Overview of gun laws by nation

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Gun laws and policy vary considerably around the world.

National gun laws by country and regions[edit]



It is illegal in Kenya to own any type of firearm without a valid gun ownership licence 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 licence based on the reason(s) given.

Anyone seeking to hold a gun licence must pass the most stringent of background checks that probe into their past and present criminal, mental health and 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 licence. Failure to pass any of these checks at any stage, means an automatic and immediate revocation of the issued licence. Once licensed to own a gun, no permit is required in order to carry around a concealed firearm.

South Africa[edit]



Gun ownership in the People's Republic of China is heavily regulated by law. Generally, private citizens are not allowed to possess guns and penalties for arms trafficking include life imprisonment.

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 authorized, non-individual entities, including sporting organizations, authorized hunting reserves and wildlife protection, management and research organizations. The chief exception to the general ban for individual gun ownership is for the purpose of hunting.[1][2]

Illegal possession or sale of firearms may result in a minimum punishment of 3 years in prison.[3]

Hong Kong and Macau[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 licence,[4] and those found in possession without a licence could be fined HKD$100,000 and imprisonment for up to 14 years.

A licence 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 different premises.[5]

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.[6]


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 licence and is a stringent process. Indian Government has monopoly over production and sale of firearms, with the exception of some breech loading smooth bore shotguns, of which a limited number may be produced and imported.[7] 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 20" in length are also specified as Prohibited Bore guns.[8]

Before 1987, licences 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 licences 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.[9]

The criteria which are considered during the issue of NPB firearm permits are whether the person faces threat to life. These firearm licences 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 licence has become next to impossible as of 2014 because these are highly regulated. Persons eligible for PB licences are also frequently rejected on basis of national security grounds.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] Exceptions are, defence officers who are allowed to keep firearms without licences under the Defence Service rule until they complete their service and a handful of professional shooters.[9] 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).[17]


Indonesia has generally strict gun laws. Gun licences in Indonesia are normally only issued to civilians employed in a profession that involves firearms such as military and law enforcement, also included in this exception would be politicians and businessmen.

The minimum age for a firearms licence is 21 years old. Applicants must go through a very thorough background check as well as mental evaluation. They must also stand a genuine reason for wanting to own a firearm, these reasons would include hunting, target shooting, collection, security and self-defence. All guns are also registered in Indonesia. Gun permits last for five years and must be renewed after.[18]

Civilians cannot possess military weapons, but may possess long guns. Hand guns can only be for sport-shooting and hunting. In 2012 however, it is claimed that the police had been issuing permits to regular citizens.[19]


In the Lebanese Republic, ownership of any firearm other than pistols, revolvers, hunting arms and antiques is illegal and only the latter two are permitted to leave the owner's home, ironically making Lebanon one of the most gun controlled nations in the Middle East. Disregard for this law, however, is prevalent. Lebanon does not grant the right to bear arms officially, but it is a firmly held cultural belief in the country. Firearms licenses are granted to certain individuals, but the test is not open to the public and requires a particular need for said permit.[20]

Gun control has been largely unsuccessful in Lebanon due mainly to a historic gun culture, a lack of effective central government control or authority over many parts of the country, and the tumultuous nature of the region. Even though gunsmithing was once prominent in the region, it has all but ceased since the mid 1930s, but remains perfectly legal according to Lebanese law so long as one possesses a permit. Regardless, the pressing of ammunition is widespread in the nation and arms smuggling is one of the most uncontrolled and lucrative businesses in the region, especially in the city of Tripoli. Lebanon has come to be one of the largest, if not most dangerous, arms markets in the Middle East.[21]

Lebanon ranks 28th out of 178 in the world's privately owned firearms to citizen ratio, making it one of the world's most heavily armed gun-controlled nations.[20]


Civilians must obtain a firearms license to lawfully acquire, possess, sell, or transfer firearms and ammunition. Soldiers are required to leave their weapons on base when not on active duty.[22]

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

  • Israel Defense Forces honorably discharged with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel
  • Reserve military personnel of Master Sergeant or higher rank
    • Eligible to possess one pistol.
  • Ex–special forces enlisted men
  • Retired police officers with the rank of sergeant
  • Retired prison guards with the rank of squadron commander
  • Residents of 'qualifying towns' (towns on frontiers, in the West Bank and the Golan Heights)
    • West Bank residents may possess handguns and can be issued automatic rifles by the army for personal protection. The automatic rifles are the property of the army and may be recalled at any time.
  • Licensed hunters
    • May possess two shotguns
  • Licensed animal-control officers
    • May possess two rifles

In addition, those applying for permission to possess firearms must meet certain age requirements:

  • 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 non-citizens.

To obtain a firearms license, an applicant must be a resident of Israel for at least three consecutive years, pass a background check that considers the applicant's health, mental, and criminal history, establish a genuine reason for possessing a firearm (such as self-defense, hunting, or sport) from a list of sanctioned criteria, and pass a weapons-training course. The Israeli government maintains an official registry of all residents with firearms licenses.[23]

All those holding firearms licenses must renew them and re-take a shooting course at a gun range every three years. Security guards must pass a psychological exam to renew their license to carry firearms belonging to their employers.[24] They must demonstrate they have a safe at home in which to keep the firearm. 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 are given a lifetime supply of 50 cartridges to take home.[25]

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).

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) and ammunition after demonstrating a need and fulfilling minimum membership time and activity requirements. Unlicensed individuals who want to engage in practice shooting are allowed supervised use of pistols at firing ranges.

Individuals who do not have private firearms licenses and are not members of recognized shooting clubs are prohibited from entering civilian shooting ranges in Israel.

Most individuals who are licensed to possess pistols may carry them loaded in public, concealed or openly.[23]

Around 40% of applications for firearms permits are rejected.[26]

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.[27][28] 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.[29][30]

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.

Under Israeli law, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm is 10 years in prison.[23]


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.[31]

During Japan's rule on Taiwan, Japan implemented anti-gun laws against the Taiwanese aborigines. This led to the outbreak of armed insurrection by Aboriginals against the Japanese in response to the Japanese confiscating Aboriginal guns. The Bunun and Atayal were described as the "most ferocious" Aboriginals, and police stations were targeted by Aboriginals in intermittent assaults.[32] By January 1915, all Aboriginals in northern Taiwan were forced to hand over their guns to the Japanese, however head hunting and assaults on police stations by Aboriginals still continued after that year.[33][34] Between 1921 and 1929 Aboriginal raids died down, but a major revival and surge in Aboriginal armed resistance erupted from 1930–1933 for four years during which the Wushe Incident occurred and Bunun carried out raids, after which armed conflict again died down.[35] According to a 1933-year book, wounded people in the Japanese war against the Aboriginals numbered around 4,160, with 4,422 civilians dead and 2,660 military personnel killed.[36] According to a 1935 report, 7,081 Japanese were killed in the armed struggle from 1896–1933 while the Japanese confiscated 29,772 Aboriginal guns by 1933.[37] The Bunun Aboriginals under Chief Raho Ari 拉荷·阿雷 (lāhè· āléi) engaged in guerilla warfare against the Japanese for twenty years. Raho Ari's revolt, called the Dafen incident w:zh:大分事件 was sparked when the Japanese implemented a gun control policy in 1914 against the Aboriginals in which their rifles were impounded in police stations when hunting expeditions were over. The revolt began at Dafen when a police platoon was slaughtered by Raho Ari's clan in 1915. A settlement holding 266 people called Tamaho was created by Raho Ari and his followers near the source of the Laonong River and attracted more Bunun rebels to their cause. Raho Ari and his followers captured bullets and guns and slew Japanese in repeated hit and run raids against Japanese police stations by infiltrating over the Japanese "guardline" of electrified fences and police stations as they pleased.[38]

