Japan looking to tighten already strict gun laws

Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP

The assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was going to send shockwaves throughout Japan. After all, despite their strict gun control policies, Abe was shot to death.


Granted, it’s unlikely any gun control would have stopped a guy who cobbled together a crude shotgun with pipes and tape, but it seems that Japan is going to consider trying to do so anyway.

Japan would consider possible regulation on handmade guns in the wake of former prime minister Shinzo Abe’s killing, said a government official on Tuesday.

There’s already a legal ban on owning firearms in Japan but authorities plan to look into any need to regulate handmade guns while examining the shooting that killed Mr Abe and similar incidents, chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news conference.

“We are aware that current regulations strictly restrict firearms, whether handmade or not,” he said.

The comments came as the assassination of the former prime minister in broad daylight last Friday shocked a world which has come to associate Japan with relatively low crime and strict gun control measures.

The country’s longest-serving prime minister, Mr Abe was shot in the back while he campaigned in the city of Nara ahead of Sunday’s upper house assembly election. He died at a hospital about five hours later.


Of course, what the gunman did was already illegal, so Japan is going to consider making it…what? More illegal?

The truth of the matter is that the killer did what he did in spite of the law, and it’s highly unlikely that new laws are going to change that. Again, as noted, there were already laws forbidding what he did in building those firearms, yet he did so anyway.

That’s the thing, though. The criminally minded will do what they want to do, regardless of the law. Japan’s strict gun control regulations only inhibit the law-abiding. Those who wish to assassinate political leaders will find a way to do precisely that.

Unfortunately, that means lawmakers–either in Japan or anywhere else, really–are completely unprepared as to how to address such a thing. They know they need to “do something” and do that something quickly, but there’s nothing meaningful they can do.

They also won’t stand up and say, “We already made all of this illegal already, yet here we are. Maybe we should recognize that these laws aren’t working as we intended and stop interfering with people’s right to arm themselves for lawful purposes.”


Not in Japan, anyway.

Yet it’s important to understand that even if the totality of Japan supports gun control, they’re still being stripped of their God-given right to keep and bear arms. The problem is that they don’t have a Second Amendment to protect that right, and following the assassination of Abe, they need that protection even more as lawmakers try to “do something” so as to appear to be responsible, but without any consideration for pesky things like what’s right.

Then again, it’s not like legislators here in the United States are any different.

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