Overview of gun laws by nation

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Gun laws and policies vary around the world. Many countries have restrictive firearm policies, while others have permissive ones.[1]

Gun laws by country[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 a written document 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]

In South Africa, the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 regulates the ownership of firearms by civilians. Ownership of a firearm is conditional on a competency test and several other factors, including a background check of the applicant, inspection of an owner's premises, and licensing of the weapon by the police introduced in July 2004. The process is currently undergoing review,[1] as the police are at present, not able to adequately or within reasonable time, process either competency certification, new licences or renewal of existing licences. Minimum waiting period used to exceed 2 years from date of application.[2] The Central Firearms Registry implemented a turnaround strategy that has significantly improved the processing period of new licences. The maximum time allowed to process a licence application is now 90 days.[3] [4]


People's Republic of China[edit]

Gun ownership in the People's Republic of China is 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 para-military, 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 on individual gun ownership is for the purpose of hunting.[2][3]

Illegal possession or sale of firearms may result in a punishment of 3 years in prison.[4]

However, gun ownership in the PRC's special administrative regions, 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 PRC'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,[5] and those found in possession without a licence could be fined HKD$100,000 and imprisonment for up to 14 years.

After a rigorous process, a license is issued to people without a criminal record and with no history of mental illness. Explosives and full 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.[6]


Gun ownership in Taiwan by ordinary citizens is prohibited. There are currently more than 5,000 legal private handgun owners, of which 1,000 are used for self-defense and 4,000 are used for hunting by the Taiwanese aborigines. Gun owners in Taiwan are required to receive regular inspections every two years as well as random inspections by the police.[7]

East Timor[edit]

Under East Timorese law, only the military and police forces may possess, carry and use firearms.

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 debates in the East Timorese parliament between the parliamentarians who supported the new law and those who opposed it. The United Nations, which has a peacekeeping force deployed in the nation, also expressed concerns over the new law.[8]


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, which is difficult to obtain. The Indian Government has a monopoly over the 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.[9] 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.[10]

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 issuing of licenses for PB firearms became the responsibility of the central government. The licenses are valid for 3 years and need to be renewed. This rule covers the sale of firearms, where both parties involved need to possess the permit.[11]

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.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] 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.[11] 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).[19]


Indonesia has generally strict gun laws. Gun licences are normally only issued to civilians employed in a profession that involves firearms such as military and law enforcement, also included in this exception are 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.[20]

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.[21]


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.[22]

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, it remains legal so long as one possesses a permit. Lebanon has come to be one of the largest, if not most dangerous, arms markets in the Middle East.[23]

Lebanon ranks 28th out of 178 in the world's privately owned firearms to citizen ratio.[22]


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.[24]

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), or those who regularly work in those towns
    • 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.[25]

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.[26] 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 may purchase a supply of 50 cartridges to take home annually (although when going to the range, one may purchase more to replace the cartridges that were used).[27]

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.

Most individuals who are licensed to possess pistols may carry them loaded in public, concealed or openly.[25]

Around 40% of applications for firearms permits are rejected.[28]

In 2005, there were 237,000 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.[29][30] 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.[31][32]


During the Tokugawa period in Japan, starting in the 17th century, the government imposed restrictive controls on the gunsmiths.[33]

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.[34] 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.[35][36] 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.[37] 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.[38] 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.[39] 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.[40]

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.[41] However, citizens are permitted to possess firearms for hunting and sport shooting, but only after submitting to a lengthy licensing procedure.[42]


The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which is commonly known as 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."

Gun laws were tightened by the late Kim Jong Il towards the end of his reign. In 2013, North Korea recorded 12 homicides out of a population of 25 million, giving it a murder rate of 0.05 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the lowest in the world.[43]

The Republic of Korea (also known as 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 .[44] The status of "gun ownership" in South Korea in its current form where any and all firearms are under state custody precludes the "execution of actual force" 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. 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.[44]

While private firearm ownership in South Korea is rare, there have been firearm-related mass casualty incidents, most notably the Uiryeong massacre, carried out by a policeman using stolen military weapons. 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.[45][46] The largest gun-related crimes in Korea were committed by dictatorship regimes, such as the Bodo League massacre and Gwangju massacre.


