||It has been suggested that gun control be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2013.|
|Part of the Politics series|
Gun politics addresses safety issues and ideologies related to firearms through criminal and noncriminal use. Gun politics deals with rules, regulations, and restrictions on the use, ownership, as well as distribution of firearms. Gun control laws and policy vary greatly around the world. Some countries, such as North Korea, China, the United Kingdom or Germany, have very strict limits on gun possession while others, such as Yemen and the USA, have relatively lenient limits.
Most nations hold the power to protect themselves, others, and police their own territory as a fundamental power vested by sovereignty. However, this power can be lost under certain circumstances: some countries have been forced to disarm by other countries, upon losing a war, or by having arms embargos or sanctions placed on them. Likewise, nations that violate international arms control agreements, even if claiming to be acting within the scope of their national sovereignty, may find themselves with a range of penalties or sanctions regarding firearms placed on them by other nations.
National and regional police and security services enforce their own gun regulations. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) supports the United States' International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) program "to aggressively enforce this mission and reduce the number of weapons that are illegally trafficked worldwide from the United States and used to commit acts of international terrorism, to subvert restrictions imposed by other nations on their residents, and to organized crime and narcotics-related activities.
There are many areas of debate into what kinds of firearms, if any, should be allowed to be privately owned, and how, where and when they may be used.
Firearm laws in Australia are enforced at a Federal and State level. Gun ownership is accessible to the civilian population, and those people must comply with 'genuine reasons' to obtain a 'Permit to Acquire' from their State government. 'Genuine Reasons' focus on either hunting and/or sport/target shooting (for Rifles), and do not include 'personal protection.'Handgun licenses are also available, and applied for separately. In New South Wales (and similar in other States), firearm ownership is widely prohibited for convicted offenders or those with a history of mental illness. Gun licenses must be renewed either annually or every 5 years, and expire automatically (if not renewed prior).
Firearm controls have been in place following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. Gun ownership in Australia is not a wide social issue, and major political parties are generally supportive of pro-control legislation (although parties such as the New South Wales Shooters Party, which represent deregulation, have a small number of seats in State Parliaments).
The rate of homicides involving firearms per 100,000 population in 2009 was 0.1, as compared with 3.3 in the United States. The rate of unintentional deaths involving firearms in 2001 was 0.09 as compared with 0.27 in the United States. The overall homicide rate of Australia was 1.2 deaths per 100,000 for 2007-2008, as compared with 4.8 per 100,000 in 2011 for the United States.
All firearms in Brazil are required to be registered with the state. The minimum age for ownership is 25 and it is generally illegal to carry a gun outside a residence. The total number of firearms in Brazil is thought to be between 14 million and 17 million with 9 million of those being unregistered. Some 39,000 people died in 2003 due to gun-related injuries nationwide. In 2004, the number was 36,000. Although Brazil has 100 million fewer citizens than the United States, and more restrictive gun laws, there are 25 percent more gun deaths; other sources indicate that homicide rates due to guns are approximately four times higher than the rate in the United States. Brazil has the second largest arms industry in the Western Hemisphere. Approximately 80 percent of the weapons manufactured in Brazil are exported, mostly to neighboring countries; many of these weapons are then smuggled back into Brazil. Some firearms in Brazil come from police and military arsenals, having either been "stolen or sold by corrupt soldiers and officers."
In 2005, a referendum was held in Brazil on the sale of firearms and ammunition to attempt to lower the number of deaths due to guns. Material focused on gun rights in opposition to the gun ban was translated from information from the National Rifle Association, much of which focused on US Constitutional discussions focused around the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Although the Brazilian Government, the Catholic Church, and the United Nations, among others, fought for the gun ban, the referendum failed at the polls, with 64% of the voters voting no.
The stated intent of Canadian firearms laws is to control firearms so as to improve public safety. Canadians have a somewhat limited access to firearms, but are still able to purchase them with relative ease. Licensing provisions of the Firearms Act endeavours to ensure proper training and safe storage.
Users must possess a licence, called a "possession and acquisition licence (PAL)". A firearms safety course must be passed prior to applying for a PAL. A non-resident (i.e., non-Canadian) can have a "non-resident firearms declaration" confirmed by a customs officer, which provides for a temporary 60-day authorization to have a firearm in Canada. 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.
In Canada firearms fall into one of three categories:
1. Non-Restricted: Long guns with an overall length greater than 26 inches and, if semi-automatic, a barrel which is 18 1/2 inches or longer. These can be possessed with an ordinary PAL, and are the only class of firearms which can be used for hunting, due to the ATT (Authorization to Transport) requirement for Restricted and Prohibited weapons, as well as provincial regulations. This class includes most popular sporting rifles and shotguns.
2. Restricted: This includes handguns with barrel lengths greater than 4.1 inches (105mm), and long guns which do not meet the length requirements for non-restricted, and are not prohibited. These guns require ATTs, and as such can only be shot at ranges. These arms can be possessed with an RPAL, which is similar to the PAL course, but covers restricted weapons and the increased storage requirements. One must pass the CFSC as well as the RCFSC in order to obtain their RPAL. Examples in this class include all AR-15 variants.
3. Prohibited: These weapons generally cannot be possessed by civilians. Normally, the only way to possess these is by being grandfathered in or inheriting a pistol with a barrel length at or under 4.1 inches (105mm), in which case the individual may receive the Class 7 endorsement. This class also includes prohibited devices. Many military arms fall under this classification, including all AK variants, and the FN-FAL. All handguns with a barrel length equal to or under 4.1 inches (105mm) are prohibited, as well as those chambered in .25 or .32 caliber cartridges, presumably to prevent the manufacture of "Saturday Night Specials". Also prohibited are fully automatic weapons and suppressors. Magazines for automatic long guns capable of holding more than 5 centerfire cartridges or 10 rounds for handguns, are prohibited, with the exception of the M1 Garand, as well as carbines which use pistol magazines, such as the Beretta CX4 Storm.
The rate of homicide involving firearms per 100,000 population in 2009 was 0.5 as compared with 3.3 in the United States and 7.9 in Mexico. The rate of unintentional deaths involving firearms in 2001 was 0.08  as compared with 0.27 in the United States, and with 0.47 Mexico.
