How Japan has almost eradicated gun crime

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

The BBC naively explains how Japan has almost eradicated gun crime:

Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world. In 2014 there were just six gun deaths, compared to 33,599 in the US. What is the secret?

If you want to buy a gun in Japan you need patience and determination. You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95%.

There are also mental health and drugs tests. Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too — and even your work colleagues. And as well as having the power to deny gun licences, police also have sweeping powers to search and seize weapons.

That’s not all. Handguns are banned outright. Only shotguns and air rifles are allowed.

The law restricts the number of gun shops. In most of Japan’s 40 or so prefectures there can be no more than three, and you can only buy fresh cartridges by returning the spent cartridges you bought on your last visit.

Police must be notified where the gun and the ammunition are stored — and they must be stored separately under lock and key. Police will also inspect guns once a year. And after three years your licence runs out, at which point you have to attend the course and pass the tests again.

This helps explain why mass shootings in Japan are extremely rare. When mass killings occur, the killer most often wields a knife.

It’s quite reassuring that mass-killers there use other tools.

It’s also impressive how Japan’s gun-control laws keep Japanese-Americans from committing gun crimes. (Some estimates place Japanese-American gun crime rates even lower than the Japanese rate.)


  1. Graham says:

    I am reminded of Milton Friedman’s comment when some Scandinavian politician commented that in Scandinavia there was much less poverty than in America- “Well, we also have very little poverty among Scandinavians”.

  2. Lucklucky says:

    The BBC is not naive. The BBC is not a news organization. Such a thing does not exist, by the way. The BBC is a political organization.

  3. Graham says:

    Indeed. I have no idea if it’s true, but I was always convinced by the idea that Orwell based the Ministry of Truth on his work in the BBC.

    It’s not that I would have objected, as Orwell would, to a propaganda tool for the British Empire. But by his day that empire and the BBC for sure had started to turn into the beta version of the Cathedral.

  4. Calvin says:

    If you want to live in a safe community in the United States I am told to find a community where the predominant population is Japanese-American. For a long time the Chinese-American was the richest group in America but now supplanted by the Japanese-American ethnicity.

    Law-abiding citizens however are not all wealthy citizens.

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