March 5, 2024

The recent wave of mass shootings has led to intense discussions about gun control in the United States.

Seven people were killed and dozens injured on Monday Mass shooting at the Fourth of July Parade in Highland Park, Illinois. The attack comes on the heels of several other mass shootings in recent weeks, including in Buffalo, New York and Uvald, Texas.

One of the biggest questions being asked: How does the United States prevent this from happening over and over again?

Although the United States has no exact counterpart anywhere else in the world, some countries have taken steps that could provide a window into what successful gun control looks like. Japan, with a population of 127 million and the number of fatalities from the use of firearms rarely totaling more than 10, is one such country.

“Since guns came into the country, Japan has always had strict laws on guns,” said Ian Overton, executive director of Action Against Armed Violence, a British arms advocacy group, Tell BBC. “They’re the first country to enforce gun laws in the entire world, and I think that laid a solid foundation that guns don’t really play a role in civil society.”

Japan is a country with regulations on regulations

Japan’s success in reducing gun deaths is closely linked to its history. After World War II, pacifism emerged as one of the dominant philosophies in the country. Police did not begin to carry firearms until after US forces made them in 1946 for security. It is also written in Japanese lawas of 1958, “No person shall possess a firearm, firearm, sword, or swords.”

The government has since relaxed the law, but the fact that Japan has enacted gun control from a ban position is significant. (It’s also one of the major factors that separates Japan from the United States, as the Second Amendment widely allows people to own guns.)

If the Japanese want to own a weapon, they must attend a class all day, pass a written test, and achieve at least 95% accuracy during the shooting range test. Then they have to pass a mental health assessment, which is done in a hospital, and pass a background check, in which the government looks at their criminal record and interviews friends and family. They can only buy rifles and air rifles – no handguns – and every three years they must retake the class and the preliminary exam.

Riot police in Japan

Even Japanese riot police rarely resort to rifles, preferring instead long batons.

Toru Hanay/Reuters

Japan also embraced the idea that fewer weapons in circulation would result in fewer deaths. Each prefecture—ranging in size from half a million people to 12 million in Tokyo—can operate a maximum of three gun shops; New magazines can only be purchased by trade in blank magazines; And when gun owners die, their relatives must hand over the firearms to the deceased member.

The role of trust cannot be overstated

The result is a situation in which citizens and police rarely use or use guns.

Off-duty police are not allowed to carry firearms, and most encounters with suspects involve a mix of martial arts or strike weapons. When Japanese attacks become fatal, they generally involve fatal stabbings. In July 2016 striker 19 people were killed In an assisted living facility. Japan rarely sees a large number of gun deaths in an entire year.

Gun control in Japan, combined with the prevailing respect for authority, led to a more harmonious relationship between civilians and the police than in the United States. It’s a chicken-egg problem: the police, by choosing to use near-lethal force against people, generates a much less widespread fear among the public that they will be shot. In contrast, people do not feel the need to arm themselves.

Meanwhile, the United States has a more militarized police force that uses automatic weapons and armored cars. There is also less trust spread between people (and between people and institutions). Factors combine to produce a Lots of scary culture It can always seem on the edge of a cliff.

Japan’s approach may be a tough sell in the face of American gun culture, but it can provide a springboard for curbing the senseless violence that has become a hallmark of life in the United States.

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