Gun ownership in the People's Republic of China is heavily regulated by law. Generally, private citizens are not allowed to possess guns.
Guns can be used by law enforcement, the military and paramilitary, and security personnel protecting property of state importance (including the arms industry, financial institutions, storage of resources, and scientific research institutions).
Civilian ownership of guns is largely restricted to authorised, non-individual entities, including sporting organisations, authorised hunting reserves and wild life protection, management and research organizations. The chief exception to the general ban for individual gun ownership is for the purpose of hunting.
Illegal possession or sale of firearms may result in a minimum punishment of 3 years in prison, with the maximum being the death penalty (needs better citation).
Gun ownership in Hong Kong and Macau is tightly controlled and possession is mainly in the hands of law enforcement, military, and private security firms (providing protection for jewelers and banks). Still, possessing, manufacturing and import/exporting airsoft guns with a muzzle energy not above two joules of kinetic energy is legal to citizens in China's SARs. Under the Section 13 of Cap 238 Firearms and Ammunition Ordinance of the Hong Kong law, unrestricted firearms and ammunition requires a license, and those found in possession without a license could be fined HKD$100,000 and imprisonment for up to 14 years.
Under East Timorese law, only the military and police forces may legally possess, carry and use firearms. Despite these laws, East Timor has many problems with illegally armed militias, including widespread violence in 2006 which resulted in over 100,000 people being forced from their homes, as well as two separate assassination attempts on the Prime Minister and President of the country in early 2008.
In late June 2008, the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão, introduced a proposed gun law to Parliament for "urgent debate", pushing back scheduled budgetary discussions. The new law, which would allow civilians to own guns, sparked heated scenes in the East Timorese parliament between the parliamentarians who support the new law and those who oppose it. The United Nations, which has a peacekeeping force deployed in the nation, also expressed concern over the new law.
The 1991 Council Directive 91/477/EEC started the process of creating a new common legal system for gun owners in the EU, and introduced the European Firearms Pass for owners carrying firearms from one member state to another. In late 2007 the European Parliament and Council adopted a legislative report to tighten gun control laws and establish an extensive firearms database. Passed with overwhelming backing, the tough new gun control rules were "hoped to prevent Europe from becoming a gun-friendly culture like the United States," in the words of the International Herald Tribune. Certain countries such as the United Kingdom are unaffected as they maintain more stringent gun control laws than those effectively set as a minimum by the European Union.
In 2008 the resulting EU Directive 2008/51/EC provided the current common basis for national laws affecting hunters, target shooters and collectors, and member states were to have complied with it by 28 July 2010.
Guns are divided into four categories:
Licenses to own/carry category A weapons are available but rare, for example pre-ban grandfathered pump action shotguns - these are then added like normal category B weapons to the Waffenpass/Waffenbesitzkarte.
In 2012 the former Category D (Non-repeating shotguns) which required no registration was integrated into category C, therefore now requiring registration as well.
(Comments apply to the internationally recognized Greek portion of the island) Cyprus has strict gun control. Private citizens are completely forbidden from owning handguns and rifles in any calber, even .22 rimfire. Only shotguns are allowed, and these require a license. Shotguns are limited to two rounds. The only shotguns typically sold in stores are double-barreled side-by-sides or over-unders. Pump actions and semiautomatics are prohibited. A private citizen can own a total of ten different shotguns. A citizen is not required to specify a reason for ownership to obtain a license, but most own their guns for hunting. Licenses are issued by provincial police. A gun license is required to buy ammunition, and ammunition sales are recorded. A shotgun owner may purchase up to 250 shells at one time. Cyprus also controls airguns, and airgun owners require a license.
Gun ownership in the Czech Republic is regulated by liberal gun laws compared to the rest of Europe. The last Gun Act was passed in 2001 and replaced the old law tightening the legislation slightly. Generally, handguns in the Czech Republic are available to anybody above 21 years of age (15, 16 or 18 years under special conditions) with a clean criminal history who passes tests about gun law and weapon knowledge and a medical inspection (which may optionally include psychological test). Gun ownership is also acceptable for self-defense purposes. Unlike most European countries the Czech gun law allow its citizens to carry a concealed weapon without having any specific reason (In fact-carrying weapons visibly is unlawful). Sport shooting is the third most widespread sport in the country (after football (soccer) and ice hockey).
The ownership and use of firearms in Finland is regulated by the country's Firearms Act of 1998. Weapons are individually licensed by local police forces, there is no limit on the number of licenses an individual may hold. Licenses are granted for recreational uses, exhibition or (under certain circumstances) professional use.
With the exception of law enforcement, only specially trained security guards may carry loaded weapons in public. There is almost no regulation of air rifles or crossbows, except that it is illegal to carry or fire them in public. Guns are divided into 13 firearms categories and four action categories; some of which are limited. Fully automatic weapons, rockets and cannons (so called "destructive" weapons), for example, are generally not permitted.
In November 2007 Finland updated their gun laws, pre-empting a new EU directive prohibiting the carrying of firearms by under-18's by removing the ability of 15- to 18-year-olds to carry hunting rifles under parental guidance. In 2010, after controversial high school shootings in 2008 prompted government review, a constitutional law committee concluded that people over the age of 20 can receive a permit for semiautomatic handguns. Though individuals have to show a continuous activity in a handguns sporting for last two years before they can have a license for their own gun.
In France, to buy a weapon, a hunting licence or a shooting sport licence is necessary.
Since 1939, guns are divided into eight categories :
France also sets limits on the number of cartridges that can be purchased per year, depending on the purpose of the gun. The total number of firearms owned by an individual is also subject to limits.
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. Under this act Germany maintains a two-tier policy to firearm ownership.
A firearms ownership license allows for the purchasing of weapons by those over the age of 21 who meet various competency/trustworthiness guidelines. Convicted felons, those with a mental disability or those deemed unreliable are denied licenses. To get a license issued it is also required to prove the necessity of owning a gun, while self-defense is not an accepted reason to own a gun. Owners of multiple firearms need separate ownership licenses for every single firearm they own.
The second tier is a firearms carry permit which allows concealed or open carry in public. The permits are usually only issued to individuals with a particular need; such as persons at risk, money couriers, etc.
The laws apply to any weapons with a fire energy exceeding 7.5 Joule.
