Japan Has Guns; They’re Just Really Hard to Purchase

A Tokyo gun shop owner (Reuters)

In the wake of senseless domestic terrorism like the one we saw today in Las Vegas, Japan often becomes an example of how gun control can lead to a drop in gun violence. Take any year in recent history and Japan’s gun deaths per year are but a tiny fraction of the U.S.

One common misconception though is that guns are banned in Japan. This however, is not entirely true. Most guns are illegal but shotguns and rifles are not. They’re just really hard to get. And why shouldn’t they? It’s only common sense that guns, with their potential to deliver fatality simply by the movement of a finger, should be tightly regulated. And citizens should expect nothing less from their country.

From the Atlantic, here a few basic things you have to do in Japan before being allowed to own a death machine:

To get a gun in Japan, first, you have to attend an all-day class and pass a written test, which are held only once per month. You also must take and pass a shooting range class [and score 95% or higher]. Then, head over to a hospital for a mental test and drug test (Japan is unusual in that potential gun owners must affirmatively prove their mental fitness), which you’ll file with the police. Finally, pass a rigorous background check for any criminal record or association with criminal or extremist groups, and you will be the proud new owner of your shotgun or air rifle. Just 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. And remember to have the police inspect the gun once per year and to re-take the class and exam every three years.

this visual outlines the flowchart of requirements before you can own and actually use your gun in Japan

There’s also the cost associated with owning a gun in Japan. This site estimates that it costs roughly 69,300 yen, or about $613 simply to become certified. It will cost you another $500 to purchase a used rifle and also another $500 for the required accessories like gun and bullet lockers.

7 Comments

  1. As it should be.

  2. “In the wake of senseless domestic terrorism like the one we saw today in Las Vegas, Japan often becomes an example of how gun control can lead to a drop in gun violence.”

    The truth is that there is no clear statistical link between gun control laws and gun violence rates across the board.

    Yes, there are examples like Japan where there are very tight gun regulations and very low gun violence rates. But there are just as many (if not more) examples where very strict gun control has at-best no effect on gun violence rates. In-fact there are a significant number of examples (often in large U.S. cities) where gun violence rates have increased even after the introduction and enforcement of draconian gun control laws.

    For example take Chicago where gun laws are so strict it is practically impossible for a normal law-abiding citizens to own one: In 2015 Chicago recorded a total of 2,987 shooting victims. Plus, in the decades since Chicago’s strong gun control laws were first enacted, the smoothed average gun violence rate continues to climb.

    So based on objective analysis it is clear: More gun control is really all about more Government control, not controlling gun violence.

    • There is complete correlation between strict gun control and homicides! Guns in Chicago are due to lax gun laws in neighboring states. Too much Fox News also correlates with poor factual arguments.

    • This is utter nonsense, Chicago lost most of it’s strict gun control laws seven years ago, and it is surrounded by states which have the weakest gun control laws in America.
      It is a totally fake argument used all the time by people who put the right to play with guns before public safety

    • Mathieu Dumoulin

      October 7, 2017 at 8:00 pm

      You are incorrect. Search google for “gun death vs gun ownership by country” and you will see if there is an association or not.

      Regulation is worthless to use as a benchmark because it may be good or not, it may be enforced properly or not.

      Properly enforced gun regulation translates into low gun ownership and that’s the proper benchmark. The association is extremely obvious.

    • What you are missing is how easily it is for a non law-abiding citizen in Chicago to drive a few miles into another state and purchase there. Or the other million and one ways one can get one underground. If strict gun control law becomes federal law, it will still take a good decade or two to flush out every unregistered gun. But it will prevent mass shootings by those without underground mafia/gangsta connection.

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