Citation(s) from the Gun Policy News media archive

A Look at Thailand's Fervent Gun Culture

Deutsche Welle

19 February 2016

Relevant contents

[A]ccording to Thailand's Interior Ministry, there are currently more than six million registered guns in a country with a population of 66.7 million - meaning that about one in ten people in Thailand legally own a gun…

Legal weapons

Owning a firearm in the Southeast Asian country has been legal since 1947. However, only licensed gun owners may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition. And the Act Controlling Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, Fireworks and Imitation of Firearms only allows for people to obtain licenses to own guns for purposes of self-defense, protection of property, sports or hunting. Applicants must be at least 20 years old and pass a background check which considers personal conduct, living condition, income and criminal records.

Licenses are also needed for owning firearms as keepsakes…

Easily available guns

However, not all Thais go through the legal channels to get their hands on a gun…

Siegfried Herzog, head of the regional office of the German foundation Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung in Bangkok…"Some of these firearms were smuggled across the border. Others were imported for the police or military but then somehow found their way into private hands," he told DW. In fact, experts claim that military, police and paramilitary officials not only have easy access to such weapons, but have also been known to sell these to non-state officials…

'No one has taken responsibility'

As for the state's handling of the situation, experts point out that it has "occasionally" ordered the surrender of handguns and rifles, threatening legal action, but stress that such orders have not been consistently implemented all over the country…

[E]nhancing the national gun registration laws, introducing so-called ballistic gun data and a more thorough system to fight the organized crime syndicates, especially in the central province of Uthai Thani, are viewed as essential measures to effectively tackle the issue…

ID: N441

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