Several weapons and special ammunitions are completely prohibited. To these belong for example automatic firearms and weapons of war, as well as weapons like Brass knuckles, Switchblades, Balisongs or Nunchakus. Buying, possessing, lending, using, carrying, crafting, altering and trading of these weapons is illegal and punishable by up to five years imprisonment, confiscation of the weapon and a fine of up to €10,000. Using an illegal weapon for crime of any kind is punishable by from 1 to 10 years imprisonment.
Germany's National Gun Registry introduced at the end of 2012 counted 5.5 million firearms legally owned by 1.4 million people in the country.
Gun violence is very rare in Hungary; one of the most tragic event took place at the University of Pécs in 2009, causing 1 death and two injured. It was the first and the only school shooting in the country's history. Hungarian Police use lethal weapons less than 10 times a year.
The Italian Constitution does not recognize the right to keep and bear arms, however different types of gun licenses can be obtained from the national police authorities. Gun usage is restricted to people over the age of 18. There are 3 licenses that allow individuals to carry guns in public: Hunting license; Shooting Sports license and Concealed Carry license. A shooting sports license allows the licensee to carry his/her weapon from home to the shooting range and back only. If caught with a gun anywhere else severe penalties are in force, including arrest. The same applies for hunting licenses, while to obtain a concealed carry license, a person has to prove that there exists a real "threat to life". This can be for example having been shot already. The number of guns an individual may own and retain in its home is restricted by a classification: three common handguns, six sporting handguns/long guns, and an unlimited number of hunting long guns. Purchase of any gun and ammunition is allowed only to individuals issued with a carry license.
Gun ownership in Poland is regulated by the Weapons and Munitions Act. A license is required to keep and purchase firearms. As a result of very strict controls, gun ownership in Poland is the lowest in the European Union, at one firearm per 100 citizens. In order to get a gun license, one must:
Gun ownership in Romania is regulated by Law 39/2004. Romania has one of the toughest gun ownership in the world. In order for citizens to obtain a non-lethal weapon, they must obtain a permit from the police, and must register their weapon once they purchased it. Civilians cannot purchase a lethal firearm. The only categories of people who are legally entitled to carry a weapon are magistrates, MPs military forces and certain categories of diplomats. A psychological evaluation is required beforehand in all cases. Furthermore, knives with a blade longer than 15 cm are considered weapons and have a similar regime to those of firearms.
In order for a hunter to obtain a hunting/gun ownership license, he must spend a certain "practice time" with a professional hunter. Minors (15 and older) may also use a weapon, provided that they are under the supervision of someone who has a gun license. However, they cannot own or carry one until the age of 18.
The use of guns for self-defense is only allowed if the gun is a last resort option.
Gun ownership in Slovakia is regulated principally by law 190/2003. A gun license is necessary to purchase most firearms. Air guns with muzzle energy up to 15 J, gas pistols and non-repeating muzzle-loaded guns are available to anybody above 18 without permission. There is a restriction in muzzle energy output - handguns up to 1000 J, rifles up to 6000 J. Fully automatic guns, silencers and hollow-point bullets (when used for self-defense) are forbidden. A gun licence can be issued for 6 categories of possession (A - carrying for defense, B - possession at home for defense, C - gun-holding for work purposes, D - long guns for hunting, E - gun holding for sport shooting, F - guns collecting). Generally one must be at least 21 years old, free of a criminal history, and of sound health of mind and body to apply for a gun license, which is then issued after passing an oral exam covering aspects of gun law, safe handling, first-aid, etc. The license allowing carrying for self-defense is only issued if the police deem a sufficient justification exists—examples of such justifications include being a business owner (including those self-employed), handling money in connection with business, etc. 2% of the adult Slovak population holds a license allowing for concealed carry.
In Slovenia gun ownership is regulated under the "Weapons Law" (Zakon o orožju). The ownership and purchase of firearms requires a specific reason: if one wants to have a gun for hunting or target shooting, a person must obtain a proof of their membership in a shooting sports organization. If one needs a weapon for self-defense one must "prove that his personal safety at risk to such an extent that in order to ensure the needed a weapon for security". Regardless of the reason, before applying for a gun permit one must receive a medical exam and a test on the knowledge of weapons. When keeping weapons at home the gun must be stored in a locked cabinet with ammunition stored in a separate location
Gun ownership requires license and is regulated by the weapon law (Vapenlagen 1996:67) further regulations are found in weapon decree (Vapenförordningen 1996:70) and FAP 551-3 - RPSFS 2009:13 "Rikspolisstyrelsens föreskrifter och allmänna råd om vapenlagstiftningen". The law doesn't ban any specific firearms or weapons, it merely states the requirements to own one. Everything from pepperspray to full-automatic machine guns are technically legal, and license to civilians can be given in 'special' cases. Like the other Nordic countries Sweden has a high rate of gun ownership, due to the popularity of hunting. The weapons law doesn't apply to air guns and similar with a projectile energy less than 10 joules at the end of barrel. These require no license and may be bought by any person over 18 years. Breech-loading rifles manufactured before 1890 are exempt as well. 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. A gun registered for sportshooting may not be used in hunting. You are allowed to hunt without passing an hunting-exam, if you are chaparoned by someone that has passed the exam. The minimum age for taking an hunting exam is 15 years. A person under 18 years may not own a firearm him- or herself, unless an exception have been made. A person with a gun license may legally under supervision lend his or her gun to a person at least 15 years and older. A person may be granted license to own up to six hunting rifles, ten pistols or a mix of eight rifles and pistols. Owning more firearms than this requires a valid reason. Firearms must be stored in an approved gun safe.
There is no specific permit for carrying guns. For civilians it's illegal to carry a firearm unless there is a specific, legal, purpose(hunting, going to range etc.). The general guideline, for transport of firearms, is that the gun must be hidden and transported in a safe(unloaded etc.) and secure way(under supervision etc.). The laws and recommendations in how to transport weapons is found in "Rikspolisstyrelsens föreskrifter och allmänna råd om vapenlagstiftningen"(FAP 551-3 - RPSFS 2009:13) and Vapenförordningen 1996:70.
