotguns and handguns are all allowed to civilians. Handgun ownership is allowed, but the licensing is strict. Concealed carry permits are available to approved handgun owners, but are extremely hard to obtain - one has to prove to the police that his or her life is in imminent danger, and even then, license is far from guaranteed.

In essence, people over 18 are allowed to own guns, but must be issued a permit. People with criminal history, mental disorders, history of alcohol and illegal substance abuse, cannot be issued a permit. There is a thorough background check prior to license approval. Police have the last word on the matter, and there is no court appeal possible. When at home, the guns must be kept in a "safe place", and owner irresponsibility could lead to gun confiscation by police.

Fully automatic weapons and non-lethal self-defense devices are prohibited. Number of guns that may be owned is not limited. Every gun transaction is recorded by police. There is no rifle caliber restriction (Must be smaller than .50BMG, however). Rifle and handgun ammunition is severely restricted, there is a 60 round limit per rifle, per year, except rounds shot at ranges. Shotgun ammo is unrestricted and shell reloading is allowed, but rifle and handgun ammo reloading is not. There is growing pressure, especially from sport shooters associations, to change the law in this regard.

Serbia has its own civilian gun and ammunition industry. Zastava Arms,[101] Prvi Partizan[102] and Krušik[103] export internationally.

South Africa[edit]

South Korea[edit]

South Korea has one of the most restrictive gun policies in the world. Hunting and sporting licenses are issued, but any firearm used in these circumstances must be stored at a local police station. Violation of firearms law can result in a $(US)18,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.

Despite the strict regulations, the vast majority of South Korean males are well trained in the use of firearms, due to the mandatory military service required of all male citizens.[104]

Switzerland[edit]

Switzerland practices universal conscription, which required till 2010 that all able-bodied male citizens keep fully automatic firearms at home in case of a call-up. Since 2010 all service weapons can be kept at home, or in the local armory. The practice is now voluntary. Every male between the ages of 20 and 34 is considered a candidate for conscription into the military, and following a brief period of active duty will commonly be enrolled in the militia until age or an inability to serve ends his service obligation.[105] During their enrollment in the armed forces, these men are required to keep their government-issued selective fire combat rifles and semi-automatic handguns in their homes.[106] Up until September 2007, soldiers received 50 rounds of government-issued ammunition in a sealed box for storage at home.[107]

In 1969 Swiss gun laws were considered to be restrictive,[108] since 1997 the right to private gun ownership is guaranteed by law.[108] Owners are legally responsible for third party access and usage of their weapons.

Licensure is similar to other Germanic countries.[109] In a referendum in February 2011 voters rejected a citizens' initiative which would have obliged armed services members to store their rifles and pistols on military compounds, rather than keep them at home.[110]

Thailand[edit]

A license is needed to own firearms and a reason must be provided such as target shooting or hunting. A license may not be issued to anyone who is a repeat offender or mentally unstable.

Fully automatic firearms and explosive devices are prohibited. A Semi-Automatic centerfire gun with a barrel larger than 16cm are prohibited except for Shotguns . All other types of firearms are permitted under license. A person is also not allowed to carry their gun without an additional permit for concealed carry.[111]

Ukraine[edit]

In Ukraine a license is required to own firearms. If a citizen is:

  • 21 years of age (18 if the license is for hunting)
  • has no criminal record
  • has no history of domestic violence
  • has no mental illness or history of mental illness
  • has good reason (target shooting, hunting, collection)

...then that person may be issued a license.

Once a license is issued, all guns must be kept unloaded and in a safe. If a person owns more than three firearms, the safe must have an alarm on it. Citizens are permitted to own non-fully automatic rifles and shotguns as long as they are stored properly when not in use.

Handguns are illegal except for target shooting and those who hold concealed carry permits. Handguns are only allowed in .22, 9mm, .357mag and .38 calibre. Concealed carry licenses are available, but are not normally issued unless a threat to life is present and can be proven.[112]

United States[edit]

Ownership of most types of firearms is allowed by citizens except criminals and the mentally ill. In addition, the carrying of concealed weapons is explicitly allowed in most states (NY,NJ,CA,MA,RI,CT,HI,MD,DE are may issue) except for a small set of prohibitions like mental illness, convicted felon, etc.[113] Regulation regarding the purchase process, type of firearms allowed, and purchase of ammunition varies from state to state.

The issue of firearms has, at times, taken a high-profile position in United States culture and politics.[114]

Incidents of gun violence and self-defense also generate debate. In 2007 12,632 murders were committed using firearms and 613 persons were killed unintentionally.[115]

The American Journal of Public Health conducted a study that concluded "the United States has higher rates of firearm ownership than do other developed nations, and higher rates of homicide. Of the 233,251 people who were homicide victims in the United States between 1988 and 1997, 68% were killed with guns, of which the large majority were handguns."[116] The ATF estimated in 1995 that the number of firearms available in the US was 223 million.[117]

In an argument against gun control, the National Center for Policy Analysis, a non-profit conservative think tank, reported the following statistics in 1992:[118]

  • New Jersey adopted what sponsors described as "the most stringent gun law" in the nation in 1966; two years later the murder rate was up 46% and the reported robbery rate had nearly doubled.
  • In 1968, Hawaii imposed a series of increasingly harsh gun control measures and its murder rate tripled from a low of 2.4 per 100,000 in 1968 to 7.2 by 1977.
  • In 1976, Washington, D.C. enacted one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation. Since then, the city's murder rate has risen 134% while the national murder rate has dropped 2%.

Vietnam[edit]

Gun laws in Vietnam are generally referred to as restrictive.

The only type of weapon Vietnamese citizens may own is a shotgun, and this is only after a license has been issued. The individual applying for the license must provide valid reasoning for wanting the shotgun such as hunting, and must be at least 18 years of age.

Handguns and automatic weapons are prohibited.[119]

See also[edit]

National gun political groups[edit]

References[edit]

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