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 firearm or firearms or a sword or swords", and very few exceptions are allowed.[39] However, citizens are permitted to possess firearms for hunting and sport shooting, but only after submitting to a lengthy licensing procedure.[40]


Malaysia has very strict gun laws. The Arms Act (1960) [41] states that Malaysian citizens need a license for everything relating to guns: from manufacturing, import, export, repairs, to owning guns. A gun license can only be granted by the Chief Police Officer of a state. The punishment for discharging firearms in committing crimes such as extortion, robbery, resisting arrest, and house-breaking is the death penalty. Exhibiting a gun for any of the scheduled offences (without discharging a firearm) carries a penalty of imprisonment for life and caning of not less than six strokes. The penalty of possession of unlawful firearms is up to fourteen years of prison and caning.[42] It is quite impossible for the general public to obtain a gun through legal means. However, a black market for guns does exist.[43]

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.[44]


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. Laws regulate the carrying of weapons in public in most urban areas. Private guns are prohibited in educational institutions, hostels or boarding and lodging houses, fairs, gatherings or processions of a political, religious, ceremonial or sectarian character, and on the premises of Courts of law or public offices.[45] Gun culture is strong among Pakistanis and traditionally important part of rural life in its North-Western areas where it is not uncommon to see people carrying RPGs, AK-47, AK-74, Lee–Enfield, Martini rifle, Martini–Enfield, PK machine gun etc.


The Philippines has generally strict gun laws, but has one of the most liberal compared to the rest of the Asia-Pacific region due to its active gun culture. The presence of a gun culture in the Philippines can be traced to the long-term effects of American influence. Philippine gun control became notorious in 1972 during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos who implemented a near-prohibition of all civilian guns. Modern-day gun laws in the Philippines are outlined from Republic Act 10591 which was signed by Philippine president Benigno Aquino III in 2013. In order to own a firearm, a citizen must acquire a Possession License. Applicants must be at a minimum age of 21 years, and have no history of criminal activity as well as domestic violence. Citizens are also legally allowed to carry their pistols and handguns in public with the acquisition of a Permit to Carry or PTC, which are granted on a May-Issue basis.[46] Applicants must have a good reason for applying for a PTC, such as the imminent threat of danger. Republic Act 10591 allows lawyers or members of the Philippine Bar, certified public accountants, accredited media practitioners, cashiers, bank tellers, priests, ministers, rabbis and imams, physicians, nurses, and engineers to be granted a Permit to Carry.

Gun owners are required by law to renew their licenses every two years, and registration of their guns every four years. Failure to comply will result in revocation as well as confiscation of guns.

Most Filipinos own firearms for self-protection and target-shooting. Hunting and target-shooting also require licenses. Despite the strict laws, gun culture is particularly strong in the Philippines.[47]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

In Saudi Arabia there is no legal market for firearms. Only a few shops are allowed to sell spring rifles or air rifles.

However, many types of firearms are available on the black market, from 22lr pistols to fully automatic light machine guns like RPD and RPK. Their prices in the black market are approximately four or five times the average market price. The price for an AK47 ranges between $2,500 to $10,000 depending on the type and manufacturer.

The government periodically allows those who obtained their firearms from the black market to register and license them. There are two types of licenses:

- license to own a firearm: This license allows you to own a firearm with a specific amount of ammunition. Owners of this license are not allowed to carry their weapons unless they obtain a temporary carrying license.

- carry license: This license allows the owner to carry the firearm in places that are not the two holy mosques, schools, hospitals, and other public places. Only pistols that are not used by the government are permitted to have this license (glock is prohibited).

Citizens shall not have a certain reason to carry or own the firearm. Anyone who has a gun bought from black market can apply for license. After applying for the license, applicants shall go under thorough background check and mental health screening. Then the firearm is being checked and its projectile being tested for bore prints, then if all steps are successful and firearm is not associated with any crimes the license is issued.

Hunting with firearms is strictly prohibited.

United Arab Emirates[edit]

The firearms laws of the United Arab Emirates are surprisingly relaxed compared to other countries in the region. Citizens may own any rifle, handgun and shotgun with no restrictions (automatics are legal). The United Arab Emirates shares a similar acquisition system like the United States, a background check shall be initiated when one would like to purchase a firearm and a citizen will need a certificate of good standing that can be acquired at any police station. The UAE has some of the lowest gun-crime in the world. [48]


Citizens in Singapore must obtain a license to lawfully possess firearms and/or ammunition; applicants must provide justification for the licence, such as target shooting or self-defense. Target shooting licences permit ownership of a gun, provided it is securely stored in an approved and protected firing range, and is not taken out of the firing range without special permission. Self-defence permits are nearly never granted, unless one can justify the 'imminent threat to life that cannot be reasonably removed'.

When a licence is obtained there is no restriction on types of arms one may own.[49][50][51]

South Korea[edit]

South Korea has restrictive gun policies. Hunting and sporting licenses are issued, but any firearm used in these circumstances must be stored at a local police station. Even air rifles have to be stored at police station armories now, which practically means that there is no more private firearm ownership in Korea anymore as many firearm owners in Western countries would consider this a form of confiscation. Crossbows, electric shock devices, etc. are also considered firearms but their private retention is still allowed unlike in the case of air rifles. Tasers are totally illegal to the public. Violation of firearms law can result in a $(US)18,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. Even possessing a toy gun without an orange tip is strictly prohibited .[52] The status of "gun ownership" in South Korea in its current form where any and all firearms are under state custody precludes the "Ausuebung der tatsaechlichen Gewalt" and is rather similar to a situation where railroad vehicles are donated to the state by a company and then the company has just the operation rights to receive part of revenues("gibu chenap"). As such, private gun possession can be called to be totally abolished in South Korea, unlike in restrictive countries like Japan where licensed gun owners can keep shotguns, air rifles, and rifles (after 10 years of shotgun ownership) on their own premises, or Singapore where licensed guns are kept at civilian shooting ranges.

Despite the world's strictest restrictions on civilian gun ownership, the majority of South Korean men are well trained in the use of firearms, due to mandatory military service.[52]

While private firearm ownership in South Korea is exceptionally rare, there have been notable instances of firearm-related mass casualty incidents, most notably the Uiryeong massacre (carried out by a policeman using stolen military weapons), which was the deadliest lone-gunman massacre until the 2011 Norway attacks. Despite this, gun culture is notably absent in South Korean society outside of the military, and gun ownership and deaths rank among the lowest in the world.[53][54] The largest gun-related crimes in Korea were committed by dictatorship regimes, such as the Bodo League massacre and Gwangju massacre.


Gun ownership in Taiwan by ordinary citizens is prohibited. There are currently more than 5,000 legal private handgun owners, which 1,000 are used for self-defense and 4,000 are used for hunting by the Taiwanese aborigines. Gun owners are required to receive regular inspection every two years and random inspections anytime by the police.[55]


A license is granted only for self-defense, property protection, hunting, or sporting use.[56] A license may not be issued to anyone who is a repeat offender or mentally unstable. A person is also not allowed to carry their gun without an additional permit for concealed carry.[57] Even for Thai citizens permitted to own firearms, firearms are expensive.[58]

Fully automatic firearms and explosive devices are prohibited.[59]

Firearms with a rifled barrel are permitted if, and only if, bore diameter is equal or less than 11.45 mm.

Firearms with a smooth bore barrel are permitted if, and only if, barrel diameter is equal or less than 20 mm except for muzzle loading guns, shotguns, and flare guns, which are permitted without barrel diameter limitation.