Another reason for gun ownership is collecting. A collector must have a clearly stated demarcation of the interest of the collection. To be a valid interest of collection it must be possible to obtain a complete collection, for example - Pre-World War II British handguns -. A collector may start a second (or more) collection if he or she has collected for several years and shown a great interest in gun history. If the collection holds guns of criminal interest, such as pistols or submachine guns, the police may demand a very high safety level on the keeping of the guns (such as security windows and vault doors). Collectors may also require a time limited permit in order to be allowed to fire their collectibles. Guns can also be owned for affection value or as decoration. If ammunition for the guns are easy available, they have to be rendered inoperable. Owning firearms is viewed as more of a privilege than a right.
Gun ownership rates vary throughout the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland has a very high rate of gun ownership, one of the highest in the world, and has less restrictive laws the rest of the UK. In contrast England and Wales have considerably lower rates and Scotland has the lowest in the United Kingdom. Private ownership of firearms is common in many rural areas of Britain. Crime involving firearms has historically been very low in the UK. The gun crime rate rose between 1997 and 2004 but has since slightly receded, while the number of murders from gun crime has largely remained static over the past decade. 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  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) 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.
Ownership of most types of firearm in the UK requires either a Shotgun Certificate (SGC) or a Firearm Certificate (FAC). Both of these are issued by local police after the applicant has met the required criteria. For a Shotgun Certificate the applicant need to demonstrate that they can securely store the firearms (usually a gun safe bolted to a solid wall), have no criminal convictions, no history of any medical condition or disability including alcohol and drug related conditions, no history of treatment for depression or any other kind of mental or nervous disorder, or epilepsy. Once a SGC is granted the person is free to purchase single shot, multi-barreled and repeating shotguns of lever action, pump action or semi-automatic with non detachable magazine that hold no more than 2 rounds of ammunition, plus one in the breech. There is no restriction on the number of shotguns that can be held on a SGC nor are there any restrictions on the amount of ammunition one can possess. The shotguns can be used wherever one has permission.
The criteria required for the grant of a Firearm certificate are far more stringent. Alongside safe storage requirements and checks on previous convictions and medical records, the applicant must also demonstrated a Good reason for each firearm they wish to hold (Good reason may include hunting, pest control, collecting or target shooting). Police may restrict the type and amount of ammunition held, and where and how the firearms are used. Historically, most certificates approved for handguns listed "self-defence" as a reason. Since 1968 in mainland Britain, self-defence is not considered an acceptable "good reason" for firearm ownership (however use of a licensed firearm in self-defence is often justified provided that the victim can prove they used necessary and reasonable force). Only in Northern Ireland is self-defence still accepted as a reason. The police should not amend, revoke (even partially) or refuse an FAC without stating a valid reason. (Section 29(1) of the 1968 Act gives the chief officer power to vary, by a notice in writing, any such condition not prescribed by the rules made by the Secretary of State. The notice may require the holder to deliver the certificate to the chief officer within twenty one days for the purpose of amending the conditions. The certificate may be revoked if the holder fails to comply with such a requirement.)
Air rifles under 12 ft·lbf (16 J) and air pistols under 6 ft·lbf (8.1 J) can be purchased legally by anyone over the age of 18, and do not require a licence. Licensing is being discussed for all air weapons in Scotland.
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. In April 2002, the National Arms Registry was formed, requiring all citizens to register their firearms with the Ministry of Defense. 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. 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.
Arms and ammunition were systematically taken away from Indian hands by British colonialists fearing a repetition of the First War of Indian Independence of 1857. To this purpose they enacted the repressive Indian Arms Act, 1878. After Indian independence (in 1947) and creation of the Republic of India (in 1951), the Indian Government, however, dragged its feet on this issue, and only by 1959 could it finally repeal the infamous Act. However, the Government simultaneously replaced it with the only slightly less repressive Arms Act of 1959, thus continuing with the colonial legacy.
To obtain a license to own a firearm, a person has to prove that there exists "threat to life." Once a license is obtained, there are several restrictions on caliber (9mm, .303 British, and .45 ACP are prohibited along with several other calibers) and types of firearms (semi-automatic rifles, short-barrel shotguns, and automatic weapons are not allowed for civilians). A license is limited to three firearms under section 3 of the Arms Act 1959. Under the pretext of combating terrorism the Government is considering making the rules even more repressive. In response to increased governmental regulations, Indians on the online forum Indians for Guns organized to form the National Association for Gun Rights India (NAGRI) to protect and increase their ability to obtain and use firearms for self-defense against street crime and terrorism.
It is forbidden in Israel to own any kind of firearm, including air pistols and rifles, without a firearms license.
Israel Defense Forces officers honorably discharged with the rank of non-commissioned officer, reservists honorably discharged with the rank of regimental commander, ex-special forces enlisted men, retired police officers with the rank of sergeant, retired prison guards with the rank of squadron commander, licensed public transportation drivers transporting a minimum of five people, and full-time dealers of jewellery or large sums of cash or valuables, Civil Guard volunteers, and residents of militarily strategic buffer zones considered essential to state security are eligible for licenses allowing them to possess one handgun. Reservists honorably discharged with the rank of regimental commander are also eligible for licences allowing them to possess one rifle. Licensed hunters may possess one shotgun, and licensed animal-control officers are allowed to possess two rifles while Civil Guard snipers may possess one rifle.
To legally own a gun as a souvenir, prize, inheritance, or award of appreciation from the military, an individual must first present proper documentation that they are about to receive it. Permits for gun collectors are extremely rare, and typically only given to ex-high-ranking officers.
To obtain a gun license, an applicant must be a resident of Israel for at least three consecutive years, have no criminal record, be in good health, have no history of mental illness, pass a weapons-training course, and be over a certain age (20 for women who completed military service or civil service equivalent, 21 for men who completed military service or civil service equivalent, 27 for those who did not complete military service or civil service equivalent, 45 for residents of East Jerusalem).
Gun licenses must be renewed every three years and permits are given only for personal use, not for business in the firearms sale while holders for self-defense purposes may own only one handgun, and may purchase a maximum of fifty rounds a year, except for those shot at firing ranges.
Members of officially recognized shooting clubs (practical shooting, Olympic shooting) are eligible for personal licenses allowing them to possess additional firearms (small bore rifles, handguns, air rifles and air pistols) after demonstrating a need and fulfilling minimum membership time and activity requirements. Unlicensed individuals are allowed supervised use of pistols at firing ranges. Following a number of cases of firearm-related suicides at firing ranges, private individuals who do not own firearms are required to present a certificate of good conduct and a physician's health declaration in order to shoot at commercial firing ranges.
