Monday, August 27, 2012

Guns in Japan

What follows is an edit of an article on guns in Japan.

"Of the world's 23 richest countries, the US gun related murder rate is about 20 times that of the other 22. With almost one privately owned firearm per person, America's ownership rate is also the highest in the world. In 2008, the US had over 12,000 firearm-related homicides.

All of Japan experienced only 11 firearm-related homicides in 2008. That was a high year for Japan too - 2006 saw an astounding 2, and when that jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.

Almost no one in Japan owns a gun. Most kinds of guns are illegal, with strict restrictions on buying and owning the few that are allowed. Even Japan's famous Yakuza tend to forgo guns.

Japanese tourists who fire off a few rounds at a shooting range in another country would be breaking three separate laws back home in Japan. Holding a handgun, possessing unlicensed bullets and firing them. The first law alone is punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison. Handguns are absolutely forbidden. Small caliber rifles have been illegal to buy, sell, or transfer since 1971. Anyone who owned a rifle before then is allowed to keep it, but their heirs are required to turn it over to the police once the owner dies.

The only legal guns that citizens can buy and use are shotguns and air rifles, but it's not easy. To get a gun, you have to attend an all-day class and pass a written test, which are only held once per month. You must pass a shooting range class. You must head over to a hospital for a mental test and drug test, which you'll file with the police. Finally, you must pass a rigorous background check for any criminal record or association with criminal or extremist groups. Then you can own a shotgun or air rifle. Don't forget to provide police with documentation on the specific location of the gun in your home, as well as the ammo, both of which must be locked and stored separately. Also the police need to inspect the gun once per year and you need to re-take the class and exam every 3 years."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

actually it's the picture I want to comment disturbing. And gun proponents will see nothing wrong with it at all. H