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Top 10 Countries With the Strictest Gun Laws

It’s extremely difficult or even impossible to receive a gun legally in these countries.

Top 10 Countries With the Strictest Gun Laws

Gun laws and gun culture in America is loud and turbulent. Many people, gun owners, and those without guns call for stricter gun control laws because many mass shootings have happened because of relaxed regulations. But there’s always an extremely vocal minority group that detests all gun control laws, and they always get their way. We may battle gun control laws in the U.S. for quite some time, but, in other countries, things are pretty settled, and their laws are quite strict. In this article, we will explore the top 10 countries with the strictest gun laws.

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10. Switzerland

Switzerland with alps and Lake Thun
Switzerland with alps and Lake Thun

Owning a gun in Switzerland might be a bit easier than in some other countries on this list, but there are dozens of laws about ammo, type of weapon you can own, when and where you’re allowed to shoot it, and where it can be stored. Citizens and ex-pats are not allowed to possess automatic firearms, semi-automatic firearms, or projectile hollow-point ammo. If you choose to own a gun, you must go through several background checks and personality tests. You need a dedicated space to store your ammo, and it cannot be in your home. If you do own a gun, you must store it in a gun cabinet in your home. You’re only allowed to shoot your weapon in the local shooting range. If you are caught possessing an illegal gun, you’ll be sent to prison for three years.

9. India

Aerial view of Jodhpur at Rajasthan, India
Aerial view of Jodhpur at Rajasthan, India

Gun laws and gun culture were first shaped by the British who ruled India and forced Indians to work for them. Indians were not allowed to own firearms or use them, but the British were. Even though the days of British ruler over and India is now its own free, independent country, gun laws and gun ownership have not increased in popularity.

You can own a gun in India, but it is incredibly hard, and now new regulations have been put in to restrict any gun owner to only one gun. You cannot possess a fully automatic weapon, and having a semi-automatic gun requires special licensing. For handguns, only certain types of firearms are allowed to be owned, and you must first take a gun class. You must renew all gun licenses every three years. If an Indian citizen is caught with an illegal firearm, they can be sentenced to 3 years in prison.

8. Japan

Japanese police officers in riot gear
Japanese police officers in riot gear

Gun crime and death by guns is unheard of in Japan, which has some of the top strictest gun control laws in the entire world. Not even cops have ready access to guns. To be considered to have a gun, you must take classes, take a written exam, and then take a shooting test and pass 95% or higher. After that, there are several other health and drug test you must take. While this is happening, the government is looking through your history for any connections to gangs. If you are able to pass all these tests, you must write in a detailed report on how and where you plan to use the weapon and also how the ammunition will be stored. All of these strict laws are monitored by the Japanese National Police Agency.

7. Vietnam

Downtown in Ho Chi Minh
Downtown in Ho Chi Minh

In Vietnam, the public is not allowed to own any gun except for a shotgun. It is not a right, and it is subject to extreme vetting and monitoring before and after you receive the firearm. Licensing and possession of guns are monitored by the Vietnam Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Security. If you wish to own a gun, there are several obstacles you must overtake. You must apply for a gun license, and you’re required to submit the reasoning why you wish to possess a firearm. After that, you must pass a background check, a criminal check, a mental health check, and a domestic violence check. If there is violence in your family, then you can be denied a gun license, even if the violence was not your fault.

6. South Korea

Downtown Seoul Korean
Downtown Seoul Korean

Hunters are allowed to own guns in South Korea. However, their weapons and their ammunition must be stored at a local police station. Even if you buy a toy gun, if the toy does not have an orange tip to signal that it is fake, you can be fined or sent to jail. If you don’t have a gun license and you were caught with a gun, you can face up to 10 years in prison. Not even soldiers are allowed to own guns outside of their military base. Even tasers and crossbows are seen as firearms, but regular citizens are allowed to have them with licensing. There are air rifles in South Korea, but they must also be stored at the local police station.

5. The U.K.

The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom

In 1998, there was a terrible mass shooting in which the shooter injured 11 people and killed himself. He was a legal firearm holder at the time, and this event has shaped the U.K.’s policies on gun possession. The U.K.’s gun laws have been shaped, so it discourages people from applying.

To apply for a gun, you must apply to the local police station. You must submit the reason why you wish to own a firearm and give character references so the police can interview your witnesses to learn about your mental state and your attitude and personality. You will there be checked for any drug abuse or alcohol abuse. At any time during the process, Social Services can contact the police and tell them you are a danger. Your application will then be denied.

4. China

China Seizes 10000 Illegal Guns In Weapons Raid
China Seizes 10000 Illegal Guns In Weapons Raid

China has some of the strictest gun policies in the world, and actively discourage people from trying to possess a gun. Since there are several dozen minority groups in China, some of them are allowed to own guns if they use them for a traditional reason. But in general, a private citizen is not allowed to own a firearm. Depending on the occupation, you can receive a gun if you are a hunter, a researcher, or police, but a regular citizen is not allowed to have a gun. The Chinese government sees guns as another way to bring violence and terror into neighborhoods in and homes.

3. Cambodia

Phnom Penh capital of Cambodia
Phnom Penh capital of Cambodia

Because of Cambodia’s intense and bloody history, guns are not looked upon favorably among the Cambodian people. You will not find support for a pro-gun movement in Cambodia anytime soon. Like China, Cambodian citizens are not allowed to own a gun privately. The department that regulates gun control is the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of the Interior. If you are caught owning a gun, and you are a citizen, you can be sent to prison for two years. Even crossbows, swords, tasers, and pepper sprays are strictly monitored by the government and cannot be held by just anyone. Citizens have also been arrested for electrofishing, as electric weapons are highly regulated.

2. Australia

Busy city life in Australia
Busy city life in Australia

In the last 15 years before the year 2000, Australia suffered through several mass shooting attacks that killed dozens and dozens of people. These killings would shape the gun control laws in Australia today. After the shootings, the government created a national buyback program in which more than a million firearms were collected from the public.

Today you can apply to own a gun, but there are several checks you must go through, and you must submit a legitimate reason why you want to own a firearm. You cannot include self-defense as a reason. Citizens are not allowed to own automatic or semi-automatic weapons, self-loading weapons, or shotguns. If you are caught illegally possessing a gun, you can be sent to prison for 20 years, depending on the type of gun that you had.

1. Singapore

Singapore skyline
Singapore skyline

Like Cambodia and China, Singaporeans are not allowed to own guns. The laws around gun possession are strict, and if you are caught illegally possessing a firearm, you can be sent to prison, and also you will be beaten with a cane at least six times. If you commit a crime while you have a gun on your person, you will receive an automatic death sentence, even if no one was killed or injured.

If you are a hunter, you are allowed to own a gun, but you must join a gun club and store your gun at the club, not in your home. And if you have two or more guns in your home, you will be considered an arms trafficker. You must also go through several background and personality tests. Even the police are vigorously tested if they discharged their gun.

What about America?

The Constitution may guarantee Americans the right to own and fire guns, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should get to owe one. U.S. lawmakers have to create strong gun control laws so that the number of mass shootings and killings that are aided by guns can be reduced. Many people say that it is not the gun that kills the person, but the person behind the gun, so we must create stricter laws that prevent dangerous people from owning firearms. Also, we must stop funding the NRA, which is a terrible pro-gun advocacy group. There are other ways to support your second amendment rights that don’t involve the NRA.

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