Malaysia has strict gun laws. The Arms Act (1960)[47] says 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.[48] It is quite impossible for the general public to obtain a gun through legal means. However, a black market for guns does exist.[49]


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.[50] 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. 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.[51] 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.

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, in part due to the influence of American culture.[52]


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.[53][54][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]


Turkey is 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]

Civilians also can have pistols and rifles. Civilians must have a special reason prior to applying for a pistol carry permit by the police. The hunters able to applying for a rifle permit by the police. Carry license for the rifles and pistols are expensive documents to apply in Turkey. Turkey doesn't accept carry license for rifles just for the long range and sporting shooting reason. Only with a hunting license civilians could apply for the rifle carry license. Special professions like police officers, military, judges, public prosecutor, governor and lieutenants, district governor and deputies have their own life-time license from the government. They can apply for free pistol and rifle carry license.



Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina has relatively liberal weapon laws compared to the rest of Europe. Weapons are regulated by "Weapons and Ammunition Law".[63]

People over 21 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 keep 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.[64]


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 permitted for collectors.


Firearms in Norway are regulated by the Firearm Weapons Act,[65] with a new secondary law in effect 1 July 2009 providing more detailed regulation.[66]


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 are generally not allowed. Short barrel rifles and shotguns (less than 800 mm) are prohibited as well as silencers. 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.[67] 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).[68] 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,[69] Prvi Partizan[70] and Krušik[71] export internationally.


Gun possession in Switzerland is relatively high compared to most European countries (the rate of Swiss households containing at least one firearm was estimated at 24.45% by the 2016 figures of the online database GunPolicy.org by the University of Sydney,[72] — lower than Germany, France, and Austria[73] – though including militia issued firearms). The Swiss have universal conscription for military service.[74] A recent referendum in 2011 on a call to force the military weapons to be kept at military sites was defeated.[75] 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".[76][77]


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.[78]

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 Directive No. 91/477/EC sets minimum standards regarding civilian firearms acquisition and possession that EU Member States must implement into their national legal systems. The Member States are free to adopt more stringent rules, which leads to differences in the extent of law abiding citizens' access to firearms within different EU countries.

