Overview of gun laws by nation  

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Gun laws and policies (collectively referred to as firearms regulation or gun control) regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification and use of small arms by civilians.

Laws of some countries may afford civilians a right to keep and bear arms, and have more liberal gun laws than neighboring jurisdictions. Countries which regulate access to firearms will typically restrict access to certain categories of firearms and then restrict the categories of persons who may be granted a license for access to such firearms. There may be separate licenses for hunting, sport shooting (Template:A.k.a. target shooting), self-defense, collecting, and concealed carry, with different sets of requirements, permissions, and responsibilities.

Gun laws are often enacted with the intention of reducing the use of small arms in criminal activity, specifying weapons perceived as being capable of inflicting the greatest damage and those most-easily concealed, such as handguns and other short-barreled weapons. Persons restricted from legal access to firearms may include those below a certain age or having a criminal record. Firearm licenses may be denied to those felt most at risk of harming themselves or others, such as persons with a history of domestic violence, alcoholism or substance abuse, mental illness, depression, or attempted suicide. Those applying for a firearm license may have to demonstrate competence by completing a gun-safety course and show provision for a secure location to store weapons.

The legislation which restricts small arms may also restrict other weapons, such as explosives, crossbows, swords, electroshock weapons, air guns, and pepper spray. It may also restrict firearm accessories, notably high-capacity magazines and sound suppressors. There may be restrictions on the quantity or types of ammunition purchased, with certain types prohibited. Due to the global scope of this article, detailed coverage cannot be provided on all these matters; the article will instead attempt to briefly summarize each country's weapon laws in regard to small arms use and ownership by civilians.

Vocabulary and terminology

Firearms are not defined the same way in each country.

Those laws might be classified by countries according to some specific common characteristics:

  • Yemen and the majority of U.S. states do not require any permit for acquisition of a majority of types of firearms, meaning that any non-prohibited person can buy them from licensed dealers.
  • Some countries including Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are partially licensed meaning that any non-prohibited citizen can buy repeating rifles and break-action shotguns from licensed dealers and a permit is only required for handguns and semi-automatic firearms.
  • Some countries allow firearm ownership without a good reason or with simple declaration of reason. For example in Austria while law requires good reason to acquire license for handgun, self-defense at home is accepted as a good reason. Canada and New Zealand do not require good reason for acquisition of most types of long guns but require for restricted weapons like handguns.
  • Some countries require good reason for firearm license. In some like Poland or Malta list of good reasons and conditions that must be met is explicitly stated in the law while in others like Kenya or United Kingdom law does not specify what constitutes a good reason leaving it at discretion of authorities. In some countries like China, Japan and Myanmar only very limited number of people are allowed to own firearms and few licenses are issued;
  • In a few countries, including Cambodia, Eritrea, and the Solomon Islands, ownership of firearms by civilians is completely prohibited.


See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Overview of gun laws by nation" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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