Semi-automatic guns are permitted if, and only if, barrel length is equal or shorter than 160 mm except for shotguns and .22lr guns (barrel diameter equal or less than 5.6 mm) are permitted without barrel length limitation.

Suppressors and firearms with built-in suppressors are prohibited.

Chemical caliber firearms, toxic caliber firearms, biological firearms, flame gun or radiation caliber firearms are prohibited.

Incendiary and armor-piercing ammunition is prohibited.

Firearms using .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, or .45 ACP are permitted for sporting reasons only (de facto, but not in law).

A license is needed for pellet caliber airguns as with other firearms, except for airsoft BB guns.


Turkey is generally considered restrictive in terms of gun control statutes.[60] Automatic and semi-automatic firearms are "prohibited for civilian possession (with no or limited exceptions)", and for any application, "an applicant may be asked to produce a medical certificate confirming he or she is capable of handling firearms and that he or she has no psychological — or physical — impediments"[61]

Background checks are mandatory, and a "genuine reason" is required for issue of licenses[62]


Gun laws in Vietnam are generally referred to as restrictive as all civilians not serving in the military are not allowed to own any kind of firearm.

The only type of weapon Vietnamese citizens may own is a shotgun, and this is only after a government license has been issued after a background check. 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.

Furthermore, official members of the Vietnam Shooting Federation (VSF) are granted permission to own specific sport-shooting guns, including pistols and rifles of small calibers (e.g. .22 LR)

All types of handguns, rifles and automatic weapons are prohibited.[63] Airguns and BB guns are also banned, however they are not classified as arms, but fall under the "dangerous toys" category.

In Asia, in 1530, Emperor Mạc Đăng Doanh prohibited people from carrying arms in the public for fear of banditry and robbery.



Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina has relatively liberal weapon laws compared to the rest of Europe. Weapons are regulated by "Weapons and Ammunition Law".[64]

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 (neighbors and family). To obtain a permit, the applicant must complete a course and pass a written multiple choice exam. Police have the last word on the matter, and there is appeal possible, to police captain only. When at home, the guns must be kept in a "safe place", and owner irresponsibility could lead to gun confiscation by police. With a permit issued, a person is allowed to carry their gun concealed. Pepper spray is allowed to females only and must be registered with police.


Civilians above 18 are allowed to purchase and own guns for hunting and sports (that include: Pump action shotguns, hunting rifles, Carbines, Combined hunting firearms) or self-defense (pistols, air guns, spray cans, electric tranquilizers) or collection. Person must obtain a permit from MIA of Georgia first. Permit cannot be issued for: Mentally ill, drug addicts, alcoholics, Persons with criminal records.[65]


A license is required to own or possess firearms. National government safety course required before applying for a license. Special license required to own pistols. Pistols may only be used for target shooting at a licensed range. Semi automatic firearms have caliber restrictions. Automatic firearms not permitted.


Firearms in Norway are regulated by the Firearm Weapons Act,[66] with a new secondary law in effect 1 July 2009 providing more detailed regulation.[67]


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. Rifles allowed after five years of ownership of a shotgun. Handguns generally are not allowed. Short barrel rifles and shotguns (less than 800 mm) are prohibited as well as suppressors. An individual cannot possess more than ten guns (up to five shotguns and up to five rifles) unless part of a registered gun collection, guns that shoot in bursts and have 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 a background check.[68] Gun licenses are for five years and can be renewed.


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, which measures the number of guns per capita for a given country. Gun culture is strong among Serbs and especially important part of rural life.

Weapons are regulated by "Weapons and Ammunition Law" (Zakon o oružju i municiji[69]). 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[citation needed]. 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,[70] Prvi Partizan[71] and Krušik[72] export internationally.


Gun possession in Switzerland is relatively high compared to most European countries (in 2005 about 29% of households keep a firearm at home,[73] and there are estimated 25 guns per 100 residents to be found at home (lower than Germany, France, and Austria),[74] though including militia issued firearms). However, ammunition would not be easily acquired for militia weapons, since one is only allowed to purchase ammunition for privately owned weapons and since 2007 Government issued ammunition are not allowed to be stored at home. The Swiss have universal conscription for military service.[75] A recent referendum in 2011 on a call to force the weapons to be kept at military sites was defeated.[76] However weapons may voluntarily be kept in the local armory and there is no longer an obligation to keep the weapon at home.

The Swiss "Federal Law on Arms, Arms Accessories and Ammunitions" (WG, LArm) of 20 June 1997, has as its objectives (Article 1) to combat the wrongful use of arms, their accessories, parts and ammunition. It governs the acquisition of arms, their introduction into Swiss territory, export, storage, possession, carrying, transport, brokerage. It regulates the manufacture and trade in arms, and seeks to prevent the wrongful carrying of ammunition and dangerous objects. Article 3 states that "The right to acquire, possess and carry arms is guaranteed in the framework of this law".[77][78]


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 caliber. A license is required to own firearms, and a citizen may be issued a license if that person:

  • is 21 years of age (18 if the license is for hunting) for shotguns;
  • is 25 years of age for rifles;
  • has no criminal record;
  • has no history of domestic violence;
  • has no mental illness or history of mental illness; and
  • has good reason (target shooting, hunting, collection).

Concealed carry licenses are available, but are not normally issued unless a threat to life is present and can be proven.[79]

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.

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
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 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.[80]

Prior to abolition 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.[81] 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.[82] 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 may be in possession of one or more firearms during that journey, 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 a journey through Member States that have more stringent laws and generally prohibit such firearms within their territory.[83] For example: UK allows sound moderators, Belgium does not, a UK shooter traveling through Belgium may not have his sound moderator with him.

Also important, the EU firearms pass is not a permit on its own, the originally issued permit from the home country should always accompany it.

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 possession may be possible only in special cases.[84]
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.[82]
  • subject to prior authorization.[85]
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[82]
  • subject to registration.[86]
Category D
- Other firearms
Single-shot long firearms with smooth-bore barrels. Acquisition and possession allowed only to persons older than 18.[82]

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

Guns are currently divided into five categories:
  • Category A - Restricted and military firearms
    • Military weapons:
      • Automatic Weapons
      • Semi automatic rifles not approved for civilian use
    • Forbidden weapons:
      • firearms disguised as other objects,
      • fast collapsible, shortenable or demountable firearms,
      • shotguns with an overall length under 90 cm and/or a barrel length under 45 cm,
      • silencers
      • weaponlights for rifles
      • brass knuckles
      • certain kinetic energy weapons like blackjacks / saps
      • flexible steel rods
Licenses to own 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. Carrying permits for these kind of weapons are extremely rare.
  • Category B - Firearms requiring a license: Semi automatic rifles for sporting and hunting, repeating (non-pump action) and semi automatic shotguns and firearms 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 rifle models are required to be certified in order to be classified under category B, otherwise they are considered category A. A license can either be obtained in the form of a hunting license, firearms license ("Waffenbesitzkarte", for sporting, collecting and self-defense at home or work) or a concealed carry permit ("Waffenpass", for carrying a loaded firearm outside of the owner's home or workplace), with the firearms license being the most common form of category B gun ownership. Also these firearms must be stored in a way that "unauthorized access can be prevented" by the owner.
  • Category C - Firearms requiring registration: Break action rifles and all repeating rifles (i.e. bolt-, lever- or pump action). All Austrian citizens aged 18 and 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 the firearms after doing the required background check). Now also includes break action shotguns (formerly category D).
  • Category D - other Weapons: Break action shotguns. All Austrian citizens aged 18 and 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). This category was removed and all category D weapons are now category C weapons.
  • Less effective / antique firearms - Weapons with matchlock, wheellock, flintlock ignition, single shot percussion guns, guns made before 1871, air and CO2-guns. All Austrian citizens aged 18 or over can freely buy and own this type of weapon without any registration.