Guns are currently divided into five categories:
  • Category A – Restricted firearms
    • Firearms:
      • Fully automatic Weapons.
      • "Military style" semi automatic rifles (individual exceptions under Category B possible).
      • Pump action Shotguns.
    • 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.
      • Brass knuckles.
      • Certain kinetic energy weapons like blackjacks / saps.
      • Totschläger (a flexible steel rod).
    • Forbidden items:
      • Noise suppressing attachments (e.g. but not limited to silencers, oil filter cans).
      • Flashlights, if mounted to a rifle/shotgun (not illegal if mounted to a pistol or carried).
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. "Military style" 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 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).
  • 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.[79]
Czech Republic[edit]
While fully compliant with European Firearms Directive, gun laws in the Czech Republic differ from most other EU countries. Unlike elsewhere in EU, vast majority (240.000 out of 300.000) of Czech gun owners possess their firearms for purposes of self defense, with hunting and sport shooting being less common (even so, sport shooting remains 3rd most popular sport in the country after soccer and hockey). Czech Republic has shall-issue concealed carry permit system (similar to Estonia), whereby every self-defense license holder may carry up to two concealed firearms ready for immediate self defense. With 2.75% of adult population (240.000 people) having self defense license, Czech Republic had higher per capita rate of concealed carry than US up to 2010 (despite much lower general per capita gun ownership rate).
Gun licenses may be obtained in a way very similar to a driving license – by-passing a gun proficiency exam, medical examination and having a clean criminal record. Even though general firearms ownership rate remains relatively low at some 300.000 people, ability to possess and carry firearms in general is understood as one of symbols of liberty same as, for example, freedom of expression. This stems also from historical experience of firearms bans being among first and most important enactments of both Nazi as well as Communist dictatorships in 1939 and 1948 respectively, seriously impairing both anti-nazi as well as anti-communist resistance.
Crime with legally owned firearms is next-to-non-existent, with total of 45 incidents being recorded in 2016 (compared to the total number of over 800.000 legally possessed firearms). Gun laws have not been a politicized issue up to the EU Gun Ban (see above), which led to proposal of securing Czech citizens' gun rights through adoption of a constitutional amendment that would make firearms possession in the country a national security issue, thus taking it outside of scope of EU law.
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 their criminal record, a license is usually provided. A cal.12 is the biggest shotgun allowed for hunting. Furthermore, the chamber must not contain more than two rounds at the time. Shotguns with more than two rounds (pump guns) can be used for target shooting, though.
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. Furthermore the hunter has to pass both a shotgun and a rifle shooting test before being allowed to hunt with his shotguns and/rifles.
Civilians are prohibited from having any kind of weapons at home except the aforementioned weapons for hunting, knives that can be drawn with one hand or serve no no-combat use require an Edged Weapons Permit.[80] Weapons and ammunition have to be stored in an appropriate steel closet[81] §22. The police may, at discretion, inspect a clubs weapons. Inspektion of privately held hunting or sporting wespons are only allowed by court order. A permit for a handgun requires a 2 year membership of a shooting club prior to the purchase and approval from the police. Certain large caliber handguns are prohibited and can't be purchased without a special permit from the department of justice. Fully Automatic weapons are prohibited for civilian use. Certain kinds of weapons are prohibited and may not be imported and/or owned at all, unless for use at museums (throwing stars, switchblades, nunchakus as well as pepper spray). Illegal possession of a gun/weapon may be punished with imprisonment of no less than one year.
An overview of laws and statutes regarding weapons in Denmark can be found at the Ministry of Justice's website: Ministry of Justice – Weapons (page is in Danish).
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.
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).[82] As of September, 2013, France has a capacity limit of 20 rounds for handguns;[83] 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.[84] 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.[85]
Greece has strict gun control. Private citizens are completely forbidden from owning rifles in any calibre, even .22 rimfire. Only shotguns and handguns are allowed, and these require a licence. Shotguns are limited to three rounds. The only shotguns typically sold in stores are double-barreled, pump action, and semi-automatic shotguns.
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 doesn't control airguns, and no license is required to own them. To own handguns, citizens must either have a concealed carry permit or a target shooting permit. However, some citizens own handguns without a permit, especially on the island of Crete.
Gun ownership in Hungary is regulated by Law 24/2004 and Law revision 13/2012.[86] 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).[87]

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,[88] laid the foundations of the system of licensing. Relatively small modifications were introduced in 1964,[89] 1968,[90] 1971,[91] 1990,[92] 1998[93] and 2000,[94] 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[95] 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[96] however, contained an enormous rewrite of the Firearms Act, rewriting almost 80% of the Act. It was quickly followed by further amendments in 2007[97] and further major amendments in 2009,[98] 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.

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 and without criminal records. There are 3 licenses that allow individuals to carry 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 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 [s]he has a "valid reason" to carry a loaded firearm in public. This can be, for example, to be a security guard or to do a job that puts him/her at risk (for example, a jeweler).
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, an unlimited number of hunting long guns, eight historical firearms (manufactured before 1890). The abovementioned limits can be exceeded if one owns a collector license. Purchase of any gun and ammunition is not restricted only to those issued with a gun license, but the purchase of a firearm by someone that has not a gun license requires a permission from the police authorities.

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 of 21 May 1999 as further amended (full text). 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.[99] However, the gun laws were relaxed in 2011 and again in 2014. The main part of the new legislation was the removal of police discretionary power to refuse the license without any explanation, making it possible for a relatively determined person to obtain the permit so long as all criminal record, firearms training, storage and psychological exam requirements are met − the police has no authority to refuse the license.

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.

