There’s really not a lot to say about the latest and more horrifying gun tragedy that I haven’t said before. Honestly, I’d rather be talking about building the Death Star. It does feel like this sort of thing is happening at a quicker pace though. That being said, I thought it might be interesting to compare gun laws here in the U.S to those of another country.
Now the U.S is the most gun friendly place in the world. In fact, according to this chart gun friendly is a gross understatement. It may border on a gun obsession. Countries like Yemen are a distant second. But on the other end of the spectrum you have a country like Japan which has some of the strictest guns laws in the world. You can only legally own a shotgun or an air rifle in Japan. Getting those two items is no easy task. You have to jump through enough hoops to make an NRA member have an aneurism. According to a study cited in the Asia Pacific Law Review:
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. 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.
Is it any wonder why the U.S leads the world in homicides via firearm, while Japan’s murder rate is the second lowest in the world? For a little context the Atlantic published an article highlighting this disparity.
And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.
I’m going to say that again in case it hasn’t sunken in yet. In the U.S, the place with the least restrictive guns laws, we had over twelve thousand murders via gun. And in Japan, the place with the most restrictive gun laws, they had eleven murders via gun. That’s not a typo. Japan didn’t have eleven thousand murders. Nor did they didn’t have eleven hundred. Only eleven murders with a gun occurred in Japan. Think about that for a second. That means that almost twice the number of children were killed by firearm in a small town in Connecticut on Friday than in an entire year within all of Japan.
It’s difficult to make direct comparisons between nations. Japan is very different form the U.S on a lot of levels. But it’s clear that their gun laws have made a dramatic and positive impact. I know here in the U.S we take pride in leading the world in a bunch of categories. However, murder by firearm shouldn’t be on that list.
Categories: Politics Fix