Air guns and Air-soft guns are not restricted and even open carry in public is technically legal, though it might be considered a misdemeanor ("public disturbance") should bystanders complain to police.

Ammo sales are generally not recorded and most ammo is available without a permit (Permit required for handgun ammo, i.e. 9mm, as well as some rifle ammo).

The Republic of Cyprus has strict gun control. Private citizens are completely forbidden from owning handguns and rifles in any calibre, even .22 rimfire. Only shotguns are allowed, and these require a licence. Shotguns are limited to two rounds. The only shotguns typically sold in stores are double-barrelled 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. Licences are issued by provincial police. A gun licence 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 licence.[87]
Czech Republic[edit]
Gun ownership in the Czech Republic is regulated by gun laws adhering to the European Firearms Directive. The law allows the acquisition and possession of firearms to persons who are not likely to be a danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety and have good cause; self defense is also considered to be a good cause. Generally, a firearm licence in the Czech Republic is available to anybody above statutory age with a clean criminal history who passes reliability check (e.g. no proven alcohol/drug abuse, no repeated offences related to firearms, intoxication, public order, violence, fishing or hunting), tests about firearms legislation, weapon knowledge and first aid, and a medical inspection (which may optionally include psychological test). The Czech Republic is as a shall issue country.
For ownership of weapons categories A (Prohibited firearms), B (Firearms subject to authorization) and C (Firearms subject to declaration) a firearm license is needed. Moreover for purchase of each weapon category A or B a police issued purchase permit is required prior the purchase. Purchase of category A firearm requires police issued exception, such exception is very rare and good cause for purchase of such prohibited firearm is required by law. Silencers, gun sights constructed on the principle of night vision devices, and laser sights are prohibited (classified as category A firearms).
After the purchase a registration of the firearm category A, B or C with the police is mandatory.
Gun ownership for self-defense purposes is acceptable. Unlike most European countries the Czech gun laws allow its citizens to carry a concealed firearm without the need to prove a specific reason. For self-defense purposes by private citizens only FMJ and soft point ammo is legal in handguns. Number of firearms owned by a single citizen is not limited, however one person may at one time carry no more than two concealed weapons. Safe storage rules are defined by the law and the requirements on storage depend on the number of firearms stored and/or amount of ammo stored.
Sport shooting is the third most widespread sport in the country (after football (soccer) and ice hockey).

Civilians in Denmark can acquire gun licenses for hunting and/or sports shooting.

A person aged 16 or above must take a written multiple choice test as well as a practical test in order to receive a hunting license. When the test is passed, the police determine if the person is fit to receive a hunting license. If the person has none or only minor marks on the their criminal record, a license is usually provided.

The hunting license permits the person to purchase and possess an unlimited number of shotguns, which must be registered within 8 days of purchase. A registered hunter can also apply for licenses to purchase rifles on a case-by-case basis. Each application is evaluated by the police.

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. No type of weapon is explicitly prohibited, but licences are granted only for a reason. In general, this excludes all but hunting and sports guns from non-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 have dual-license to their parents weapons. In 2011, 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.
Main article: Gun laws in France
In France, to buy a firearm, a hunting licence or a shooting sport license is necessary. All semi-automatic rifles with a capacity greater than 3 rounds, all handguns and all rifles chambered in 'military' calibres, including bolt action, require permits. These are known as B1, B2 and B4 type permits. 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 kept at home (1000 rounds per gun).
The total number of firearms owned by an individual is also subject to limits (not possible to have more than 12 authorizations/permits on B1, B2 and B4 type firearms).[88] As of September, 2013, France has a capacity limit of 20 rounds for handguns;[89] one needs a permit for category one[clarification needed] semi-automatics that have a capacity greater than 3 rounds. Fully automatic firearms are illegal for civilian ownership.
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.[90] 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 18 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. For shooters it is necessary to be a member of a shooting club for more than one year. Furthermore, within the last 12 months, a visit to a shooting club must be recorded no fewer than 18 times.
The second tier is a firearms carry permit which allows concealed 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. (31. December 2013) people in the country.[91]
Greece has strict gun control. Private citizens are completely forbidden from owning handguns and rifles in any calibre, even .22 rimfire. Only shotguns are allowed, and these require a licence. Shotguns are limited to three rounds. The only shotguns typically sold in stores are double-barrelled side-by-sides or over-unders. Pump actions and semiautomatics are allowed.
A private citizen can own a limitless number of different shotguns. A citizen is not required to specify a reason for ownership to obtain a license, but most own their guns for hunting. Licences are issued by provincial police. A gun licence is not required to buy ammunition, and ammunition sales are not recorded. Greece also not controls airguns, and airgun owners are not require a licence.[87]
Gun ownership in Hungary is regulated by Law 24/2004 and Law revision 13/2012.[92] 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 fewer than 10 times in a year (on average).[93]

Firearms generally require a firearms certificate (commonly referred to as a licence) in Ireland, though several exceptions to this (such as couriers transporting firearms or people shooting at authorised fairground stalls or shooting ranges with club-owned firearms) exist. To obtain a firearms certificate, applicants apply to either their local Garda Superintendent (for unrestricted firearms) or to their local Garda Chief Superintendent (for restricted firearms). The licensing person has three months in which to issue a grant or refusal of the certificate. If a licence is refused, the applicant may appeal the decision to the local District Court. If the licensing person grants an application, the applicant pays the certificate fee at their local Post Office and the certificate is mailed to them. The fee is eighty euro and the certificate lasts three years from the date of issue.

Irish firearms law is based on several Firearms Acts, each of which amends those Acts which were issued previously. The Firearms Act 1925,[94] laid the foundations of the system of licensing. Relatively small modifications were introduced in 1964,[95] 1968,[96] 1971,[97] 1990,[98] 1998[99] and 2000,[100] but the cumulative effect of even small modifications (along with modifications in other Acts and confusion over which amendments were commenced and which were not) was such that by 2006, the Irish Law Reform Commission recommended[101] that all the extant legislation be restated (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[102] however, contained an enormous rewrite of the Firearms Act, rewriting almost 80% of the Act. It was quickly followed by further amendments in 2007[103] and further major amendments in 2009,[104] exacerbating the legislative confusion. As of 2014, the Law Reform Commission recommendation still stands and has not as yet been fully acted upon; the Firearms Act consists of the initial 1925 Act amended by approximately twenty 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 several hundred judicial review cases won in the High Court and Supreme Court by firearms owners, all relating to licensing decisions where the licensee held that the licensing person had not adhered to the Firearms Act.

As of 2014, this confusion persists and further cases continue to be brought before the courts.

Main article: Gun politics in Italy
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 own firearms: Hunting license; Shooting Sports license; and Concealed Carry license.
A shooting sports license allows the licensee to transport his/her weapon all throughout the national territory to use it in designated shooting ranges; upon transportation, said guns must be stored in a locked case and unloaded. The hunting license allows holders to engage in hunting with firearms, 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 at 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 gun license of any sort.