Self-defense firearms may be carried in public, concealed or openly, together with ammunition, without needing any additional permits. Israel is notable for being a country with few places where firearms are off limits to licensed individuals (private premises, some government offices and institutions, courts).
In addition to private licenses of firearms, organizations can issue carry licenses to their members for activity related to that organization (e.g. security companies, shooting clubs, other workplaces).
Soldiers are allowed to carry their personal weapons and ammunition together while on furlough during active service, uniformed or in civilian clothing.
In 2005, there were 236,879 private citizens and 154,000 security guards licensed to carry firearms. Another 34,000 Israelis who were previously licensed own guns illegally due to their failure to renew their gun license. 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.
The regulation for gun ownership became stricter following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 . Gun ownership in Israel is considered a privilege and not a right.
During the Tokugawa period in Japan, starting in the 17th century, the government imposed very restrictive controls on the small number of gunsmiths in the nation, thereby ensuring the almost total prohibition of firearms. Japan, in the postwar period, has had gun regulation which is strict in principle. Gun licensing is required, and is heavily regulated by the National Police Agency of Japan.
The weapons law begins by stating "No-one shall possess a fire-arm or fire-arms or a sword or swords", and very few exceptions are allowed. The only types of firearms which a Japanese citizen may acquire are rifles or shotguns. Sportsmen are permitted to possess rifles or shotguns for hunting and for skeet and trap shooting, but only after submitting to a lengthy licensing procedure. Without a license, a Japanese citizen may not even hold a gun in his or her hands.
The former ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in response to violent crimes by minors and gangsters, has called for rewriting the constitution to include even further stringent firearms control measures. In January 2008 Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in a policy speech called for tighter regulations on firearms.
It is illegal in Kenya to own any type of firearm without a valid gun ownership license as spelled out under the Firearms Act (Cap. 114) Laws of Kenya. Anyone who is 12 years or older can apply to privately own a gun. However, such persons must provide in writing to the Chief Licensing Officer (CLO) stating genuine reason(s) for their need to privately own and carry a firearm. It remains at the discretion of the CLO to make a decision to award, deny or revoke a gun ownership license based on the reason(s) given. Anyone seeking to hold a gun license must pass the most stringent of background checks that probes into their past and present criminal, mental health and well as domestic violence records. Failure to pass one of these checks automatically bars one from being permitted to own a firearm. These checks are regularly repeated and must be continually passed for anyone to continue holding the gun license. Failure to pass any of these checks at any stage, means an automatic and immediate revocation of the issued license. Once licensed to own a gun, no permit is required in order to carry around a concealed firearm.
Mexico has strict gun laws. Mexican citizens and legal residents may purchase new non-military firearms for self-protection or hunting only after receiving approval of a petition to the Defense Ministry, which performs extensive background checks. The allowed weapons are restricted to relatively low-caliber and can be purchased from the Defense Ministry only. Pistols are restricted to calibres up to 9mm excluding those chambered in 9mm Parabellum and .38 super. Revolvers are also allowed in calibers up to 9mm excluding .357 magnum. Shotguns are allowed up to 15 gauge and rifles of calibre above .30 are only allowed for hunting abroad. "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). The private sale of "non-military" firearms, however, is unregulated, and while these firearms are supposed to be registered with the government, in practice this is widely ignored. Possession of "non-military" firearms is regulated by federal law. Generally, "non-military" firearms may be kept at home, but a license is required to carry them outside home. President Felipe Calderón has called attention to the alleged problem of the smuggling of guns from the United States into Mexico, guns which are easily available both legally and illegally in the United States, and has called for increased cooperation from the United States to stop this illegal weapons trafficking. In the five years prior to 2012, over two-thirds of illegal firearms seized in Mexico that could be traced to a source, were traced back to the United States of America. However, traceable firearms constitute only a small portion of the total seized, and the origin of the majority cannot be positively identified.
New Zealand's gun laws are notably more liberal than other countries in the Pacific, focusing mainly on vetting firearm owners, rather than registering firearms or banning certain types of firearms. Firearms legislation is provided for in the Arms Act and its associated regulations, though stricter unofficial police and government policies also apply.
Firearms in New Zealand fall into one of four categories:
Registration is not required for "A Category" firearms, but firearms in any other category require both registration and a "permit to procure" before they are transferred.
Except under supervision of a licence holder, owning or using firearms requires a firearms licence from the police. The licence is normally issued, under the conditions that the applicant has secure storage for firearms, 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 almost always lead to a licence being declined.
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.
Air guns can be purchased by anybody over 16 (with a license) and unlicensed and unrestricted to persons over 18.
Firearms are not allowed to be carried outside of private property unless one is a hunter, a farmer, or a member of the military or police. Even officers of the New Zealand Police force rarely carry a pistol on their person. Instead, firearms, usually one or two pistols and a shotgun, are carried in squad cars, and in a highly secure mount.
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. Gun culture is strong among Pakistanis and traditionally important part of rural and urban life.
According to Russia's gun laws, Russian citizens can buy smoothbore shotguns, such as, for example Saiga 12, gas pistols, or revolvers shooting rubber bullets. Safe use of one of the above weapons for five years allows purchase of a rifle or carbine.
In Moscow alone, some 400,000 people legally keep 470,000 weapons.
Citizens in Singapore must obtain a license to lawfully possess firearms and/or ammunition; applicants must provide justification for the license, such as target shooting or self-defense. Target shooting licenses permit ownership of a gun, stored in an approved and protected firing range. Self-defense permits are nearly never granted, unless one can justify the 'imminent threat to life that cannot be reasonably removed'. Citizens are not allowed to possess pistols over .32 caliber, or automatic weapons.
Serbia has relatively liberal weapon laws compared to the rest of Europe. Serbia ranks in 5th place on the List of countries by gun ownership. Gun culture is strong among Serbs and traditionally important part of rural life.
