Applicants first must go to their local police station and declare their intent. After a lecture and a written test comes range training, then a background check. Police likely will even talk to the applicant’s neighbors to see if he or she is known to have a temper, financial troubles or an unstable household. A doctor must sign a form saying the applicant has not been institutionalized and is not epileptic, depressed, schizophrenic, alcoholic or addicted to drugs.
Gun owners must tell the police where in the home the gun will be stored. It must be kept under lock and key, must be kept separate from ammunition, and preferably chained down. It’s legal to transport a gun in the trunk of a car to get to one of the country’s few shooting ranges, but if the driver steps away from the vehicle and gets caught, that’s a violation.
There are 120,000 registered gun owners and more than 400,000 registered weapons, yet the most current official statistics from 2011 show that 7 people were killed by guns while 9 were killed by scissors. Obviously Japan needs to enact a Constitutional Amendment outlawing the sale of scissors.
First, anyone who wants to get a gun must demonstrate a valid reason why they should be allowed to do so. Under longstanding Japanese policy, there is no good reason why any civilian should have a handgun, so – aside from a few dozen accomplished competitive shooters – they are completely banned.
Virtually all handgun-related crime is attributable to gangsters, who obtain them on the black market. But such crime is extremely rare and when it does occur, police crack down hard on whatever gang is involved, so even gangsters see it as a last-ditch option.
There is no good reason why a civilian should own a handgun.