With the gun control debate raging in the United States, The Japan Times has an article by Jake Adelstein looking at how gun control works in Japan. Reportedly, gun laws are so strict that possessors can risk life in prison or even be charged "posthumously to publicly show that even the dead can't get away with breaking the firearms laws, and to shame his family."
"In Japan, no civilian is allowed to have a gun," he stated simply. "In order to prevent atrocious crimes using firearms, possession of small arms was banned in 1965, with strict penalties for violations of the law. As time has gone on the penalties have increased and every year we try to drive down the number of people owning guns."
Japan does allow the possession of hunting rifles and air guns (for sporting use), but the restrictions and checks are extremely strict.
"You have to bring your rifle in every year for inspection. You have to pass a drug test. You can't have a criminal record. A doctor has to certify you're mentally and physically healthy. You have to actually go to the firing range and show that you can use the weapon. If you have any sort of issue, we're going to take away your firearms," Detective X said.
"Sometimes, police officers even go to the neighborhoods where a gun owner lives and interview neighbors to make sure the owner isn't causing problems or having issues with his spouse," he added.
However, the focus is not only on ensuring gun owners don't misuse their weapons, but also on getting rid of what the police call nemuri-ju (sleeping guns).
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