Licenses to own firearms for civilians divided into 4 categories:

  1. For Hunting. Shotguns and rifles are permitted including semi-automatics. Hunting permits are one of the easiest legal means to own firearms in Poland. One has to belong to hunting association and pass a hunting course and then regular firearms screening (like criminal record check), medical and psychological exam and prove the ability to safely store firearms. There is a limit on the number of firearms owned in this category at a maximum of 10 guns. When applying for the hunting license, one has to specify the number of firearms they intend to own. If they say 2, the permit is issued for 2; each additional firearm beyond 2, one has to reapply for a 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 – in the sense that it is less than 6 months from the start of the process to actual possession of a firearm. One needs to demonstrate a valid reason and interest in order to apply for collectors permit. Passing the regular firearms screening (like criminal record check), medical and psychological exam and proof of the ability to safely store firearms are also required. The limits on numbers of firearms an individual may poses under this license are relatively liberal. Shooting and ammunition possession for collector firearms are governed by a separate permit. This type of license does not allow for the carry of firearms in public.
  3. Target shooting. It is quite a regulated permit type and will normally take 6–12 months to obtain. It requires the applicant to belong to a target shooting association and possess valid Shooting Competition License [of which annual renewal requires taking part in 2 to 4 ISSF regulated shooting competitions for each firearm category (pistol, rifle, shotgun)]. Passing the regular firearms screening (like criminal record check), medical and psychological exam and proof of the ability to safely store firearms are also required. This type of license allows the carrying of loaded, concealed firearm in public.
  4. For self-defence. It is one of the most regulated permit to get – fewer than 20,000 are issued in the whole country. One needs to really demonstrate need for such a 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; generally, they are allowed to own .25cal [small] pistol for the rest of their life. There are also institutional permits for Security Companies.

There is no requirement for a firearms license for:

  • Separate loading weapons constructed before 1885 or replicas of those weapons
  • Weapons in museum collections (others regulations)
  • Professional weapons dealers (separate concession needed)
  • Gunsmiths (regulated by other laws)
  • Handheld, incapacitating gas throwers
  • Weapons with shooting capability 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 to or more than 17J (although, the firearm must be registered at appropriate police department after purchase)

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

Gun ownership in Romania is regulated by Law 295/2004. Romania has one of the toughest gun ownership laws in the world.[100] In order for citizens to obtain a weapon, they must obtain a permit from the police, and must register their weapon once they purchased it. There are several categories of permits, with different requirements and rights, including hunting permits, self-defense permits, sports shooting permits and collectors permits. The only categories of people who are legally entitled to carry a weapon are owners of self-defense permits, 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. To obtain a self-defense permit, one must be under witness protection. Sporting and collectors licenses require membership in a sport shooting club or collectors' association, respectively.
The amount of ammunition that can be owned is regulated by permit type. Sporting permits allow the ownership of 1000 matching cartridges per gun; hunting permits allow 300 matching cartridges per gun; self-defense permits allow 50 bullet cartridges and 50 blanks per gun; Collectors permits do not allow for private ownership of ammunition.[101]
Explosive weapons and ammunitions, fully automatic weapons, weapons camouflaged in the shape of another object, armor-piercing ammunition and lethal weapons that do not fit in any category defined by the law are prohibited
The type of gun is also regulated by permit. Below is a shortened version of the table detailing the restrictions by type of lethal weapon and permit, for civilian owners. Note that for collectors, short weapons designed after 1945 are forbidden, while only non-lethal weapons are allowed for self-defense permits.[102]
Gun type Hunting Sporting Collection
Short, center-fire weapons such as pistols and revolvers No Yes Yes
Long, semi-automatic weapons with a magazine capacity of more than 3 cartridges No Yes Yes
Long, semi-automatic weapons with a magazine capacity of at most 3 cartridges, and which cannot be reasonably modified to hold more than 3 cartridges Yes Yes Yes
Long, smooth-bore semi-automatic and repetition weapons with a length of at most 60 cm Yes Yes Yes
Short, single-shot centerfire weapons with a length of at most 28 cm No Yes Yes
Short, rim-fire single-shot, semi-automatic and repetition weapons No Yes Yes
Single-shot center-fire rifles Yes Yes Yes
Single-shot smoothbore weapons at least 28 cm long Yes Yes Yes
Note that there are other restrictions for obtaining weapons under a sports-shooting license.
Minors (14 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.[103]
The use of guns for self-defense is only allowed if the gun is a last resort option.[104]
Gun ownership in Slovakia is regulated principally by law 190/2003.[105] 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.[106]
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. [107]


