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Gun Control or People Control? 15 Countries with the Most Restrictive But Effective Gun Laws

Gun Control Countries
Image Credit: United Liberty

Using data from the World Population Review, we created our list of the top 15 countries with the most effective gun control. This data includes the firearm-related death rates for each country, measured per 100,000 people. We used this death rate as a way to gauge the effectiveness of gun control, as countries with lower rates of gun deaths tend to have stricter gun laws.

In cases where countries had the same death rates, we considered population size to determine their ranking. Countries with larger populations were ranked higher, recognizing that effective gun control in these countries requires more extensive efforts due to their larger number of people.

Now, let’s proceed to our list of the 15 countries with the most restrictive but effective gun control in the world.

15. Maldives

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.39

Maldives ranks 15th in terms of restrictive gun control. In Maldives, people can own firearms for self-defense, sports shooting, hunting, professional use, and collecting historical firearms.

The law allows individuals to have handguns for personal protection and firearms for sports shooting. Also, law enforcement officers, security personnel, and firearm collectors are permitted to own specific types of firearms for their respective roles.

14. Tajikistan

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.38

The Tajikistan government maintains stringent regulations and penalties to control the possession and use of firearms within the country. Offenses related to firearms can result in severe consequences, such as up to 25 years of imprisonment for using a firearm to commit a crime and up to 10 years for engaging in illegal firearms trafficking.

Public sentiment regarding gun control in Tajikistan is diverse, with some favoring strict measures to prevent crime, while others advocate for the right to possess firearms. Law enforcement agencies carry out routine inspections to verify adherence to gun regulations, a practice that has elicited both commendation and criticism from the public.

13. North Korea

North Korea
Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.35

North Korea has stringent regulations regarding firearms, allowing them only for official purposes such as security and training. The possession, transfer, loan, smuggling, destruction, and unauthorized production of firearms are strictly prohibited for institutions, businesses, groups, and the general public. Violations of these regulations are met with severe administrative and criminal repercussions.

12. Mauritius

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.31

Mauritius is a country that has a history of peace, devoid of violence, armed conflict, or widespread weapons proliferation since gaining independence in 1968.

Transitioning from its agricultural roots to an industrialized nation, Mauritius does not partake in the international manufacturing, trading, or export of weapons and ammunition and has low rates of gun ownership and crime. In 2012, the discovery of an arms-trafficking network led to the implementation of stricter firearm regulations, resulting in minimal arms flow through the country.

11. Poland

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.28

Upon obtaining a license, individuals in Poland are provided with a specific number of permits to purchase firearms. While it is feasible to increase this allocation, that aspect is not the focus of the current discussion.

Notably, registering pistols under a sporting license permits individuals to carry them concealed and loaded for regular use, offering a more convenient alternative to obtaining a permit for self-defense purposes. According to Polish law, individuals have the right to defend themselves using any necessary means to protect their life and well-being, stipulating that the defense must be proportional to the threat.

10. Qatar

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.26

In Qatar, strict laws govern the possession and use of unregistered firearms. Carrying a weapon without a valid reason can lead to imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to QR 5,000, or both. Similarly, firing guns or setting off fireworks in unauthorized areas can result in the same penalties. Although firing a licensed firearm in isolated areas is allowed, it is discouraged due to safety considerations. Individuals in Qatar must acquire a license from the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to possess a firearm.

9. United Kingdom

United Kingdom
Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.24

The Firearms Act of 1968 in the UK consolidated all existing firearms laws into one comprehensive statute. It mandated that applicants for Firearms Certificates demonstrate good character, provide a valid reason for firearm possession, and ensure secure storage for weapons.

The introduction of the Shotgun Certificate offered a less stringent licensing option for shotguns, without the necessity of a specific reason or storage regulations. This legislation governed gun control in the UK until the Hungerford massacre in 1987. Subsequent Acts, including the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 1988 and the Firearms (Amendment) Acts of 1997, imposed further restrictions on firearms following incidents such as the Dunblane tragedy and effectively banned civilian handgun ownership in the wake of these events.

8. Brunei

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.22

In Brunei, owning a gun is allowed, but obtaining a firearm license involves strict procedures. The government imposes rigorous regulations on gun ownership, possession, and usage. Private individuals are permitted to possess firearms only for sporting and hunting activities, with self-defense not considered a valid reason for firearm possession.

7. Fiji

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.21

In Fiji, owning a gun is legal but necessitates a firearms license from the Fiji Police Force. To acquire this license, individuals must be at least 21 years old, pass a background check, and present a valid reason for gun ownership, such as sport shooting or self-defense.

Semi-automatic and automatic firearms are prohibited for civilian ownership. Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is illegal, and storage regulations require secure locking when the firearm is not in use. Violating gun laws can result in severe consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and license revocation.

6. Taiwan

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.21

Recently, Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan passed revisions to the Controlling Guns, Ammunition, and Knives Act, imposing harsh penalties for using various firearms, including replicas, in public spaces.

The new law stipulates a minimum seven-year prison sentence and fines of up to NT$15 million for discharging a standard firearm in public or accessible areas. These amendments, proposed by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), were implemented following confiscating modified guns associated with incidents causing harm.

5. Romania

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.16

In Romania, stringent regulations govern gun ownership. Only air-soft replicas and bows can be acquired without paperwork or registration. All other firearms, including black powder weapons, crossbows, and airguns, necessitate a license and registration.

Although there are no restrictions on barrel length or caliber, the number of guns owned per license is limited, and most procedures involve a 30-day waiting period. Basic requirements for obtaining a firearm license include a medical check, psychological evaluation, criminal background check, possession of a gun safe at home, and completion of a gun course, which includes daily classes, a written test, and a shooting test with a cost of around $300.

4. Uzbekistan

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.16

In Uzbekistan, the government closely regulates gun ownership and usage to uphold public safety and prevent gun violence. Strict laws govern the possession, purchase, and carrying of firearms. Only Uzbek citizens aged 18 or older are allowed to own and use guns, and they must possess a valid license to do so.

3. Indonesia

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.16

Indonesia maintains strict gun laws to regulate firearms possession and usage. Violations include carrying a firearm without a valid license (punishable by up to 20 years in prison), using a firearm for criminal activities (entailing a life sentence or the death penalty), illegal import/export (punishable by up to 10 years in prison), and manufacturing/modifying firearms without a license (punishable by up to 15 years in prison). These severe penalties are aimed at preventing illegal gun activities and enhancing public safety.

2. South Korea

South Korea
Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.09

South Korea has some of the strictest gun control laws globally, with heavy government regulation on the possession, manufacturing, import, and export of firearms. Despite a population of over 51 million, the country has just 134,000 registered firearms, maintaining a low gun ownership rate of 0.26 firearms per 100 people.

Gun control measures in South Korea include stringent background checks, mental health evaluations, and a requirement for applicants to demonstrate a legitimate reason for owning a firearm, such as sports shooting or hunting. Only individuals meeting these stringent criteria are granted licenses to possess non-automatic rifles and shotguns.

1. China

Image Credit: United Liberty

Firearm-related death rate: 0.08

In China, private gun ownership is severely restricted, with civilians generally prohibited from owning firearms. The government maintains strict control over gun possession, sales, and use to safeguard public safety and social order. The country’s gun laws aim to reduce the likelihood of gun-related crimes by ensuring that firearms are primarily in the hands of law enforcement and military personnel. In rare cases, individuals may receive permission to own guns for hunting or sports shooting purposes, but such approvals are rare and subject to stringent regulations.

Conor Jameson
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