Weapons are regulated by "Weapons and Ammunition Law" (Zakon o oružju i municiji). Rifles, shotguns and handguns are all allowed to civilians. Handgun ownership is allowed, but the licensing is strict. Concealed carry permit is available to approved handgun owners, but extremely hard to obtain - one has to prove to the police that his or her life is in imminent danger, and even then, license is far from guaranteed. In essence, people over 18 are allowed to own guns, but must be issued a permit. People with criminal history, mental disorders, history of alcohol and illegal substance abuse, cannot be issued a permit. There is a thorough background check prior to license approval. Police have the last word on the matter, and there is no court appeal possible. When at home, the guns must be kept in a "safe place", and owner irresponsibility could lead to gun confiscation by police. Fully automatic weapons and non-lethal self-defense devices are prohibited. Number of guns in private ownership is not limited. Every gun transaction is recorded by police. There is no rifle caliber restriction (it has to be smaller than .50BMG, though). Rifle and handgun ammunition is severely restricted, there is a 60 round limit per rifle, per year. 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.
Switzerland practices universal conscription, which requires that all able-bodied male citizens keep fully automatic firearms at home in case of a call-up. Every male between the ages of 20 and 34 is considered a candidate for conscription into the military, and following a brief period of active duty will commonly be enrolled in the militia until age or an inability to serve ends his service obligation. During their enrollment in the armed forces, these men are required to keep their government-issued selective fire combat rifles and semi-automatic handguns in their homes. They are not allowed to keep ammunition for these firearms in their homes, however, and ammunition is stored at government arsenals. Up until September 2007, soldiers received 50 rounds of government-issued ammunition in a sealed box for storage at home. Swiss gun laws are considered to be restrictive. Owners are legally responsible for third party access and usage of their weapons. Licensure is similar to other Germanic countries. In a referendum in February 2011 voters rejected a citizens' initiative which would have obliged armed services members to store their rifles and pistols on military compounds, rather than keep them at home.
In the Ukraine, laws are somewhat permissive. A license is required to own firearms. If you:
then you may be issued a license. Once issued a license all guns must me kept in a safe unloaded. If you own more than three firearms, the safe must have an alarm on it. All non fully automatic rifles and shotguns are allowed with no restrictions as long as they are stored properly when not in use. Handguns are illegal except for target shooting and people who hold concealed carry permits. Handguns are only allowed in .22, 9mm, .357mag and .38 calibre, which are the common sporting calibers. Concealed carry licenses are available, but are not normally issued unless you can prove a threat to your life.
The issue of firearms has, at times, taken a high-profile position in United States culture and politics. Mass shootings (like the Columbine High School massacre, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and Virginia Tech massacre) have continually ignited political debates about gun control in the United States. According to a 2012 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, 10% of Americans support banning all guns except for police and authorized personnel, 76% support gun ownership with some restrictions, and 10% support gun ownership with no restrictions. Michael Bouchard, Assistant Director/Field Operations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, estimates there are 5,000 gun shows annually in the United States.
In 1959, the Gallup poll showed that 59% of Americans supported banning handgun possession. In 2011, the Gallup poll showed that 26% supported banning handgun possession. In 1990, the Gallup poll showed that 78% of Americans supported stricter laws on gun sales than were existing at the time, 17% felt the laws were fine as they were, and 2% supported less strict laws. In 2011, the Gallup poll showed that 43% supported stricter laws on gun sales, 44% felt the laws were fine as they were, and 11% supported less strict laws. In 2001, the Gallup poll showed that 51% of Americans preferred that current gun laws be enforced more strictly. In 2011, it was 60%. A 2009 CNN/ORC poll found 39% favored stricter gun laws, 15% favored less strict gun laws, and 46% preferred no change. CNN reported that the drop in support (since the 2001 Gallup poll) came from self-identified independents and Republicans, with support among Democrats remaining consistent.
There is a sharp divide between gun-rights proponents and gun-control proponents. This leads to intense political debate over the effectiveness of firearm regulation.[verification needed] Democrats are more likely to support stricter gun control than are Republicans. In an online 2010 Harris Poll, of Democrats, 70% favored stricter gun control, 7% favored less strict gun control, and 14% preferred neither. Of Republicans, 22% favored stricter control, 42% favored less strict control, and 27% preferred neither.
In the same 2011 Gallup poll, 55% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents had a gun in their household compared to 40% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Of Republicans and Republican-leaners, 41% personally owned a gun. Of Democrats and Democratic-leaners, 28% personally owned a gun. Republicans are more likely to own guns, according to Joseph Fried's interpretation of General Social Surveys conducted in the last 35 years. He has also argued in the graphs below that gun ownership has generally declined.
Incidents of gun violence and self-defense have routinely ignited bitter debate. 12,632 murders were committed using firearms and 613 persons were killed unintentionally in 2007. Surveys have suggested that guns are used in crime deterrence or prevention around 2.5 million times a year in the United States. The American Journal of Public Health conducted a study that concluded "the United States has higher rates of firearm ownership than do other developed nations, and higher rates of homicide. Of the 233,251 people who were homicide victims in the United States between 1988 and 1997, 68% were killed with guns, of which the large majority were handguns." The ATF estimated in 1995 that the number of firearms available in the US was 223 million.
Some perceive that firearms registration– by making it easier for Federal agents to target gun owners for harassment and confiscation– constitutes an easily exploited encroachment upon individual personal privacy and property rights.
Fully automatic firearms are legal in most states, but have requirements for registration and restriction under federal law. The National Firearms Act of 1934 required approval of the local police chief, federally registered fingerprints, federal background check and the payment of a $200 tax for initial registration and for each transfer. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibited imports of all nonsporting firearms and created several new categories of restricted firearms. A provision of the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 prohibited further registry of machine guns manufactured after it took effect.
The result has been a massive rise in the price of machine-guns available for private ownership, as an increased demand chases the fixed, pre-1986 supply. For example, the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine-gun, which may be sold to law enforcement for about $1,000, costs a private citizen about $18,000. This price difference dwarfs the $200 tax stamp.
Political scientist Earl R. Kruschke states, regarding the fully automatic firearms owned by private citizens in the United States, that "approximately 175,000 automatic firearms have been licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (the federal agency responsible for administration of the law) and evidence suggests that none of these weapons has ever been used to commit a violent crime, with the exception of two, which were used by law enforcement officers."