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 annually inspect civilian firearms. Fully automatic guns are banned, but there are otherwise few restrictions on the types of guns one may own. 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. Radio Netherlands Worldwide
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 in the past, gun ownership in Poland is the lowest in the European Union, at one firearm per 100 citizens.[105] However, the gun laws were relaxed in 2011 and then in 2014. The main part of the new legislation was the removal of police discretionary power to refuse the licence without any explanation, making it possible for relatively determined person to obtain the permit. Now as long as all criminal record, firearms training, storage and psychological exam requirements are met police has no authority to refuse the licence. Licenses to own Firearms for civilians divided into 4 categories

1. For Hunting Shotguns and rifles are permitted including semi-automatics. Hunting permit is one of the easiest legal means to own firearms in Poland. One has to belong to hunting association and pass hunting course and then regular firearms screening like criminal record check, medical and psychological exam and prove ability to safely store firearms. There is limit on number of firearms owned in this category maximum 10 guns. One when applying for the hunting licence has to specify number of firearms they intend to own. If they say 2 permit is issued for 2 and each additional firearm beyond 2 one has to reapply for new permit. Hunting permits are valid for 5 years

2. For Collection This type of permit is also one of the easier ways to own firearms in Poland by easy it is meant less than 6 months from the start of the process to actual possession of a firearm. One needs to demonstrate valid reason and interest in order to apply for collectors permit. Regular firearms screening like criminal record check, medical and psychological exam and prove ability to safely store firearms are also required. The limits on numbers of firearms individual may poses under this licence are relatively liberal. Shooting and ammunition possession for collector firearms are governed by separate permit. This type of license does not allow to carry firearm in public.

3. Target shooting It is quite regulated permit and will normally take 6-12 months to obtain. It requires applicant to belong to target shooting association and possess valid Shoothing Competition License which annual renewal requires taking part in 2 to 4 ISSF regulated shooting competitions for each firearm category (pistol, rifle, shotgun) per year. Regular firearms screening like criminal record check, medical and psychological exam and prove ability to safely store firearms are also required. This type of license allows also carrying loaded concealed firearm in public.

4. For self-defence It is one of the most regulated permit to get only less than 20000 issued in the whole country. One needs to really demonstrate need for such permit it is not easily given unless there is a really good reason

There are also separate permits for higher ranking ex-military and police officers general they are allowed to own 25cal small pistol for the rest of their life There are also institutional permits for Security Companies they allow if there is a valid reason for most types of firearms including automatic firearms

There is no requirement for a firearms license for:

  • Separate loading weapons constructed before 1885 or replicas of those weapons
  • Weapons collected in museum collections (others regulations)
  • Professional weapons dealers (separate concession needed)
  • Gunsmiths (regulated by other laws)
  • Handheld incapacitating gas throwers
  • Weapons with shooting ability permanently removed
  • Starting pistol or other handgun, that could fire only 6mm (or less) caliber blank cartridges
  • Airsoft guns with fire power less than 17J
  • Airsoft guns with fire power equal or more than 17J (although, the firearm must be registered at appropiate police department after purchase)

Some types of weapons, such as crossbows, require the same license as the firearms.

In order to get a gun license, one must:

In general, the permit is shall issue for sport shooting, collecting or hunting and may issue for self defence.

Gun ownership in Romania is regulated by Law 295/2004. Romania has one of the toughest gun ownership laws in the world.[106] 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.
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.[107]
The use of guns for self-defense is only allowed if the gun is a last resort option.[108]
Gun ownership in Slovakia is regulated principally by law 190/2003.[109] 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. Fully automatic guns, sound suppressors 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 entire process of legally obtaining a firearm takes about three weeks. The license allowing concealed carry 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, being a victim of violent crime in past, self defence etc. Possession of a firearm for home defense is generally much easier than obtaining concealed carry permit. 2% of the adult Slovak population holds a license allowing for concealed carry.[110]
In Slovenia gun ownership is regulated under the "Weapons Law" (Zakon o orožju) which is harmonised with the directives of the EU. The civilian ownership and purchase of firearms requires a specific reason:
  • for hunting or target shooting, a person must obtain a proof of their membership in a hunting or shooting sports organization.
  • 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". As such, it is rarely granted.
  • for collection, a person must arrange a safe place to store the weapons, with a level of security dependent on type of weapons.

Like in most EU member states, the ownership of Category A firearms is prohibited to civilians, however these firearms can be owned by the weapon collectors, providing that some other requirements are met. Regardless of the reason, before applying for a gun permit one must receive a medical exam and a test on the safe use of firearms. The applicant should additionally be at least 18 years old, reliable, without criminal history and has not been a conscientious objector (although one could revoke it at any time later). When keeping weapons at home the gun must be stored in a locked cabinet with ammunition stored in a separate location. Concealed carry is allowed in some special circumstances. The law also requires the gun permit for airguns where the projectile velocity at the muzzle exceeds 200 m/s or energy of 20 Joules. [111]


The regulation of weapons (firearms, airguns, knives etc.) in Spain is very restrictive with extensive controls and prohibitions. Firearm ownership is limited to hunting and sporting, each requiring a license. To acquire a license it is necessary to pass a police background check, physiological and medical test, and pass a practical and theoretical exam. A local permit (valid only in the granting municipality) is required for all airguns of low potency (such as airsoft, paintball, etc.). It is illegal for those without a license or permit to use a firearm or air rifle at any premise. Licenses are valid up to 5 years and firearm inspection prior to license renewal. Sporting licenses are valid for 3 years. Police may inspect firearms at any time.[citation needed]

There is a magazine capacity restriction for center fire semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Semi-auto centerfire rifles are restricted to 4 cartridges and 2 cartridge capacity for hunting. For semi-auto and pump action shotguns, the limit is 3 shells. No magazine restriction exists for rimfire rifles (.22lr) and bolt action rifles. Ammo restrictions are limited to "military calibers", therefore 5.56x45 NATO and .223 Remington (5.56x45) are prohibited, as is the Russian 7.62x39 round. The 7.62x51 NATO and Winchester .308 (7.62x51) caliber is prohibited for semi-automatic rifles, but not for bolt action rifles. There is also a prohibition on .50 caliber rounds. The limit for rifle ammunition storage is a total 200 cartridges at any time, and annual purchase limits of 1000 cartridges per firearm. The purchase of ammunition is controlled and recorded. It is up to licensee to know the amount purchased, as it is illegal to purchase more without special authorization. Handguns are not permitted for civilians except special one year self-defense license or 3 year sporting license. Limit on purchase of handgun ammunition is 100 cartridges per year and 150 for storage. A sporting license allows for unlimited purchase only at gun ranges and must be used at the facility. There is no limit for shotgun shell purchases, but there is a storage limit of 5000 shells. Homologated safes are required for all rifles and handguns, but none for class 3 weapons (shotguns and rimfire rifles), nevertheless a safe is recommended as the owner is responsible for firearm thefts. There is a prohibition on shooting a species outside of its hunting season. Outside hunting season, rifles and shotgun use and discharge is prohibited. It is prohibited for hunters to practice marksmanship outside an approved shooting range. Handguns and sporting firearms use is prohibited outside an approved shooting range or special competition.[citation needed]

Requirements for a civilian target range is very restrictive requiring numerous approvals and construction requirements that regulate every aspect, including the actual width and height of shooter's station. Special event target shooting outside an authorized shooting range requires approval of the regional governor, the Civil Guard and the Mayor - who may require additional measures at their discretion.[citation needed]

For full citation of Spanish "weapons law" (in Spanish) see "Real Decreto 137/1993, de 29 de enero, por el que se aprueba el Reglamento de Armas"[112] English summary form the Law Library of Congress [113]


Gun ownership requires license and is regulated by the weapon law (Vapenlagen 1996:67, literally translated to The Weapon Law 1996:67)[114] further regulations are found in weapon decree (Vapenförordningen 1996:70)[115] and FAP 551-3 - RPSFS 2009:13 "Rikspolisstyrelsens föreskrifter och allmänna råd om vapenlagstiftningen".[116]

The weapons law doesn't apply to air guns and similar with a projectile energy less than 10 joules at the end of barrel.[117] 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.[118]

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. A person under 18 years may not own a firearm him- or herself, unless an exception has 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)[114] and Vapenförordningen 1996:70.[115] A concealed carry permit can be obtained under very special circumstances, such as a proven and very real threat to one's life. Carrying a firearm in public is, otherwise, limited to law enforcement and specially trained security officers.

