July 4th, 2010 10:29 AM
Gun laws from around the World
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, but the application and enforcement has been inefficient. Gun licensing is required, but is generally treated as only a formality. There are background check requirements, but these requirements are typically not enforced unless a specific complaint has been filed, and then background checks are made after the fact. As is common in Japan, "regulations are treated more as road maps than as rules subject to active enforcement. Japan is still a very safe country when it comes to guns, a reality that has less to do with laws than with prevailing attitudes".
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 even contemplate acquiring is a rifle or shotgun. Sportsmen are permitted to possess shotguns or rifles for hunting and for skeet and trap shooting, but only after submitting to a lengthy licensing procedure. Without a licence, a person may not even hold a gun in his or her hands.
Gun ownership in the People's Republic of China outside of the military, police, and paramilitary is forbidden. Possession or sale of firearms results in a minimum punishment of 3 years in prison, with the maximum being the death penalty.
Gun Laws in Austria are more liberal than in the rest of Europe, guns are divided in 4 categories:
Category A - forbidden guns (pump action shotguns, full automatic rifles)
Category B - semi automatic weapons (most S/A rifles or carbines not specifically intended for hunting are considered implements of war, example: Ruger Mini 14 or even the Ruger Ranch Rife in all calibers), gooseguns (i.e. bolt action or otherwise repeating shotguns regardless of BBL length), one can buy/own a category B gun with the needed documents ("Waffenbesitzkarte - WBK")
Category C - break action guns and all repeating rifles (bolt, lever action, even pump action, up to but not including .50BMG) - all Austrian citizens over 18 can freely buy/own them, and own them - you just need to report the ownership to a licensed dealer or gunsmith within 6 weeks, he annotates this information in his books but is not required or expected to report it to any kind of registry
Category D - shotguns(non pump-action), everyone over 18 can buy them, no documents are needed.
According to Russia's gun laws, Russian citizens can buy smoothbore shotguns, such as Saiga 12, gas pistols, or revolvers shooting rubber bullets. Safe use of this arsenal for five years allows purchase of a rifle or carbine.
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. Up until September 2007, soldiers also received 50 rounds of government-issued ammunition in a sealed box for storage at home. In addition to these official weapons, Swiss citizens are allowed to purchase surplus-to-inventory combat rifles, and shooting is a popular sport in all the Swiss cantons. However Swiss gun laws are still stricter than in the US. Unlicensed persons are not permitted to carry weapons except under special certain circumstances such as travel to military training. Owners are legally responsible for third party access and usage of their weapons. Licensure is similar to other Germanic countries.
Firearm laws in Australia are enforced at a State level. The minimum age for any shooter is 12 years. To obtain a full firearm licence a person must pass a background check, a basic course of firearm safety and be at least 18 years of age.
For every firearm, a purchaser must obtain a Permit To Acquire. The first permit for each person has a mandatory 28 day delay before it is issued. In some states, such as Queensland, this is waived for second and subsequent firearms of the same class, whilst in others, it is not. For each firearm a "Genuine Reason" must be given, relating to pest control, hunting, target shooting, or collecting. Self-defense is not accepted as a reason for issuing a licence.
Handguns are only available to target shooting club members after a rigorous probation period. Since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, all semi-automatic longarms and pump shotguns have been almost completely banned. There is an on-going amnesty for those who surrender such weapons.
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