The regulation of weapons (firearms, airguns, knives, crossbows, etc.) in Spain is very restrictive even by EU standards, with extensive controls and prohibitions, and is administered by the Guardia Civil. Firearm ownership is limited to hunting, collecting 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. Shotgun and rifle licenses are valid up to 5 years, and subject to firearm inspection prior to license renewal. Sporting licenses are valid for 3 years. Each firearm is issued an ID card or "ownership guide" which the owner must keep. Police may inspect firearms at any time.[citation needed]

There is a magazine capacity restriction only for centerfire semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic shotguns. Semi-auto centerfire rifle's magazines are restricted to 4 rounds for sports shooting and 2 rounds for hunting. For semi-auto shotguns, the limit is 2 rounds. Ammunition restrictions are limited to "war calibers", therefore .223 Remington (or 5.56x45 NATO), and .50 BMG (12.7x99 Browning)are strictly prohibited. The 7.62x51 NATO/.308 Winchester caliber is prohibited to use in semi-automatic rifles, as is the Russian 7.62x39 mm round – but both are legal in repetition, bolt action or single shot rifles. Hollow-point, armour-piercing and explosive rounds are forbidden. Suppressors and fully automatic firearms are forbidden. Handguns are not permitted for civilians except a special one year self-defense license, or a 3-year sporting license (called "F").

There are restrictions on the number of weapons a licensee can own. Rimfire rifles and shotguns are limited to 6 each. Centerfire rifles have no limit, but the need of storing them in a safe limits their number. The number of handguns a licensee is entitled to own depends on his sports shooting level. Category 3 holders can only own one handgun. Category 2 are entitled to six and category 1 are entitled to ten, provided they are all stored in a special safe.

Using a firearm for self-defence is prohibited in Spain to the holders of conventional firearms licenses. Licensees are only allowed to transport their firearms from their residence to the shooting range or hunting field and back, with no detours. A self-defense and concealed carry license (called "B") exists, but is subject to very special conditions that very few persons meet and must be renewed every year. Typical holders of this license are select and include politicians, famous people, jewelry or armory workers, victims of terrorism or domestic violence, etc.

Members of the diverse Police forces, as NC0s and Officers of the Armed Forces, have a special firearms license which englobes all the other firearms licenses.

The purchase of rifle and handgun ammunition is controlled and recorded, and it is only possible to buy ammunition for a firearm one legally owns, prior presentation of the "ownership guide" of the firearm. It is up to the licensee to know the amount of rounds purchased, as it is illegal to purchase more without special authorization. The limit for centerfire rifle ammunition storage is a total 200 cartridges at any time, and annual purchase limits of 1000 cartridges per firearm. 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. However, a special permit for additional ammunition can be requested (up to 10,000 rimfire or 5,000 centerfire) that valid for one year and can be requested again once the amounts requested have been used. Purchases (outside of a shooting range) for rifle ammunition is limited to a daily amount 200 rounds, and 100 for handgun There is no annual limit for shotgun shell purchases (5000 at one time), but there is a storage/transportation limit of 5000 shells. No license needed for shotgun shells – buyer must an adult and have a valid I.D.

Proof of ownership of a homologated safe are required for all center-fire rifles and handguns, but not shotguns or rimfire rifles. The owner is responsible for firearm thefts. Handguns require a particularly strong safe of level III as do registered sporting rifles (or their main components- such as bolt). Ammunition must be stored separately from the weapons.

It is forbidden to shoot certain animal species outside of their hunting seasons. Outside hunting season, rifle and shotgun hunting use and discharge is prohibited. It is prohibited for hunters to practice marksmanship outside an approved shooting range; however the law itself is not clear cut. Handguns and sporting firearms use is prohibited outside an approved shooting range or special competition.[citation needed] Conditions for a civilian target range are very restrictive, needing 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 add additional measures at their discretion.[citation needed]

Muzzle-loading devices and weapons manufactured before 1890 (including reproductions of the aforementioned) have their own license. There is also a collector's license for antique weapons, which allows for ownership but not for purchasing ammunition of firing. Weapons of this type that shoot metallic cartridges are subject to the same storage and safety regulations as their modern counterparts.

Ammunition reloading is regulated, requiring a license and undergoing a reloading course.