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.

United Kingdom[edit]
Gun Licence Notice from 1870

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 relatively common in many rural areas of Britain.[citation needed]

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 [119] 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)[120] 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.[121]

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 an 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.[122] Historically, most certificates approved for handguns listed "self-defence" as a reason. Since just after the Second World War 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.[123]

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. Only an estimated 57,000 people —0.1% of the population owned such weapons prior to the ban.[124]

In the UK, only 8% of all criminal homicides are committed with a firearm of any kind.[125] In 2005/6 the number of such deaths in England and Wales (population 53.3 million) was just 50, a reduction of 36% 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.[126] 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 % of injuries were caused with air guns, and 32% with "imitation firearms" (including airsoft guns).[127]

North America[edit]


The stated intent of Canadian firearms laws is to control firearms to improve public safety. Canadians have seen access to firearms become more restricted, but are still able to purchase them. Rifles and shotguns are relatively easy to obtain, while handguns and some semi-automatic rifles are much more restricted. Licensing provisions of the Firearms Act endeavours to ensure proper training and safe storage.

The two main reasons to own firearms in Canada are for target shooting and hunting, self-defense with a firearm in Canada is extremely restricted. To obtain a firearms licence (PAL) you must take a firearms safety course and pass a test for each category of firearm (non-restricted, restricted and prohibited). Carrying of firearms for self-defense against human threats is prohibited. The only way to carry a firearm on your person in Canada is if you are a licensed trapper and obtain a Wilderness Carry Permit to carry a non-restricted or restricted firearm for protection against dangerous game.

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.[128] 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.[129]

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 for the .25, and most chambered for the .32 caliber cartridge, presumably to prevent the possession 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.

The rate of homicide involving firearms per 100,000 population in 2009 was 0.5.[130] The rate of unintentional deaths involving firearms in 2001 was 0.08.[131]


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.[132] In April 2002, the National Arms Registry was formed, requiring all citizens to register their firearms with the Ministry of Defense.[133]

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.[134] 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.[135]


Violent crime accelerated in Jamaica after handguns were heavily restricted and a special Gun Court established.[136] Gun ownership is allowed in Jamaica and is regulated by the Firearms Licensing Authority.[137] Licences are granted for shotguns, hand guns, and rifles. Full automatic weapons are prohibited. All licence applicants are required to go through a certification process, and police background checks. Shotguns and rifles for sport shooting and hunting are generally easier to obtain than hand guns. Hand gun calibre is limited to smaller than .45ca. and 10mm. Ownership of ammunition is also limited to 250 gun rounds a year for shotguns and 50 for hand guns. Additional ammunition can be applied for. In the case of shotguns during the hunting season, permits for additional rounds are generally issued. A gun safe is required for storage of all firearms and ammunition.[138]


Mexican citizens and legal residents may purchase new non-military firearms for self-protection or hunting, after filling all the requirements by law. The allowed weapons may only be purchased legally from the Ministry of Defence.

Possession of non-military firearms is regulated by Mexican federal law. Pistols are allowed to calibres up to .380 acp (9mm short), small calibers like 5.7x28mm and others, with best ballistics that 380 acp (9mm short) are prohibited. Revolvers are also allowed in calibers up to .38 special excluding .357 Magnum. Shotguns up to 12 gauge are allowed and rifles in non military calibers (example .223 Remington is legal but 5.56 NATO is illegal) are allowed for hunting and sporting, prior check the need the kind of caliber you asking for, rifles with automatic fire modes are illegal, semiauto are legal but the design of the rifle have to be a non military look, so no R15 platforms, AK or analogous allowed. "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. Carry licenses are granted on a May-Issue basis and typically require evidence of special need.

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.[139][140] 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.[141]

United States[edit]

The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.[142] Most States' constitutions also have an enumeration of the right to keep and bear arms, with most explicitly affirming that it is a right retained by each person or individual.

Persons are generally prohibited from purchasing a firearm if:[143]

  • they are under indictment for a felony, or any crime which could result in more than a year in prison.
  • they have been convicted of a felony, or any other crime for which they could have been sentenced to more than a year in prison.
  • they are a fugitive from justice.
  • they are an unlawful user of, or addicted to, controlled substances, including marijuana.
  • they have been adjudicated mentally defective.
  • they have been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.
  • they have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
  • they have renounced their United States citizenship.

The carrying of weapons, either openly or concealed, is regulated by the states. The laws regarding carrying weapons have been changing rapidly over the past ten years. As of 2016, most states grant licenses to carry handguns on a Shall-Issue basis to qualified applicants. A few states leave the issuance of carry permits to the discretion of issuing authorities (called may-issue), while eleven states allow the carrying of firearms in a concealed manner without a permit (called Constitutional carry). Twenty-six states allow for open carrying of handguns without a permit while, in general, twenty states require a permit to do so and four states plus Washington D.C. ban open carry of handguns.

In 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that the right to bear arms was an individual right.[144] In 2010, in McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court extended the Heller ruling to the states.[145] In 2012, in Illinois, Moore v. Madigan sought to overturn the state's ban on carrying concealed weapons. The district court dismissed the case, but the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ban on carrying firearms as unconstitutional.[146] The state legislature passed a bill allowing concealed weapons shortly thereafter.[147]

As of 2015, California's laws regarding concealed weapons are being challenged in court. In Peruta v. San Diego County, the court said that the state's strict "may issue" rules were unconstitutional and greatly reduced their reach.[148] The ruling is stayed pending appeal. The final ruling declared that concealed carry is not a constitutionally protected right, which implicates open carry as constitutionally protected, despite California's ban on open carry in any county with a population greater than 200,000. Additional lawsuits are pending to clarify the constitutionality of bans on open carry.



Main article: Gun laws in Australia

Gun ownership is accessible to the civilian population, but owners must have 'genuine reasons' to obtain a Permit to Acquire from their State government. For rifles, genuine reasons focus on either hunting and/or sport/target shooting, and do not include personal protection. Handgun licences are also available, and applied for separately. In New South Wales, and similarly in other states, firearm ownership is widely prohibited for convicted offenders or those with a history of mental illness. Gun licences must be renewed either annually or every 5 years (10 years in the Northern Territory), and expire automatically if not renewed.

The legal age to obtain a firearms licence is 18 years. Minors may hold a Minor's Permit allowing them to use a firearm under adult supervision. The minimum age for holding a Minor's Permit is 12 years.

Firearm control was in place prior to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. In the 18 years before the 1996 massacre, there were 13 other gun massacres resulting in 102 deaths.[149]

In 1996 Prime Minister Howard lead reforms to restrict a variety of firearm classes including high capacity semi-automatic rifles and pump action shotguns holding more than 5 rounds. He did this by threatening the states with a constitutional amendment to give power over gun control the federal government[150] (a constitutional amendment would require the support of a majority of voters, as well as a majority of voters in a majority of the states), as well as threatening reductions in federal funding, if they did not pass the laws he demanded.

