How to buy a gun in 15 countries

Originally published at:



Those Yemenis must love freedom as much as us ‘Mercans.

But… make sure they can’t immigrate here.



And it seems the only reason it’s easier to buy a gun in Yemen is because they don’t actually enforce the laws about gun sales, which require buying only from a licensed dealer and registering with the authorities. The US basically has 3rd world lack of regulation when it comes to guns, with 3rd world infrastructure (legally mandated to be so) for background checks and registrations.


So for Germany it’s not that simple. (There are differences by federal states)

You can get a hunting licence, for that you have to an exam and courses which costs about 2000-3000€. And the licenece is valid for one year (renewing costs about 50-100€).
As hunter you can only have 2 handguns (which must be suitable for hunting), and one .22LR (with an additional licence and exam). You can have as many (semi-automatic) rifles as you want (which must be suitable for hunting). The rifles can only be used with 3 round magazines. For the actual hunting, you need the permit from the owner / leaseholder. You can buy/store unlimited amount of ammo.

Getting a gun as a sports shooter you have to be a shooting club member. You have to practice at least 12/18 times a year. And you can only buy weapons which the club has competitions for. And you can only buy a gun every 3 month or so. You can make your own ammo if you get a special licence. There are historical clubs for shooting (mini) canons (without canon balls).

Getting a collectors licence is really hard and you can mostly only collect weapons from a special period / kind (e.g. WW2 weapons). You can’t buy ammo (I think you can have old/special ammo but maybe it has to be unloaded)

And you can get weapons by inheritance, but then they need to be locked (trigger lock, barrel cable lock) wich you don’t geht the key for.

BB guns over 7,5 Joule are treated as rifles.

You can loos your licence by DUI, committing a crime or become mentally ill


Big caveat right in the first sentence (conveniently omitted by Mark):

Many states have additional buying restrictions, including waiting periods and expanded background checks. Roughly a third of American gun owners buy guns without a background check, which federal law does not require when buying directly from a private seller.

I live in New Jersey, and I can tell you from personal experience, that the process for purchasing a firearm is WAY more complex than the NYT article would have you believe. Even the parenthetical quoted above doesn’t do it justice.

And fwiw, I (and others of my acquaintance who own firearms in NJ) have no problem with jumping through these extra hoops. And I am also fine with adding a few additional meaningful requirements. But I submit that the 1994 AWB was essentially a meaningless ban on scary looking accessories that had no substantive impact on the criminal use of firearms in the US.


But can you just drive to a different state where the process is less complex?


You can, sure, but that doesn’t let you legally possess them in NJ.


Sure. And the minute you cross back into the Garden State with your new firearms, you have committed a felony (ok, NJ doesn’t actually call them “felonies,” but you get my point).

Take a look at this wiki:


2A advocates love to point to Israel and the seeming freewheeling abundance of firearms. In reality, it’s anything but.

Restrictions not mentioned in the NYT article: The age requirement is 21 (if you’ve completed military service), 27 otherwise. You have to renew your license every 3 years and undergo a psychological assessment every 6 years. Around 40% of applications for firearms permits are rejected.

And, after all this, permit holders may own one handgun.


It’s also worth noting the reason why Yemen is currently a lawless zone.


In Japan you don’t have to join a club first and it is not quite as difficult as it makes out, but basically it is accurate. Once you get your gun, there are annual inspections, and three-yearly written test, medical, safety test on the range and the police will check with your neighbors to make sure you do get on with people - all of which have to be paid for.


The Yemeni situation reminds me of the outdoor gun market scene in Black Hawk Down. Here’s video shot in the real gun market in Mogadishu 10 years ago:


I love how Russia adds a First Aid skill test to process.

That First Aid skills are waaaay more useful to everyone than gun skills in ANY situation.


Unrestricted freedom! Perhaps gun lovers should move to Somalia to live their dreams to the fullest.


I was doing a lot of driving in rural areas in Mexico in the early 1980s and my co-workers wanted me to get a carry permit for a pistol. I was a non-citizen resident working without the proper paperwork so it depended on them collecting some favors and knowing who was related to whom.

BUT, I still had to prove I knew what to do with it. I had to load it, unload it, clean it and then go down to the firing range and prove I could hit targets.

To clarify for Japan: after you’ve been through the process summarized there, you are allowed to buy a shotgun. Some years later after additional process similar to what is described minus a few steps you may be able to get a bold action rifle (I’m unclear on if semi-automatic rifles are ever pertmitted). The only people who ever are allowed to get pistols are really ex/current national police officers who use them for olympic pistol competition.

Above information is based on talking to the owner of a gun shop in Shibuya and reading the official pamphlets.

What if the AWB was redefined in terms of capability, not cosmetics. I’ve not read the AWB in detail, but I do hear a lot of “But it defined assault weapons as scary looking!” and it was easy to find loopholes.

By capability, I mean things like:

  • max rate of fire, semi-auto or manual (I’ll assume full auto is well-regulated already); if greater than x.x per second, is an Assault Weapon (AW)
  • can accept a quick-change magazine? If so, is an AW
  • onboard bullet/shell storage more than 5? If so, is an AW
  • looks like an army gun to the reasonable person (vs. a hunting rifle, for instance); If so, is an AW
  • has military features (camo finish, bayonet mount, flash suppressor?); if so, is an AW
  • etc

Could be a scoring system; answer “is AW” more than 50%, it’s an assault weapon. This would allow the high rate of fire feature count for more than the cosmetic features"

Could be modified by caliber: 0.3" or less, most of the above conditions are lifted. 0.3" to 0.4", a few conditions are listed. Above 0.4", all conditions are considered. This allows for farmers to control many varmints at at time (0.22cal with 30 rounds in a quick change magazine; while not harmless, the 0.22cal is such a small threat we’ll allow all the military stuff).

Big game hunters could have the big bullets, but only in a bolt-action, 5-round capacity, no quick-change magazine, etc. Something no mass shooter’s going to choose for his cop-assisted suicide. Besides, bolt action rifles are more accurate. And if you haven’t hit the moose on shot 3, you’ve missed and Bullwinkle is gone.

Perhaps stopping power would be a better metric, since a 0.22 and 0.223 are virtually same caliber but are very different in stopping power.

I suspect such gun control proposals will make some people’s head explode. Just tossing some ideas, mostly to see just how unreasonable this sounds out load.

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Seems like if you’re paying your neighbours, they’re likely say you’ re A-OK?

Sorry if I wasn’t clear about it. You have to pay the police to come and snoop around the neighborhood, checking out that you get on with people and that you don’t fight with your spouse. They also check the backgrounds of everybody else you live with to make sure that they arn’t likely try to use the gun.