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A gun law is a law that pertains to firearms. Restrictions on gun ownership and use vary greatly both by country and the type of firearm used.

The issue of gun law has become a political and/or controversial issue in many societies. There are many differing views on how gun laws should be set up in a society. A typical disagreement is over whether guns should be prohibited in the interest of public safety, or whether citizen gun ownership improves safety and should be allowed. This debate is fueled by black market sales of firearms, illegal firearm manufacturing, cross border purchases, witness intimidation, self defense as a right, use of deadly force in self defense, victims rights, accidental shootings, use of firearms in killing sprees, criminal use of firearms originally purchased legally, use of stolen firearms by criminals, hunting vs. self defense use, alternatives to firearms, etc.





Chinese citizens can purchase airguns which caliber are no larger than .177(4.5mm). [53771]

Czech Republic




Italian citizens don't have a constitutional Right to keep and bear arms, yet the right to possess firearms is granted by law and subordinated to the release of a license from Police authorities. The applicant for such license must be 18 years old or up, demonstrate to be capable to handle and use a firearm safely (condition which can be demonstrated either with a certification of non-dishonorable military discharge, or with a proper certificate released by a shooting range after a training course), not to have a criminal record, and not to be mentally ill or a known abuser of, or addict to, alcohol and illegal drugs; other obstative conditions include living with persons who may access the firearms and who may abuse of them (i.e., having family members who are mentally ill, alcoholic or drug-addicted).With any authorization, an Italian citizen can detain up to three common firearms, being most of handguns and all those long arms not categorized by law as "sporting" or "hunting" weapons; up to seven sporting firearms, being these all those firearms that have been specifically engineered and/or manufactured for competition shooting; and an unlimited number of Hunting firearms, being these all shotguns with a barrel longer than 30 cm and all rifles and carbines which have a barrel longer than 30 cm and fire an ammunition that has either a bullet of a caliber equal to 5,6 mm and a case no shorter than 40 mm, or an ammunition that has a bullet of a caliber superior to 5,6 mm and a case of any length (even shorter than 40 mm).Licenses do not specify the kind of firearms that can be obtained with them but the use that can be made of them; with a hunting license, to be mated with a specific hunting practice permit released by the Region of residence, citizens can purchase any firearm but carry (the Italian law defines carrying a firearm as having a firearm loaded and ready to use on the person, while any other kind of firearm carry is legally defined as transport) only hunting firearms during the season and in the areas where hunting is allowed. With a sporting license, citizens are allowed to transport (specifically unloaded and stored in a locked case) firearms only from their home to an authorized shooting range or to another safe place to practice shooting, which, in case of a private place, must be well away from roads and inhabited areas. A concealed carry license allows a citizen to carry a firearm (generally a handgun) on his person for personal defense; this is really hard to obtain, must be renewed yearly (while the other licenses are valid for 5 years), and requires the applicant to demonstrate to have a valid reason to carry a gun concealed, i.e., a dangerous occupation (typically a salesperson of sensitive goods such as jewelry).All licenses, however, authorize the holder to bring one's firearms to shooting ranges for target practice, and to use one's firearms for home or property protection. Another kind of license, the Firearms Collection license allows the holder to purchase unlimited numbers of any firearm, yet they have to be kept in a proper safe room and can not be used in any case, and no purchase of ammunition can be made for them.

Italian gun laws pose restrictions to the kind of firearms and calibers available to civilians. Full-automatic/select-fire firearms (machineguns), grenade launchers and destructive devices are forbidden; prohibited calibers include the 9mm Parabellum and all those ammunitions specifically engineered for military purposes (such as 5.7x28mm, 4.6x30mm, .50-BMG and up), while standard military calibers such as 5.56x45mm NATO and 7.62x51mm NATO are available in civilian loads and with civilian denominations (such as .223 Remington, .308 Winchester). Military-style semi-automatic firearms are normally available to license holders without any additional restriction.Restrictions to the capacity of firearms include a maximum capacity of 15 rounds for handguns (applied only since the year 2004), a maximum capacity of 5 rounds (sometimes 10 rounds or even more according to some specific case) for non-smoothbore long arms (rifles and carbines), while no nominal capacity limit for shotguns exists. Restrictions to the ownership of ammunitions include a maximum of 1500 shotgun shells and/or rifle/carbine cartridges, and a maximum of 200 rounds of pistol ammunitions, which can be elevated to 1500 if the license holder owns a hunting firearm (carbine) in such calibers. All limits can be exceeded purported than a proper license from the prefect is obtained.

According to a 2007 poll commissioned by the Italian consumers association Altroconsumo, the per capita gun ownership rate in Italy ranges between 8,7% and 10%.All firearms in private hands must be registered with the police offices of the town of residence within 48 hours from the purchase; in case of inability to do so, the time limit can be elevated up to one week if the owner can send within 48 hours a "pre-registration" to communicate to the police authorities the purchase of said firearm, in the form of an electronic document whose reception by the receiver can be certified (typically via fax or e-mail).