The Australian Institute of Criminology found, more than 90 percent of firearm homicides in Australia were committed by persons using illegally owned firearms.[151]

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand's gun laws focus mainly on vetting firearm owners, rather than registering firearms. Firearms legislation is provided for in the Arms Act of 1983,[152] Arms Amendment Act 1992,[153] and Arms Regulations 1992[154]

Even when licensed, a person may only be in possession of a firearm for a particular lawful, proper and sufficient purpose.[155] Self-defence is specifically excluded from being a proper purpose.[156]

Even officers of the New Zealand Police rarely carry a pistol on their person. Instead, firearms, usually one or two pistols, shotgun and an AR-15 weapon are carried in squad cars, locked in a secure mount.

Firearms in New Zealand fall into one of four categories:

Registration is required for "A" Category firearms, but firearms in any other category require both registration and a "permit to procure" before they are transferred.

Licensing of users[edit]

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. Misbehavior 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 airguns and paintball markers can be purchased by anybody over 16 (with a license) and unlicensed and unrestricted to persons over 18.

Airguns can not be fully automatic, and there is provision under the NZ Arms Laws to specify "specially dangerous airguns".[157] Only pre-charged pneumatic rifles have now been specified in this category,[157] but for these a firearms licence is now a requirement for possession and use.[158][159] The change was made as a consequence of two fatal shootings by .22 calibre semi automatic air rifles.[160]

South America[edit]


Firearms in Argentina are regulated and enforced by the federal government. Gun ownership is allowed to the population, subject to RENAR, the branch of the ministry of justice that regulates firearm laws in the country. All prospective owners must first obtain a permit in person at a RENAR facility, which allows purchase and possession. The minimum age to apply is 21. Applicants must have a signed certificate from a medical professional that they are of sound mind and body, and provide detailed instructions of where the firearms will be kept and proof that a gun safe is owned (usually a store receipt will suffice). Applicants must also complete a RENAR approved firearm safety course and be subjected to an extensive background check that considers mental health and criminal factors. Lastly applicants must give a reason why they want the license. All the following are acceptable reasons: Collecting, Target shooting, Hunting, Business, and Self-defense in the home. If the applicant meets all the criteria, the applicant is fingerprinted and the license is issued.[161]

All firearms purchased must be through a licensed dealer and registered with RENAR. If a firearm is inherited a re-registering form must be filed. There is no limit on the amount of guns that may be owned so long as they are properly stored. The sale of ammunition is required to be recorded by the seller, though there is no restriction on the amount or the type that may be owned.[162]

Carry permits for licensed handgun owners are available, but are extremely difficult to obtain. One must file a request to a board to examine the applicants case of why they would need such a permit. Generally most ordinary citizens are denied the request. If the request is approved, they must appear before a RENAR board and make their case in person. Then the final decision will be made to accept or deny the request. If the request is accepted, the permit must be renewed yearly to re-examine their "clear and present" danger. If the danger is removed or dissipates at any time, the permit is usually revoked immediately. Those dealing in money or valuables, or work in private security may be issued a highly restricted business carry permit.[163]

Firearms in Argentina are generally categorized into three categories for rifles, handguns, and shotguns. The age to buy "civil use" firearms is 21, while the age to buy "Civil conditional use" firearms is 21.[164]


  • Civil use: Non-fully automatic handguns up to .32 caliber
  • Civil conditional use: Non-fully automatic handguns above .32 caliber
  • Prohibited Use - Exclusive Use for the Armed Institutions: Any fully automatic handgun


  • Civil use: Non-fully automatic rifles chambered in .22LR or lower.
  • Civil conditional use: 1. Non-semiautomatic rifles chambered in a caliber above .22LR. 2. Semiautomatic rifles chambered in a caliber above .22LR with a non-detachable magazine.
  • Prohibited Use - Exclusive Use for the Armed Institutions: Any fully automatic rifles and semiautomatic rifles chambered in a caliber above .22LR with a detachable magazine.


  • Civil use: Any non-semiautomatic shotgun with a barrel length of at least 600mm
  • Civil conditional use: 1. Any semiautomatic shotgun. 2. Any shotgun with a barrel length less than 600mm, but not less 380mm.
  • Prohibited Use - Exclusive Use for the Armed Institutions: Fully automatic shotguns and any shotgun with a barrel length less than 380mm.


Main article: Gun laws in Brazil

All firearms in Brazil are required to be registered within the state. The minimum age for ownership is 25,[165] and it is generally illegal to carry a gun outside a residence.[166] The total number of firearms in Brazil is thought to be between 14 million and 17 million[166][167] with 9 million of those being unregistered.[165]

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. Accordingly, article 35 of the Disarmament Statute, which states "The sale of firearms and ammunition is prohibited in the entire national territory, except to those entities provided in article 6 of this Law.", was not enacted. No further public consultation was done in relation to other articles of that Law.[165]

However, the Brazilian Department of Justice (Ministério da Justiça), at the time it performs each individual's mandatory background check (made prior to every gun acquisition, and every three years after it is acquired, and allowing for gun confiscation), has been forbidding almost all citizens from buying guns.[168] This is based on Executive Order # 5.123, of 07/01/2004 (DECRETO Nº 5.123, DE 1º DE JULHO DE 2004),[169] that allows the Polícia Federal to analyze the reasons that motivate a gun acquisition and the keeping an acquired gun. Under this order, self-defense is not considered a valid argument for gun ownership because, according to them, there are allegedly sufficient and efficient public polices that are in charge of nationwide security.[170]


Firearms in Chile are regulated by the Army and enforced by the Police. The Chilean Constitution, in its 92nd article, declares gun ownership not as a right, but as a privilege to be granted in accordance to a special law.

Automatic firearms are forbidden except for military use. Homemade firearms and those who disguise its form and function under harmless objects are also forbidden.

Civilian gun ownership is allowed by law but discouraged by authorities, with regular press statements by government officials, congressmen and Police, denouncing dangers of private firearms ownership. In addition to this, there are constant marketing campaigns inviting homeowners or family members to turn weapons in (with no economic compensation) with a "no questions asked" policy. In order to buy a firearm one must first apply for a permit at the police station corresponding to the district where the gun will be kept. Requirements are: Mental health certificate issued by a psychiatrist (a psychologist issued certificate is not valid), clean criminal record (including total absence of domestic violence accusations), and approval of a written test on firearms safety and knowledge. Fulfilling all requirements is no guarantee of receiving the permit, since the police commander of the district can deny the permit in "justified cases", which are not detailed in the letter of the law. Children under 18 years old are forbidden to own or use firearms with jail penalties for adults who let underage kids have access to firearms.

There are four types of permits issued to civilians:

1. Defense: No more than 2 firearms per person allowed. Weapon must remain in declared address at all times.
2. Hunting: No more than 6 firearms per person. Hunters can take their weapons out of the declared address with a "transport permit" issued for a set amount of weapons and valid for 2 years. In order to obtain said permit, one first must have a valid hunting license.
3. Sporting: Similar to hunting. Maximum of 6 guns per person and access to applying for a "transport permit" which allows transporting the weapons unloaded and not attached to the body, between the registered address and the gun range. In order to obtain this category and the transport permit, one must belong to a registered gun club. This category provides an exception to underage firearm ownership, since those under 18 can own firearms, as long as they belong to a registered gun club.
4. Collection: No limit to weapons allowed, but no permission to buy ammunition for those weapons issued. Collectors must have special security measures implemented where the guns are kept, which are reviewed by police before issuing the permit.

Each of these categories allows certain types of firearms, as well as certain amount of ammunition to be purchased yearly. Some ammunition, like armor-piercing, tracer, fragmentary, or the .50 BMG caliber is banned. The purchase of ammunition requires a permit issued by police, valid for only one purchase at the stated gun shop and the stated quantity.


