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Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:24 PM

Even gangsters live in fear of Japan’s gun laws by Jake Adelstein [View all]

Last edited Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:00 AM - Edit history (1)

“You have to bring your rifle in every year for inspection. You have to pass a drug test. You can’t have a criminal record. A doctor has to certify you’re mentally and physically healthy. You have to actually go to the firing range and show that you can use the weapon. If you have any sort of issue, we’re going to take away your firearms,” Detective X said.

“Sometimes, police officers even go to the neighborhoods where a gun owner lives and interview neighbors to make sure the owner isn’t causing problems or having issues with his spouse,” he added.

However, the focus is not only on ensuring gun owners don’t misuse their weapons, but also on getting rid of what the police call nemuri-ju (sleeping guns).

“There are not many hunters left now and many people get too old to use their weapons. If they can’t fire them properly, they get taken away. The fewer guns that are out there, the safer Japan is. That’s how we look at it,” Detective X explained.

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Under current laws, if a low-level yakuza is caught with a gun and bullets that match, he’ll be charged with aggravated possession of firearms and will then face an average seven-year prison term. Simply firing a gun carries a penalty of three years to life. And for the “accomplice” reasons above, a yakuza boss may decide a death sentence is more appropriate if his thug miraculously gets released on bail before going to jail.

One mid-level yakuza boss told me, “Having a gun now is like having a time bomb. Do you think any sane person wants to keep one around the house?”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/01/06/news/even-gangsters-live-in-fear-of-japans-gun-laws/

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