On 26 June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court held that American citizens have an individual right to own guns, as defined by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court stated that an absolute firearm ban was unconstitutional. The Court further determined that its decision in Heller does not impinge upon all existing statutes and regulations, such as those that prohibit felons and the mentally ill from owning or possessing firearms.
Gun laws in Vietnam are generally referred to as restrictive. The only type of weapon Vietnamese citizens may own is a shotgun, and this is only after a license has been issued. The individual applying for the license must provide valid reasoning for wanting the shotgun such as hunting, and must be at least 18 years of age. Handguns and automatic weapons are prohibited.
||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (August 2010)|
Several studies have examined the correlations between rates of gun ownership and gun-related as well as overall homicide and suicide rates within various jurisdictions around the world. Martin Killias, in a 1993 study covering 21 countries, found that there were substantial correlations between gun ownership and gun-related suicide and homicide rates. There was also a substantial though lesser correlation between gun ownership and total homicide rates. A later 2001 Killias study, reported that while there was a strong correlation between gun-related homicide of women and gun-related assaults against women; this was not the case for similar crimes against men and that "Interestingly, no significant correlations with total suicide or homicide rates were found, leaving open the question of possible substitution effects." This study indicates correlation, but no causality. That is to say it could mean that the easier access to guns lead to more violence, or it could mean that larger amounts of violence lead to a higher level of gun ownership for self-defense, or any other independent cause.
A study by Rich et al. on suicide rates in Toronto and Ontario and psychiatric patients from San Diego reached the conclusion that increased gun restrictions, while reducing suicide-by-gun, resulted in no net decline in suicides, because of substitution of another method — namely leaping. Killias argues against the theory of complete substitution, citing a number of studies that have indicated, in his view "rather convincingly", that suicidal candidates far from always turn to another means of suicide if their preferred means is not at hand.
Opponents of gun control often state that past totalitarian regimes passed gun control legislation, which was later followed by confiscation, with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during World War II, as well as some communist states being cited as examples. They often cite the example of the Nazi regime, claiming that once the Nazis had taken and consolidated their power, they proceeded to implement gun control laws to disarm the population and wipe out the opposition, and the genocide of disarmed Jews, gypsies, and other "undesirables" followed.
Historians have pointed out, however, that the preceding democratic Weimar Republic already had restrictive gun laws, which were actually liberalised by the Nazis when they came to power. According to the Weimar Republic 1928 Law on Firearms & Ammunition, firearms acquisition or carrying permits were “only to be granted to persons of undoubted reliability, and—in the case of a firearms carry permit—only if a demonstration of need is set forth.” The Nazis replaced this law with the Weapons Law of March 18, 1938, which was very similar in structure and wording, but relaxed gun control requirements for the general population. This relaxation included the exemption from regulation of all weapons and ammunition except handguns, the extension of the range of persons exempt from the permit requirement, and the lowering of the age for acquisition of firearms from 20 to 18. It did, however, prohibit manufacturing of firearms and ammunition by Jews. Shortly thereafter, in the additional Regulations Against Jews' Possession of Weapons of November 11, 1938, Jews were forbidden from possession of any weapons at all.
Holocaust survivor, Abraham H. Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has stated in 2013: “The idea that supporters of gun control are doing something akin to what Hitler’s Germany did to strip citizens of guns in the run-up to the Second World War is historically inaccurate and offensive, especially to Holocaust survivors and their families.” The ADL states that there were probably only about 214,000 Jews in Germany in 1938, and they could not have stopped the Nazi "genocide machine." They claim that "Gun control did not cause the Holocaust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did."
Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union did not abolish personal gun ownership during the initial period from 1918 to 1929, and the introduction of gun control in 1929 coincided with the beginning of Stalin's rule.
Kopel has claimed that the Battles of Lexington and Concord, sometimes known as the Shot heard 'round the world, in 1775, were started in part because General Gage sought to carry out an order by the British government to disarm the populace. According to Harvey, this was not gun control but an act of war: the rebels had already formed a shadow government, were training militias, and tensions between them and the British colonial government were at the breaking point. In either case, Gage sent his troops to Concord to seize and destroy the rebel militia's military weapons depot, and to Lexington to capture two of the rebel leaders, Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
Widespread gun ownership in Iraq was a cause of concern to American military planners prior to the invasion of the country.
||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (April 2010)|
In an extensive series of studies of large, nationally representative samples of crime incidents, criminologist Gary Kleck found that crime victims who defend themselves with guns are less likely to be injured or lose property than victims who either did not resist, or resisted without guns. This was so, even though the victims using guns typically faced more dangerous circumstances than other victims. The findings applied to both robberies and assaults. Other research on rape indicated that although victims rarely resisted with guns, those using other weapons were less likely to be raped, and no more likely to suffer other injuries besides rape itself, than victims who did not resist, or resisted without weapons. There is no evidence that victim use of a gun for self-protection provokes offenders into attacking the defending victim or results in the offender taking the gun away and using it against the victim.
Kleck has claimed, in his own national survey, and in other surveys with smaller sample sizes, that the numbers of defensive uses of guns by crime victims each year are substantially larger than the largest estimates of the number of crimes committed of offenders using guns. However, surveys that ask both about defensive gun use and criminal gun use find that more people report being victims of gun crimes than having used a gun in self-defense. In a largely approving review of Kleck's book Point Blank (1991) in the journal Political Psychology, Joseph F. Sheley argues that Kleck sidesteps the larger political problem of the role of gun culture in contributing to the spread and effect of violence in the United States.
The economist John Lott, in his book More Guns, Less Crime, states that laws which make it easier for law-abiding citizens to get a permit to carry a gun in public places, cause reductions in crime. Lott's results suggest that allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms deters crime because potential criminals do not know who may or may not be carrying a firearm. Lott's data came from the FBI's crime statistics from all 3,054 US counties. Lott's conclusions have been challenged by other researchers. A University of Pennsylvania study, for example, found that people who carry guns are 4.5 times more likely to get shot than unarmed people.
