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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Gun Possession in Thailand: Regulation, Enforcement, Black Market

Up to now few years, Thailand has skilled three horrendous mass shootings. A soldier of the Royal Thai Military dedicated the primary, in 2020. He killed 30 folks and wounded 58 others earlier than he was ultimately shot and killed (1).

In 2022, the Nong Bua Lamphu nursery bloodbath claimed the lives of 36 folks, together with 22 kids. It’s the deadliest mass homicide by a single perpetrator within the trendy historical past of Thailand. The perpetrator was a former police sergeant and drug addict (2).

In 2023, a capturing occurred on the well-known Siam Paragon mall. A 14-year-old boy with a historical past of psychological sickness killed two folks and injured 5 others. Publish the capturing, police discovered an arsenal of weaponry in his room (3).

Consequently, Thai police arrested 4 males suspected of illegally promoting modified firearms to {the teenager}. The boys additionally had unlawful firearms, instruments to change pistols and narcotics of their possession. Through the raid, police additionally discovered livestreaming tools, suggesting that gross sales occurred on social media.

As well as, incidents involving disputes and suicides are often reported by the media.

The aforementioned horrific crimes have broken public confidence in gun possession legal guidelines and left many questioning simply how simple it it’s to pay money for a license, or purchase a gun illegally on the black market.

Firearm Possession in Thailand

Thailand has stringent legal guidelines governing the possession and use of firearms. In line with the Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, Fireworks, and Imitation of Firearms Act B.E. 2490 (1947), people are prohibited from proudly owning firearms until they get hold of a correct license from the authorities. This legislation applies to each Thai residents and foreigners (particular circumstances) residing within the nation.

Nevertheless, whereas Thais can legally buy and register firearms with a background test, gun possession lacks substantial rules. As soon as granted a gun allow, it stays legitimate indefinitely with out the necessity for renewal.

This atypical method to gun possession, distinct from many different Asian nations, seemingly contributes to the proliferation of firearms in Thailand.

Thailand grapples with a better incidence of mass shootings and gun violence in Southeast Asia for a number of causes. Accessibility to firearms is notably simple for navy and police personnel, even off-duty or after leaving service. Former members, no matter psychological well being issues, can purchase weapons by authorities channels, contributing to the prevalence of weapons (4).

The dominion additionally contends with a thriving black market, additional rising the provision of firearms, and its proximity to a neighboring nation embroiled in civil battle exacerbates the state of affairs.


1. Thai Residents

Thai residents are eligible for gun possession beneath sure situations. They have to be at the very least 20 years previous, have a respectable purpose for proudly owning a firearm (equivalent to self-defense, sport capturing or skilled use), and go a background test. Prison data or a historical past of psychological sickness can and normally do disqualify candidates.

2. Foreigners

Foreigners residing in Thailand are typically prohibited from proudly owning firearms. There are very restricted exceptions, equivalent to diplomats and representatives of international governments.

3. Safety Personnel

Licensed safety personnel are allowed to hold firearms as a part of their career, however these people are topic to thorough background checks and coaching necessities.

Kinds of Firearms

The kinds of firearms out there to the general public are strictly managed. Handguns are extra simply licensed and accessible than rifles or shotguns, and the sale of computerized or semi-automatic weapons to civilians is prohibited.

Acquiring a License

  • Software: Those that meet the eligibility standards should submit an utility for a firearms license to the native police station.
  • Background Examine: Authorities conduct an intensive background test, together with prison and psychological well being evaluations.
  • Coaching: Candidates should endure coaching to make sure they’ll deal with firearms safely.
  • Storage and Use: Firearms have to be saved securely when not in use. Homeowners should additionally adhere to strict rules relating to the transport and use of their firearms.

Capturing Ranges

In Thailand, capturing ranges are authorized and controlled. They’re licensed as managed environments for capturing follow, coaching and leisure capturing.

Ranges function beneath the purview of presidency authorities such because the Royal Thai Police. These authorities oversee the issuance of licenses for capturing ranges and the usage of firearms inside them.

Capturing ranges are typically open to the general public, each residents and vacationers, who want to expertise capturing sports activities or follow marksmanship. Customers usually want to satisfy sure standards, equivalent to being of authorized age and never having a prison report.

Overseas vacationers may also go to and use these ranges, offered they meet the mandatory {qualifications} and adjust to the related rules. In actuality, nonetheless, capturing ranges geared toward (no pun supposed) vacationer experiences are simply accessible by all who apply. It’s merely unattainable for the vary to precisely test each attendee’s medical and prison historical past.

Certainly, capturing ranges in vacationer areas have seen numerous suicides over time. In 2015, a British man shot himself on the Thalang vary on Phuket (5). In 2022, a British serviceman shot himself at a Pattaya vary (6). In 2023, a Belgium nationwide shot himself on the Sai Yuan capturing vary in Phuket (7).

It is not simply at gun ranges the place international nationals can pay money for weapons. Through the years there have been numerous expats arrested for unlawful gun possession. In 2023, a New Zealander dwelling on the island of Koh Samui was arrested after he was discovered with 26 weapons together with an AK and M16 gun (8).

Enforcement & What Now?

Violations may end up in extreme penalties, together with imprisonment. Nevertheless, enforcement clearly is not working. The nation is awash with weapons, largely as a consequence of on-line gross sales the place sellers use authorized loopholes by promoting “clean weapons”, that are then transformed into dwell firing weapons. As well as, weapons are smuggled by neighboring nations.

Motion is being taken. Jakkapong Sangmanee, the deputy international minister, not too long ago introduced, “The digital ministry will likely be shutting down web sites promoting clean weapons.” Authorities deputy spokesperson, Karom Phonphonklang, added, “The federal government plans to ban imports of clean weapons, BB weapons and imitation firearms, and also will cease issuing extra permits for gun imports and permits for possession”.


What are your ideas on gun possession and entry to weapons and capturing ranges in Thailand?

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