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"[108] English summary form the Law Library of Congress [109]


Gun ownership requires license and is regulated by the weapon law (Vapenlagen 1996:67, literally translated to The Weapon Law 1996:67)[110] further regulations are found in weapon decree (Vapenförordningen 1996:70)[111] and FAP 551-3 – RPSFS 2009:13 "Rikspolisstyrelsens föreskrifter och allmänna råd om vapenlagstiftningen".[112]

The weapons law doesn't apply to air guns and similar with a projectile energy less than 10 joules at the end of barrel.[113] 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.[114]

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)[110] and Vapenförordningen 1996:70.[111] 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

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 [115] 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)[116] 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.[117]

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.[118] 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.[119]

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. An estimated 57,000 people —0.1% of the population owned such weapons prior to the ban.[120]

In the UK, 8% of all criminal homicides are committed with a firearm of any kind.[121] In 2005/6 the number of such deaths in England and Wales (population 53.3 million) was 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[according to whom?] 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.[122] 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. 24% of injuries were caused with air guns, and 32% with "imitation firearms" (including airsoft guns).[123]

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 endeavors 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 license (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. Ordinary citizens may obtain a "Wilderness Carry Permit" for a handgun or restricted long gun if they are a licensed trapper or individual who needs protection against wild animals.[124]

Users must possess a license, called a "possession and acquisition license (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 bring a firearm that is not prohibited into Canada.[125] 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.[126]

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.[127] The rate of unintentional deaths involving firearms in 2001 was 0.08.[128]


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.[129] In April 2002, the National Arms Registry was formed, requiring all citizens to register their firearms with the Ministry of Defense.[130]

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.[131] 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.[132]


Gun ownership is allowed in Jamaica and is regulated by the Firearms Licensing Authority.[133] 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.[134]


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 better ballistics than 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, 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.[135][136] 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.[137]

United States[edit]

The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.[138] 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:[139]

  • 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.[140] In 2010, in McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court extended the Heller ruling to the states.[141] 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.[142] The state legislature passed a bill allowing concealed weapons shortly thereafter.[143]

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.[144] 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.



Gun ownership is accessible to the civilian population. Gun owners must have a Firearms Licence. Firearms Licences are issued from State Governments and require the applicant to have a genuine reason to hold a licence. 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.

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 to the federal government,[145] as well as threatening reductions in federal funding, if they did not pass the laws he demanded.

The effect of these reforms is the subject of debate however. ABC Fact check asked this question to Professor Sarre from the University of South Australia.: Have firearm homicides and suicides dropped since Port Arthur as a result of John Howard's reforms? His response is as follows. "Whether you can say we're 20 per cent better off, 80 per cent better off, is subject to debate... But the bottom line is, if [the reforms] had the effect of reducing the number of guns that are available to Australians, it is strongly correlated with the gun homicide and suicide deaths on the wane."[146]

The Australian Institute of Criminology found that more than 90 percent of firearm homicides in Australia were committed by persons using illegally owned firearms.[147]

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,[148] Arms Amendment Act 1992,[149] and Arms Regulations 1992.[150]

Even when licensed, a person may only be in possession of a firearm for a particular lawful, proper and sufficient purpose.[151] Self-defence is specifically excluded from being a proper purpose.[152]

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 are carried in squad cars, locked in a secure mount.

Firearms in New Zealand fall into one of four categories:

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

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".[153] Only pre-charged pneumatic rifles have now been specified in this category,[153] but for these a firearms licence is now a requirement for possession and use.[154][155] The change was made as a consequence of two fatal shootings by .22 calibre semi automatic air rifles.[156]

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.[157]

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.[158]

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.[159]

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.[160]


  • 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.


All firearms in Brazil are required to be registered within the state. The minimum age for ownership is 25,[161] and it is generally illegal to carry a gun outside a residence.[162] Registration requires certificates of aptitude and mental health prior to the acquisition and every three years after it.[163] The government is also allowed to confiscate guns. This is based on Executive Order # 5.123, of July 1, 2004[164] that allows the Federal Police to analyze the reasons that motivate the acquisition and the keep of a 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.[165]

The total number of firearms in Brazil is thought to be between 14 million and 17 million[162][166] with 9 million of those being unregistered.[161]

In a referendum that took place in 2005, Brazilians voted "yes" or "no" for a total ban on the sales of firearms to private citizens. Although highly influential institutions like the Roman Catholic Church and the United Nations, along with the Brazilian government itself, supported the gun ban, 64% of the voters voted against the ban. 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.[161]


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.