The efficacy of gun control legislation at reducing the availability of guns has been challenged by, among others, the testimony of criminals that they do not obey gun control laws, and by the lack of evidence of any efficacy of such laws in reducing violent crime. The most thorough analysis of the impact of gun control laws, by Kleck, covered 18 major types of gun control and every major type of violent crime or violence (including suicide), and found that gun laws generally had no significant effect on violent crime rates or suicide rates. In his paper, Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do not, A study by Arthur Kellermann found that keeping a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of suicide. It is well known that suicide is more common in rural areas of the United States where gun ownership is more common. The higher suicide rates in countries such as Japan may be explained by cultural factors irrelevant to the issue of the relationship between guns and suicide in the US. University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt argues that available data indicate that neither stricter gun control laws nor more liberal concealed carry laws have had any significant effect on the decline in crime in the 1990s. While the debate remains hotly disputed, it is therefore not surprising that a comprehensive review of published studies of gun control, released in November 2004 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was unable to determine any reliable statistically significant effect resulting from such laws, although the authors suggest that further study may provide more conclusive information.
Forty U.S. states have passed "shall issue" concealed carry legislation of one form or another. In these states, law-abiding citizens (usually after giving evidence of completing a training course) may carry handguns on their person for self-protection. Some states, like Florida and Texas, only allow concealed carry, and only after obtaining a permit. Other states, like West Virginia, Virginia, Colorado and Pennsylvania, allow open carry without a permit as long as an individual satisfies the legal requirements to own a gun. However, to carry concealed in these states requires a permit. Other states and some cities such as New York may issue permits. Only Illinois and the District of Columbia have explicit legislation forbidding personal carry. Vermont, Wyoming, Arizona, and Alaska do not require permits to carry concealed weapons, although Alaska retains a shall-issue permit process for reciprocity purposes with other states. Similarly, Arizona retains a shall-issue permit process, both for reciprocity purposes and because permit holders are allowed to carry concealed handguns in a few places (such as bars and restaurants that serve alcohol) that non-permit holders are not.
Some people (who?) consider self-defense to be a fundamental and inalienable human right and believe that firearms are an important tool in the exercise of this right. They consider the prohibition of an effective means of self-defense to be unethical. For instance, in Thomas Jefferson’s "Commonplace Book," a quote from Cesare Beccaria reads, "laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
Gun control advocates argue that the strongest evidence linking availability of guns to injury and mortality rates comes in studies of domestic violence, most often referring to the series of studies by Arthur Kellermann. In response to public suggestions by some advocates of firearms for home defense, that homeowners were at high risk of injury from home invasions and would be wise to acquire a firearm for purposes of protection, Kellermann investigated the circumstances surrounding all in-home homicides in three cities of about half a million population each over five years, and found that the risk of a homicide was in fact slightly higher in homes where a handgun was present, rather than lower. From the details of the homicides he concluded that the risk of a crime of passion or other domestic dispute ending in a fatal injury was much higher when a gun was readily available (essentially all the increased risk being in homes where a handgun was kept loaded and unlocked), compared to a lower rate of fatality in domestic violence not involving a firearm. This increase in mortality, he postulated, was large enough to overwhelm any protective effect the presence of a gun might have by deterring or defending against burglaries or home invasions, which occurred much less frequently. The increased risk averaged over all homes containing guns was similar in size to that correlated with an individual with a criminal record living in the home, but substantially less than that associated with demographic factors known to be risks for violence, such as renting a home versus ownership, or living alone versus with others.
Critics of Kellermann's work and its use by advocates of gun control point out that since it deliberately ignores crimes of violence occurring outside the home (Kellermann states at the outset that the characteristics of such homicides are much more complex and ambiguous, and would be virtually impossible to classify rigorously enough), it is more directly a study of domestic violence than of gun ownership. Kellermann does in fact include in the conclusion of his 1993 paper several paragraphs referring to the need for further study of domestic violence and its causes and prevention. Researchers John Lott, Gary Kleck and many others dispute Kellermann's work.
Kleck showed that no more than a handful of the homicides that Kellermann studied were committed with guns belonging to the victim or members of his or her household, and thus it was implausible that victim household gun ownership contributed to their homicide. Instead, the association that Kellermann found between gun ownership and victimization merely reflected the widely accepted notion that people who live in more dangerous circumstances are more likely to be murdered, but also were more likely to have acquired guns for self-protection prior to their death Kleck and others argue that guns being used to protect property, save lives, and deter crime without killing the criminal accounts for the large majority of defensive gun uses.
In the United States view gun ownership is a civil right, where the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.
Some of the earliest gun-control legislation at the state level were the "black codes" that replaced the "slave codes" after the Civil War, attempting to prevent blacks' having access to the full rights of citizens, including the right to keep and bear arms. Laws of this type later used racially neutral language to survive legal challenge, but were expected to be enforced against blacks rather than whites.
The Dalai Lama said "If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." (15 May 2001, The Seattle Times) speaking at the "Educating Heart Summit" in Portland, Oregon, when asked by a girl how to react when a shooter takes aim at a classmate.
In several countries, such as Switzerland, firearm politics and gun control are partially linked with armed forces' reserves and reservist training. Switzerland practices universal conscription, which requires that all able-bodied male citizens keep fully automatic firearms at home in case of a call-up. Every male between the ages of 20 and 34 is considered a candidate for conscription into the military, and following a brief period of active duty will commonly be enrolled in the militia until age or an inability to serve ends his service obligation. During their enrollment in the armed forces, these men are required to keep their government-issued selective fire combat rifles and semi-automatic handguns in their homes. They are not allowed to keep ammunition for these firearms in their homes, however; ammunition is stored at government arsenals. Up until September 2007, soldiers received 50 rounds of government-issued ammunition in a sealed box for storage at home. Swiss gun laws are considered to be restrictive. Owners are legally responsible for third party access and usage of their weapons. Licensure is similar to other Germanic countries. In a referendum in February 2011 voters rejected a citizens' initiative which would have obliged armed services members' to store their rifles and pistols on military compounds, rather than keep them at home.
According to statistics available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of 30,694 firearm-related deaths in 2005, suicides accounted for 55 percent of deaths in the United States, homicides accounted for 40 percent of deaths, accidents accounted for three percent, and the remaining two percent were legal killings.
||This section has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. (July 2012)|
The importance of gun safety education has a mitigating effect on the occurrence of accidental discharges involving children. So much importance is not placed upon the vicarious liability case law assigning strict liability to the gun owner for firearms casualties occurring when a careless gun owner loses proper custody and control of a firearm.
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