Citation(s) from the Gun Policy News media archive
Easy Guns Bring Wild West Mentality
18 November 2012
…SMUGGLED ARMS RACE
With firearm crime on the rise and the amount of illegal locally produced and smuggled weapons growing, there are concerns that a programme giving officials discounts in the name of self-protection is worsening the situation
From January, 2007, to September, 2012, Customs Department officials seized illegally imported firearms worth more than 35 million baht. In 2010 alone, the value of seized firearms was about 19 million baht. Most were handguns, but about 1,000 rifles worth seven million bath were seized at Laem Chabang sea port in Chon Buri province. It is believed that the amount of seized firearms is small compared to the number that are successfully smuggled and circulated on the market.
There is a controversy over what should be done with the seized firearms. Normally, the Customs Department would sell them to government officials and the general public. But complications arose four years four years ago when officials under the Interior Ministry refused to register them because they were illegally imported. The Office of the Council of State has ruled that the Customs Department must coordinate with the Interior Ministry in selling the seized guns, and that they can be sold either to registered gun shops or to any individual who has already received a permit to purchase a gun from the Interior Ministry.