Gun culture in Pakistan refers to the long-standing tradition of owning and carrying guns among most people in Pakistan. The gun culture is linked to the "twin pillars of Pathan tribal society," melmastia—hospitality and badal—revenge. One of the centers of gun-manufacturing is the town of Darra Adam Khel, near Peshawar, which was historically known for manufacturing the Lee Enfield .303; however, the town now produces ordnance including the AK-47, the mini-Kalashnikov, and hand-held firearms, including the James Bond pen gun.

The North West Frontier Province (NWFP) is the smallest province of Pakistan with rugged and hilly terrain. Pashtun tribal feuds are common and guns are used both for protection and self-defense.

In the rural society Swat, the gun culture arose in part out of the traditional antagonism between a man and his tarbur (father's brother's son). According to Charles Lindholm:“The pervasive hostility between the sons of brothers led to the development of a network of alliances within every village that divided it across lineages into two approximately equal parties, called dulla. Every man belonged to the dulla opposite that of his tarbur. This division ramified throughout the (Swat) valley, so that all of the nearly one million inhabitants visualized themselves as members of one of two eternally warring parties. ”

Old customs and cultural norms also promote the gun culture. In NWFP, where the strong and tough Pashtuns reside, carrying a gun or a Kalashnikov is a sign of honour and respect. A gun is also considered to be the jewel of a man in N.W.F.P., thus the social necessity emerging as an intimidating component of provincial culture.

Pakistani citizens and special category of foreigners can legally own firearms. A license is required to purchase a firearm which involves payment of fees, a processing time ranging from a few days to months and registration of the firearm with the local authorities. Present laws allow ownership of handguns of any caliber (at one time this was restricted up to the .38). However, rifles above the .22 caliber are prohibited (excluding those which were bought before this restriction was imposed). Shotguns below 12 gauge are not allowed. A person may keep a firearm at his/her place of residence, in one's vehicle and concealed on person; public display is prohibited (though this law is honored more in the breach than in the observance, especially outside urban areas and in particular by private bodyguards of politicians). Special permits are required for carrying firearms during times when local authorities impose restriction on public gatherings to preempt civil unrest or protests that can turn ugly. In large cities, facilities exist for gun enthusiasts to practice shooting on targets, etc.

South Korea

In South Korea, it is a capital offense for anyone not related to military to own or distribute firearms.


Japan prohibits gun possession by citizens unless sporting or hunting which is limited to shotguns and rifles that are single shot (semi-auto and full auto are restricted to military and police). The gun owners are required to take a class once a year and pass a written test. Police will check on the owner once every 3 months during an unannounced visit, they will inspect the gun locker and proper storage of ammunition and the firearm.


Even though Article 10 of the Mexican Constitution declares the right to bear arms, it is currently illegal in Mexico for any civilian to own a fire arm of any caliber used, tested, or currently in use by the Mexican Government or Military.

This limits a citizen to legally own a .22 to .380 caliber rifle or similar firearm without a full-automatic firing system.

Ownership of any centerfire caliber designed for automatic or military rifles is forbidden.


Dutch gun law is typical of the Western European approach. Firearm possession is not subject to any constitutional protections, but regulated simply in the Arms and Ammunition Act (Wet Wapens en Munitie). Weapons, including firearms, are divided into four categories, and for each of the categories a certain maximum punishment is set for "voorhanden hebben" (possession), and "dragen" (carrying in public).

Only citizens who are members of hunting and shooting sports clubs may obtain licences for weapons. And even then they may only get a licence for category III weapons (sports weapons).

Firearm possession and use by the military and the police is not subject to Arms and Ammunition Act, but regulated separately.

Sale/Use is only for those age 18 or over.


New Zealand

New Zealandmarker gun law is covered by the Arms Act 1983 and the Arms Regulations 1992. In order to own a firearm, a person must obtain a firearms license. These are issued by the police and enable holders to own and use sporting rifles, shotguns and ammunition. In order to obtain a license, applicants must pass a test on 'safe and responsible firearms use, ownership, and storage'. They must also be a 'fit and proper person' to hold a license, based on a background check, and the license may be revoked for a variety of reasons. A special license is required by dealers, collectors, pistol club members, and owners of certain semi-automatic firearms. Less than 3% of all firearms owners have such endorsements and they must comply with much more stringent conditions than sporting firearms license holders. When not in use firearms must be locked in a secure rack and cabinet.



The only way for a civilian to own a firearm in Singapore is to acquire an Arm & Explosives license.[53772]

South Africa



Legal private ownership of firearms and ammunition is severely restricted in the Republic of Chinamarker. Aside from a few individuals licensed decades ago and shooting organizations sanctioned by the government, only Taiwanese aborigines may receive firearm permits.

With approval from the government, Taiwanese aborigines may build and possess up to two muzzle-loading black powder rifles per individual, or up to six rifles per household, for hunting and ceremonial purposes.

United Kingdom

United States

In the U.S., most federal gun laws are spelled out in one of the following:

In addition to federal gun laws, most states and some local jurisdictions have imposed their own firearms restrictions. The 'right to keep and bear arms' is a feature of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and by international standards there are few restrictions on possession of firearms.

See also


  1. New Zealand Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO) Guide to New Zealand firearms laws:

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