Here’s how it works in Japan.
If you want to apply for a
permit to shoot and own a gun (there are no rentals), you must first
attend a class on gun laws and gun safety, then pass a written test.
submit all of the paperwork — including your family, work and
educational background, and a medical certificate declaring that you’re
not depressed or an alcoholic, among other things — to the police, who
will also check out your criminal record and look into whether you’ve
had any domestic or neighborhood disputes. A police officer will visit
your home to see where and how you intend to store your equipment.
Then you must attend a full-day training course where instructors
teach basics such as etiquette at shooting ranges, how to handle guns
and how to hit a target.
If you pass the shooting test, you can
apply for a permit. Once it is issued, you can go to buy a gun, then
take it to a police station for inspection and registration. Only the
registered person can fire that gun.
The permit is valid for three years. To renew it, a gun owner must enroll in a refresher course and pass a practical test.
would you keep your gun? In your gun locker, of course, which
regulations stipulate must be affixed to the wall, have three locks on
the outside and a metal chain on the inside to run through the trigger
Your ammunition will of course be kept in a separate, locked safe,
per regulations, and you will probably keep the bolt in a yet another
safe. This last part is just an advisory to make sure the gun is fully
disabled, but almost all Japanese comply.
“This is probably our
national character, but people seriously follow the laws and keep their
guns and bullets according to the regulations,” said Toshiaki Okazaki,
an inspector in the community safety department of the Kanagawa
Prefectural Police, which incorporates Isehara.
Okazaki said he
had never found a gun owner who was storing his equipment incorrectly.
“How they keep guns at home is actually one of the most strictly
monitored parts of the process,” he said.
Think such rules sound excessive? Not here, they don’t. In Japan, even the gun enthusiasts are in favor of such restrictions.