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Gun Laws Around The World
Editor’s note, July 4, 2022: This story was originally published in 2018, and the statistics included may not be the most recent available. For the latest coverage of America’s gun violence epidemic,
Comparing Gun Laws And Gun Related Deaths Across America
A horrific mass shooting offers another tragic reminder of America’s gun problem: America has far more gun violence than its developed peers.
One reason for this difference is the abundance of guns in America. According to a 2007 survey, the United States leads the world in the number of firearms owned by citizens with 88.8 guns per 100 people, followed by Yemen, in second place, with 54.8 guns per 100 people. And research compiled by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Center for Injury Control Research has repeatedly found a link between higher gun ownership and higher levels of gun violence.
A common explanation for this is that the United States has some of the most lax gun laws in the world. But are American gun laws really that different from other developed countries?
I studied the issue, based on media reports, gun violence studies, national databases, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s analysis of US gun laws, and the Law Library of Congress’ reviews of gun laws in several developed countries. broke the rules of around the world.
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I find that America has the most relaxed gun control measures compared to other developed countries.
According to research, this is a major reason why America leads its developed peers in gun violence. A 2016 review of 130 studies in 10 countries was published in Epidemiologic Reviews
Found that gun violence decreased after new legal restrictions on gun ownership and purchase. This is a strong indication that limiting access to guns can save lives.
Here’s a guide to the gun control laws of some of the countries I visited: the US, UK, Canada, Switzerland and Japan, a mix of wealthy nations with similar and different cultural backgrounds.
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How Gun Control Works: There are many obstacles to buying a gun in the U.S., but generally existing laws, even the most restrictive state and municipal laws, have enough loopholes that most people can buy a gun without a problem. are
Some people are technically prohibited from buying guns. A minor (under 18 for rifles and shotguns, and under 21 for other weapons), convicted of a felony or sentenced to more than one year in prison, fugitive from justice, sick, The severely mentally ill, illegal users of controlled substances, people who have been convicted of domestic violence, and undocumented immigrants are some of the categories of people who cannot purchase firearms under federal law.
Certain types of weapons are also banned. Under federal law, fully automatic weapons are technically legal only if they were made before 1986, making it illegal to build new automatic weapons for civilian use. Automatic weapons also require more restrictions and registration than other weapons. Meanwhile, semi-automatic and non-automatic firearms are generally legal, except by state laws. And some states also ban high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Restrictions on buyers are usually assessed through background checks. Under the federal system, licensed dealers can sell a gun to someone before running those checks, usually the FBI’s checking of a person’s criminal record, mental health background and other factors. . If someone fails a background check, they cannot legally purchase a gun.
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The most popular way to avoid a background check is the private sales loophole: If a person buys a gun from a private seller, such as a friend or family member, a gun background check is not required. This is often mischaracterized as a gun show flaw, under the assumption that people can just go to a gun show and buy it without doing a background check. But licensed dealers at gun shows still have to do background checks. The real loophole is that a person can meet a private seller at a gun show (or increasingly, on the Internet) and buy a firearm from them without a background check. In other words, the gun show does not produce any flaws. Private seller does.
But an equally important problem is that the background check system is notoriously underfunded, understaffed and under-resourced, allowing red flags to fly. Although there is no waiting period under federal law, an inconclusive inspection can be extended up to three business days for further investigation. But those three days are the government’s maximum, and sometimes three days go by without the FBI completing the check, and the buyer, at that point, can buy the gun without a full check.
FBI admits something similar happened to Dylann Roof, who killed nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015: Roof admits to illegal possession of controlled substances Should have failed background check for gun purchase after doing. In the past, but the FBI examiner did not obtain the shooter’s registration in time.
The federal background check system also relies heavily on state reporting, including some mental health history and criminal record data. Because states have their own budget issues to deal with, or may be theoretically opposed to the idea of background checks, states’ failure to comply could create another way in which the system could Can’t stop someone who shouldn’t buy a gun. get one.
The Spillover Effects Of State Gun Laws
Of course, state laws vary widely. Some states ban and restrict certain types of firearms, especially assault weapons. Some require specific licenses, registrations or training to purchase and possess certain weapons. Many states ban or prohibit open carry, and many require a permit for concealed carry. Some require background checks and permits for private sales, and many rely solely on their own background checks rather than the federal system. And many states try to make it as easy as possible to buy, own, and carry any type of gun. (Slate has a good summary of the differences in state laws.)
Many gun restrictions have been limited by recent Supreme Court interpretations of the Second Amendment. For example, the court struck down a gun ban in Washington, D.C. in 2008, citing a person’s right to bear arms.
In general, studies have found that states with stricter gun control laws have fewer gun deaths, and that places—not just states, but cities and countries—with fewer guns have lower social and economic Gun violence declines after controlling for economic variables and other types of crime.
In general, gun laws in the United States are much more lenient than in other countries on this list. And even if your city or state is restricted, interstate travel is so easy that it’s very easy to go to another state to buy a gun, even if it violates some states’ laws. Several analyzes of places with restrictive gun laws (e.g., Chicago and Illinois or the “Iron Pipeline”) have found that this is the case in many cities and states, with guns typically coming from neighboring jurisdictions. Or surrounding areas relax gun laws. . Bottom line: If you want to buy a gun in America, there’s definitely a way to do it, regardless of your local laws.
What The Us Can Learn From Uk Gun Control
How gun control works: Canada keeps guns somewhat accessible to the general population, but maintains significant restrictions on the types of guns, who can buy them, and how they are bought. The result is a system that looks like a stricter version of America’s, so that some kind of firearm ownership is still possible, but not something that is done very easily.
Canada classifies weapons into three categories: Prohibited (most handguns with short barrels or .32 or .25 caliber, fully automatic weapons, sawed-off weapons, and certain military rifles such as the AK-47); restricted (some handguns, some semi-automatic rifles, and some non-semi-automatic rifles), and unrestricted (regular and some military-style rifles and shotguns). The general view is that more dangerous weapons face much stricter regulations and restrictions on purchasing, owning and storing them.
Prohibited weapons are, as the name suggests, prohibited, but those who obtained and maintained a certificate of registration before the ban took effect in December 1998 can possess those particular weapons. All restricted and restricted firearms must be registered, but after April 2012 unrestricted firearms do not need to be registered.
Generally, you must be 18 years of age or older to buy a gun in Canada. Some exceptions are for minors ages 12 to 17 who own unrestricted firearms, but only if a licensed adult is responsible for the firearm.
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Canada requires a license to own a gun and ammunition, and
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