National gun laws

The majority of small arms are in the hands of private individuals - worldwide, around 60% of guns are possessed by civilians. There is a strong correlation between firearms ownership and gun death rates, especially for handgun ownership, as handguns are concealable and so commonly used in crime.

In 2006, the UN sub-commission on human rights endorsed principles to prevent human rights abuses by civilians with guns. Many countries regulate:

- types of weapons permitted. For example, prohibiting fully automatic weapons, or semiautomatic rifles. Given their use in crime, some countries also prohibit civilian possession of handguns.

- users of guns. Licensing the users of guns might involve requiring users to prove they have a genuine need of a firearm, also background checks to investigate whether the user is likely to be a risk to themselves or others.

- uses of guns. For example, prohibiting carrying or firing guns in a  public place.

Essential to enforcing the above regulations is firearm registration, linking every weapon to its last legal user and so identifying any point of diversion. This is part of a marking and tracing requirement.

Últimas noticias

Since 1994 in the US, over 1.9 million applications to buy a gun have been refused due to the applicant’s failure to pass criminal background checks, according to a new report by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Gun Free South Africa applauds a High Court decision confirming that the National Firearms Act is constitutional and that the state does not have to pay compensation for voluntarily surrendered guns.

According to an inquiry initiated by the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs, changes in gun laws are necessary to prevent future mass shootings. 

Gun Free South Africa (GFSA) welcomes a new government strategy to deal with challenges facing the South African firearms registry, launched in Pretoria on 2 November.

In New Zealand, police welcome a change in the law which means people must have a license to own pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles.

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