Carrying a firearm for self-defense requires a permit valid for one year. In order to apply for this permit, one must write a request citing specific reasons why one's safety is threatened to the police commander of the district where the applicant lives, who can deny it without citing a reason. In practice, this makes legal firearm carry almost non-existent en Chile.


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[158] Yes – shall issue Yes – shall issue No May issue – specific reason needed No No No 03, 06 for prohibited weapons[167]
Australia[168] Yes – shall issue, must have a specific reason No No No No No No No No up to life imprisonment
Austria (EU)[169] Yes – shall issue Yes – shall issue May issue / restricted May issue / restricted No May issue / restricted[170] No No 02[171]
Bosnia & Herzegovina[63] Yes – may issue Yes – may issue Yes – may issue Yes – may issue No No
Brazil[172] Yes – may issue Yes – may issue May issue / restricted May issue / restricted No[173] No[173] No[173] No[173] 03[174]
Canada[175] Yes – shall issue May issue / restricted No May issue / restricted No No (apart pre-1976)[175] No No No 10[174]
Czech Republic (EU) Yes – shall issue Yes – shall issue Professionals only[176] Yes – shall issue No May issue / restricted[177] Yes No No 02
China[178] May issue / restricted[179] No No No No No No No 02
Private citizens Personal protection Open carry Concealed carry Carry without permit Fully automatic firearms Unlimited magazine Free of checks Free of registration Max penalty
Cyprus (EU)[180] Yes – shotguns only Yes – shotguns only May issue / restricted[181] No No No[180] No[180] No[180]
East Timor[citation needed] Yes Yes No No No No No 01
Egypt[182] Yes – may issue Yes – may issue Certain officials, military and police personnel No up to life imprisonment
Estonia (EU)[183][184] 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)[185] Yes – shall issue[186] No No No No May issue / restricted[170] No No 02[174]
France (EU)[187] Yes – shall issue May issue / restricted No May issue / restricted No No No No No 07
Germany (EU)[188] Yes – may issue[189] May issue / restricted May issue / restricted May issue / restricted No No No No No 10[188]
Honduras[190] Yes – shall issue Yes – shall issue No No No No No No 10[191]
Hungary (EU)[192] Yes May issue / restricted Professionals only[193] May issue / restricted No No No No 08[194]
Indonesia[195][196] May issue / restricted[197] May issue / restricted May issue / restricted No No No No 20 / death[198]
Private citizens Personal protection Open carry Concealed carry Carry without permit Fully automatic firearms Unlimited magazine Free of checks Free of registration Max penalty
Iraq Yes – shall issue Yes – shall issue Yes[199] No[200] No[200]
Iran[citation needed] May issue / restricted No No No
Israel[201] 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)[202] Yes – shall issue Yes No May issue / restricted No No Yes No No
Jamaica[203][204][205][206] Yes – may issue Yes – may issue Yes – may issue Yes – may issue No No No No
Japan[207][208] May issue / restricted No No No No No No No 15[174]
Kenya[209] Yes – may issue[210] No No No No No No 15[174]
Mexico[211] Yes Yes May issue – specific reason needed May issue – specific reason needed No No No No 07[174]
Netherlands (EU)[212] Yes – may issue No No No No No No No 01[213]
New Zealand[214] Yes – shall issue No No No No Yes – may issue No No Registration of certain firearm types 02[174]
Private citizens Personal protection Open carry Concealed carry Carry without permit Fully automatic firearms Unlimited magazine Free of checks Free of registration Max penalty
North Korea No[215] No[215] No[215] No[215] No[215] No[215] No[215] No[215] 20 / death
Norway[216] Yes May issue / restricted No No No May issue / restricted No No 00[217]
Pakistan[citation needed] Yes – shall issue Yes – shall issue Yes – shall issue Yes – shall issue No Yes No No 07[174]
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[218] 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[219] Yes – shall issue Yes – shall issue May issue – specific reason needed May issue – specific reason needed No No No No 05[174]
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)[220] Yes – may issue[221] May issue – specific reason needed No May issue – specific reason needed No No May issue / restricted 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
South Africa[222] 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[174]
South Korea[223] Yes – may issue No No No No No No No 10 (death penalty in case of military weapon)[224]
Spain Yes – May issue
