Abe assassin went to mountains to test homemade guns

Katsuhiko Hirano/The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP, File

In the United States, if you want to build a gun, you can. If you want to test your gun, there are plenty of gun ranges where you can do so.

But Japan is different. They have very strict gun control laws and few gun ranges. Despite that, the man who assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe got around the gun laws by making his own gun, despite that also being against the law.


It also seems he found a place to test fire his creations.

The suspect in the fatal shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told investigators that he had test-fired his homemade guns about 10 times in mountains in Nara Prefecture, investigative sources said Sunday.

The Nara Prefectural Police Department suspects that Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, was manufacturing multiple guns while checking their power and performances.

Also on Sunday, the police conducted their third raid of Yamagami’s home in the city of Nara, confiscating items including clothes. The police will work to find any traces of gunpowder or chemical substances on the confiscated items.

According to the sources, Yamagami test-fired his guns in mountains in the prefecture on his days off to check whether they would actually work, how powerful they were and how the projectiles would fly.

He made improvements on his gun designs as a result of the testing, according to the sources.

So, in other words, not only did Japan’s strict gun control laws fail to prevent the assassin from building his guns, but they also failed to prevent him from testing them and making improvements as needed.

Yeah, sounds about right.

I’ve had plenty of people claim that we should somehow follow Japan’s lead on guns. I’ve argued that Japan isn’t a role model in this.

However, many who have advocated for Japanese-style gun control have been remarkably silent in the wake of Abe’s assassination. It’s almost likely their worldview just got shattered.


Meanwhile, we on this side of the debate have long argued that if a bad guy wants a gun, he’ll get a gun.

Japan is an island nation–several islands, to be exact–which means they have every advantage in gun control. Further, their closest neighbors also all have tough gun control laws. Again, every advantage.

So what does a would-be political assassin do? He just cobbles together some stuff he picked up at his local hardware store and went to work circumventing every gun control law on the books in Japan.

As a result of gun control’s failures, Shinzo Abe is dead.

Now, some in Japan are still mourning him while others are either relieved he’s dead or actively celebrating it–he’s no different than any other politician in that regard–but either way, he’s gone and the gun control laws that are supposed to protect every Japanese citizen from harm failed spectacularly in this regard.

How can anyone look at this and believe that such policies would work better here in the US, a country that has none of Japan’s geographical advantages?

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