Private citizens Personal protection Open carry Concealed carry Carry without permit Fully automatic firearms Unlimited magazine Free of checks Free of registration Max penalty
Argentina[162] Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue No May issue - specific reason needed No No No 03, 06 for prohibited weapons[171]
Australia[172] Yes - shall issue No No No No No No No No No
Austria (EU)[173] Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue May issue / restricted May issue / restricted No May issue / restricted[174] No No 02[175]
Bosnia & Herzegovina[64] Yes - may issue Yes - may issue Yes - may issue Yes - may issue No No
Brazil[176] Yes - may issue Yes - may issue May issue / restricted May issue / restricted No[177] No[177] No[177] No[177] 03[178]
Canada[179] Yes - shall issue Special Strict Licence No May issue / restricted No No (apart pre-1976)[179] No No No 10[178]
Czech Republic (EU) Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue Professionals only [180] Yes - shall issue No May issue / restricted[181] Yes No No 02
China[182] May issue / restricted[183] No No No No No No No 02
Cyprus (EU)[184] Yes - shotguns only Yes - shotguns only May issue / restricted[185] No No No[184] No[184] No[184]
East Timor[citation needed] Yes Yes No No No No No 01
Egypt[186] Yes - may issue Yes - may issue Certain officials, military and police personnel No up to life imprisonment
Estonia (EU)[187][188] Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue No Yes - shall issue
(No bullet in chamber - except revolvers)
No Yes - shall issue (collection purposes)[citation needed] No No 03
Finland (EU)[189] Yes - shall issue[190] No No No No May issue / restricted[174] No No 02[178]
France (EU)[191] Yes - shall issue May issue / restricted No May issue / restricted No No Yes No No 07
Germany (EU)[192] Yes - may issue[193] May issue / restricted May issue / restricted May issue / restricted No No No No No 10[192]
Honduras[194] Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue No No No No No No 10[195]
Hungary (EU)[196] Yes May issue / restricted Professionals only[197] May issue / restricted No No No No 08[198]
India[199][200][201][202] Yes - may issue May issue -
specific reason needed
May issue -
specific reason needed
No No No[203] No[204] 03[178]
Indonesia[205][206] May issue / restricted[207] May issue / restricted May issue / restricted No No No No 20 / death[208]
Iraq Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue Yes[209] No[210] No[210]
Iran[citation needed] May issue / restricted No No No
Israel[211] Yes - may issue May issue - specific reason needed May issue - specific reason needed May issue - specific reason needed No No No No 10
Italy (EU)[212] Yes - shall issue Yes No May issue / restricted No No Yes No No
Jamaica[213][214][215][216] Yes - may issue Yes - may issue Yes - may issue Yes - may issue No No No No
Japan[217][218] May issue / restricted No No No No No No No 15[178]
Kenya[219] Yes - may issue[220] No No No No No No 15[178]
Mexico[221] Yes Yes May issue - specific reason needed May issue - specific reason needed No No No No 07[178]
Netherlands (EU)[222] Yes - may issue No No No No No No No 01[223]
New Zealand[224] Yes - shall issue No No No No Yes - may issue No No Registration of certain firearm types 02[178]
North Korea No[225] No[225] No[225] No[225] No[225] No[225] No[225] No[225] 20 / death
Norway[226] Yes May issue / restricted No No No May issue / restricted No No 00[227]
Pakistan[citation needed] Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue No Yes No No 07[178]
Poland[citation needed] Yes - shall issue May issue -
specific reason needed
No - professionals only May issue / restricted No May issue / restricted No No 08
Russia[228] Yes - may issue Yes - may issue No No No No No No 08
American Samoa Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue No No No No No No
Serbia[229] Yes - shall issue Yes - shall issue May issue - specific reason needed May issue - specific reason needed No No No No 05[178]
Singapore May issue / restricted May issue / restricted May issue / restricted May issue / restricted No May issue / restricted No No 14 (minimum 5 years & beating of at least 6 strokes)
Slovakia (EU)[230] Yes - may issue[231] May issue - specific reason needed No May issue - specific reason needed No No May issue / restricted No
South Africa[232] Yes - may issue May issue -
specific reason needed
No Automatic in case of legal possession Automatic in case of legal possession May issue / restricted No No 15[178]
South Korea[233] Yes - may issue No No No No No No No 10(death penalty in case of military weapon)[234]
Spain Yes - May issue
Switzerland[78] Yes - shall issue, prohibited to citizens of certain countries May issue - specific reason needed No May issue - restricted (Art. 27) No May issue - specific reason needed Maybe Some classes of firearms, such as hunting guns (Art. 10) 03
(Art.  33  §1)[78]
Thailand[235] Yes - may issue[236] Yes - may issue Yes - may issue No No No No 10[178]
Turkey [237] Yes - may issue No No May issue - specific reason needed No No No No No 03
Ukraine[238][239] Yes - may issue No May issue / restricted No No No No 07[178]
United Kingdom (EU)[240] Yes - may issue (shall issue for shotguns) No
May issue - specific reason needed for Northern Ireland
No No No No No No No minimum of 5 years imprisonment
United States Varies Varies Varies
Open carry in the United States
Concealed carry in the United States
Varies internally Yes, provided weapon manufactured before 1986
Firearm Owners Protection Act
Varies internally Varies internally Varies internally Federal Prosecution: 10 years, State Prosecution: Varies[241]
Vietnam[242] May issue / restricted No No No No No No
Private citizens Personal protection Open carry Concealed carry Carry without permit Fully automatic firearms Unlimited magazine Free of checks Free of registration Max penalty


Shall issue - subject to fulfillment of legal conditions, the authorities may not deny license and/or firearm(s)

May issue - the authorities have final say in whether a person may obtain a license and/or firearm(s)

Specific reason needed - A specific reason must be proven in order to obtain license, i.e. specific threat to life for concealed carry or firearms collecting for fully automatic firearm
May issue - restricted - Although the law provides for possibility of obtaining necessary licenses and permits, in reality, these are rarely or almost never issued

Private citizens - it's possible for a private citizen to legally acquire a gun (usually for hunting, sport shooting and often also for collecting)

Personal protection - Personal protection/self-defence is a legitimate reason to own a gun (or citizens are not legally required to establish a genuine reason)

Open carry - A private citizen may carry a firearm openly for self-defense (for example, with a special permit)

Concealed carry - A private citizen may carry concealed firearm for self-defense (for example, with a special permit)

Carry without permit - A private citizen may carry a firearm for self-defense without any special permit

Fully automatic firearms - Fully automatic firearms are allowed for civilians (for example, with a special permit); automatic weapons don't need to be permanently disabled

Free of checks - medical or background checks are not required ("yes" means "not required")

Free of registration - Firearms are not required to be registered - no "illegal possession" law ("yes" means "not required")

Max penalty - Maximum penalty for simple illicit firearm possession (no intent to commit crime with firearm), years in prison

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "中华人民共和国枪支管理法 (Firearm Administration Law of the People's Republic of China)". Sd.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "中华人民共和国猎枪弹具管理办法 (Hunting Firearm, Ammunition and Equipment Administration Regulation of the People's Republic of China)". Nre.cn. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "China Reiterates Stance on Gun Control". Chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Hong Kong Police Force - Advice for Tourists". Police.gov.hk. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  5. ^ "CAP 238 FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION ORDINANCE s 13 Possession of arms or ammunition without licence". Hklii.org. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  6. ^ "PM gunning for a law change". Herald Sun. 3 July 2008. 
  7. ^ Lakshmi, Rama (1 February 2010). "New groups mobilize as Indians embrace the right to bear arms". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "The arms Rules, 1962" (PDF). Delhipolicelicensing.gov.in. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
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