Piping-In on the Gun Issue

Piping-In on the Gun Issue

Perhaps the 237 year-old America could learn a thing or two from the 3000 year-old Japan, a place where shooting deaths are extremely rare …

Handguns are illegal in Japan. Citizens can, however, possess rifles, though the process of acquiring one is arduous. Here’s what the Japanese government put my father-in-law through in order to obtain a rifle, something he needed for protection from bears foraging on his family-owned mountain.

1) Submit an application to the local police department inclusive of name, date of birth, address, phone number, and purpose of owning gun along with a fee of 6800 yen ($80.00 +-);

2) Attend a one day lecture given by the local police department covering the law of citizen ownership of guns, how to store guns, and the danger of guns;

3) Take a written exam on the details of the police lecture;

4) Upon successfully completing the exam, my father-in-law visited a gun store, selected the rifle he wished to purchase, completed a background information form, and paid a deposit. Before he could take possession, however, the store sent his background information to a medical doctor who gave my father-in-law a physical and a mental-health exam. In addition, the doctor asked my father-in-law to provide information on the mental-health history of his family;

5) Following the doctor visit, my father-in-law was invited to a ‘police interview’ wherein details of the doctor’s exam were discussed along with the payment of a fee of 9000 yen ($100.00 +-);

6) Upon being deemed ‘responsible’ by the police, an officer visited my father-in-law’s house to determine the appropriate place to store the gun;

7) The police department issued a permission statement and a license thus enabling my father-in-law to take possession of the gun he selected;

8) Once every six months, police officers visit my father-in-law’s house to insure the gun is stored lawfully;

9) Since taking possession of the gun, my father-in-law has been required to attend an annual police department lecture, detailing up-to-date standards on gun safety, storage, and personal responsibility.

Though the time frame for the application process can take several years, my father-in-law was able to take possession of his rifle in only eight months (perhaps his family living responsibly in the same location for more than 600 years played a role …). With regard to the foraging bears on my father-in-law’s mountain, he happily reports no incidences involving his rifle. But then again, for the 600 plus years the mountain’s been in his family, no one has reported bear attacks. Should that change, my father-in-law will be ready with his rifle in his hands, and the law on his side.

D. B. Guidinger © All Rights Reserved 2013