Switzerland[77] Yes – shall issue Yes – may issue May issue – restricted May issue – restricted No May issue permit (Pre-1999 purchased firearms without permit Yes Maybe – 3 months criminal record mandatory for most transactions Some classes of firearms, such as hunting guns (Art. 10) 05
(Art.  33  §1)[77]
Thailand[225] Yes – may issue[226] Yes – may issue Yes – may issue No No No No 10[174]
Turkey[227] Yes – may issue No No May issue – specific reason needed No No No No No 03
Ukraine[228][229] Yes – may issue No May issue / restricted No No No No 07[174]
United Kingdom (EU)[230] Yes – may issue (shall issue for shotguns) No
May issue – specific reason needed for Northern Ireland
No No No No No (applies only to shotguns) 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 Only older guns (registered before 1986)
Firearm Owners Protection Act
Varies internally Varies internally Varies internally Federal Prosecution: 10 years, State Prosecution: Varies[231]
Vietnam[232] May issue / restricted No No No No No No No 07
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. ^ GunPolicy.org – Facts. The only countries with permissive gun legislation are: Albania, Austria, Chad,China, Republic of Congo, Honduras, Micronesia, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Tanzania, the United States, Yemen and Zambia. Accessed on August 27, 2016.
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ "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. 
  4. ^ "China Reiterates Stance on Gun Control". Chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Hong Kong Police Force – Advice for Tourists". Police.gov.hk. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  6. ^ "CAP 238 FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION ORDINANCE s 13 Possession of arms or ammunition without licence". Hklii.org. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  7. ^ http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2009/10/23/229755/Strict-gun.htm
  8. ^ "PM gunning for a law change". Herald Sun. 3 July 2008. 
  9. ^ Lakshmi, Rama (1 February 2010). "New groups mobilize as Indians embrace the right to bear arms". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  10. ^ "The arms Rules, 1962" (PDF). Delhipolicelicensing.gov.in. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "CIA Site Redirect — Central Intelligence Agency". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  13. ^ [1] Archived 8 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ [2] Archived 23 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ [3] Archived 4 June 2003 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Graduate Institute of International Studies, Small Arms Survey 2003: Development Denied, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 59-60; 112. Williams James Arputharaj, Chamila Thushani Hemmathagama and Saradha Nanayakkara, A Comparative Study of Small Arms Legislation in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka: South Asia Partnership (SAP) International, July 2003.
  17. ^ Niobe Thompson and Devashish Krishnan, "Small Arms in India and the Human Costs of Lingering Conflicts", in Abdel-Fatau Musah and Niobe Thompson, eds., Over a Barrel: Light Weapons and Human Rights in the Commonwealth, London and New Delhi: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), November 1999, pp. 35-64.
  18. ^ Abhijeet Singh (1999-02-22). "Indian Legal Forms". Abhijeet Singh. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  19. ^ "CIA Site Redirect — Central Intelligence Agency". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  20. ^ "Guns in Indonesia — Firearms, gun law and gun control". Gunpolicy.org. 2001-07-21. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  21. ^ "Indonesia's Police Won't Stop Issuing Civilian Gun Permits | Jakarta Globe". Jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com. 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  22. ^ a b "Guns in Lebanon — Firearms, gun law and gun control". Gunpolicy.org. 2001-07-21. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  23. ^ "Lebanon's Illegal Arms Dealers". YouTube. 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  24. ^ "Mythbusting: Israel and Switzerland are not gun-toting utopias". Washington Post. 
  25. ^ a b Philip Alpers. "Guns in Israel — Firearms, gun law and gun control". Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  26. ^ "Knesset tightens gun control with no opposition". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  27. ^ "Israeli gun control regulations 'opposite of US'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  28. ^ "Israeli gun laws are much stricter than some U.S. gun advocates suggest". Washington Post. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
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External links[edit]