What To Do To Buy A Gun In 15 Different Countries


What To Do To Buy A Gun In 15 Different Countries

Many Americans need less than an hour to buy a gun. In some other countries, the process can take months. Here are the necessary steps of how to buy a gun in 15 different countries. Many of these countries have exceptions for specialized professions, so local laws vary.

United States

1) Pass an instant background check which includes criminal convictions, domestic violence, and immigration status.

2) Buy a gun.

*Several states have additional buying restrictions, which include waiting periods and expanded background checks. Approximately a third of American gun owners buy guns with no background check, which federal law doesn't require when purchasing directly from a private seller.


1) Join a hunting or shooting club.

2) Take a firearm class and pass a written exam, that is held up to three times per year.

3) Get a doctor’s note saying that you are mentally fit and don't have a history of drug abuse.

4) Apply for a permit to take firing training, which might take up to a month.

5) Describe in a police interview the reasons you need a gun for.

6) Pass a review of your criminal history, gun possession record, employment, involvement with organized crime groups, personal debt and relationships with family, friends, and neighbors.

7) Apply for a gunpowder permit.

8) Take a one-day training class and pass a firing test.

*Several countries require buyers to hit a target or demonstrate safe handling procedures accurately.

9) Obtain a certificate from a gun dealer that describes the gun you want.

10) Buy a gun safe and an ammunition locker which meets safety regulations.

11) Allow the police to inspect your gun storage.

12) Pass an additional background review.

13) Buy a gun.

South Africa

1) Join accredited hunting or shooting club, or document a need for self-defense.

2) Complete firearm safety training and pass a written test and practical assessment.

3) Give two employers, friends or community leaders as references.

4) Get fingerprinted.

5) Pass a review of criminal behavior, history of domestic violence and drug abuse and, in several cases, interviews with family and neighbors.

*Authorities in South Africa, Australia and India might talk to people you know who can vouch for you or raise red flags.

6) Buy a gun safe which meets safety regulations.

7) Allow police to inspect your storage.

8) Wait some months for a federal review of your application.

9) Buy a gun.


1) Get a letter from the local authorities confirming that you don't have a criminal record.

2) Submit a letter showing your employment status and pay.

3) Pass a background check which considers criminal history, employment, and current gun ownership.

4) Travel to Mexico City, where the only store authorized to sell guns is located.

*Mexico, Russia, and South Africa have thriving black markets for guns. Only one store in Mexico sells guns legally, compared with more than 50,000 retail stores in the US.

5) Get fingerprinted.

6) Buy a gun.


1) Join and regularly attend a hunting or shooting club or document that you are a collector.

*In response to a 1996 mass shooting, Australia made guns a privilege, not a right. Gun owners have to provide a valid reason for owning a weapon, such as farming or hunting, and gun clubs have to inform the authorities of inactive members.

2) Complete a course on firearm safety and operation, and pass a written test and practical assessment.

3) Arrange firearm storage which meets safety regulations.

4) Pass a review that considers criminal history, domestic violence, restraining orders and arrest history. Authorities might also interview your family and community members.

5) Apply for a permit to acquire a specific type of weapon.

6) Wait at least 28 days.

7) Buy the specific type of gun for which you received a permit.


1) To get a handgun or semiautomatic rifle, prove you are in serious physical danger

*Austria requires different steps to get a hunting rifle, including passing a written exam and shooting test.

2) Pass a review of criminal history.

3) Fill out a mental health survey, then complete a psychological and physical test.

4) Complete a course on safe gun handling and storage.

5) Install safe gun storage.

6) Buy a gun.

7) If you bought a rifle or shotgun, you need to wait three days before coming back to pick it up.

*Austria’s three-day “cool off” period is intended to lower the likelihood of impulsive violence.


1) To buy a handgun, prove that you practice at an approved shooting club or range, or show that you are a gun collector.

2) For any gun, complete a safety course and pass both a written and a practical test.

3) Ask for two references.

*In addition to the two references, Canadians should list the names of partners they have lived with during the last two years, all of whom have to sign the application or be notified by the police before they can buy a gun.

4) Apply for a permit, then wait 28 days before processing begins.

5) Pass a background check that considers your criminal record, mental health, addiction and domestic violence history.

6) Buy a gun. If you bought a handgun, register it to the police before taking it home.


1) Join a shooting club, or demonstrate that you or your property are under threat.

2) Attend a practical training course on firearm handling and shooting.

*The exact steps in India, as in many countries, vary depending on how local officials choose to enforce the law.

3) Obtain a certificate of physical and mental health from your doctor.

4) Affirm you have a safe place to keep the firearms.

5) Pass a review which considers three years of tax returns, criminal history, mental health history and domestic violence, and includes interviews with you, your family and neighbors.

6) Buy a gun.

*The Indian authorities might impound guns during an election to ensure the vote is peaceful. Guns have to be returned to their owners one week after the results are announced.


1) Join a shooting club, obtain a hunting license, show you are a gun collector or prove your life is threatened.

2) Demonstrate specialized knowledge of firearms, which might involve a written exam and practical demonstration of safe handling.

3) If you are under 25, submit a certificate of mental fitness from a public health officer or doctor.

4) Arrange proper firearm storage.

*Germans who keep firearms in their homes agreed to let the police conduct unannounced home inspections to check that they are kept safe. The US has no requirement for how firearms have to be stored.

5) Pass a background check which considers criminal history, mental health, and drug addiction.

6) Apply for a permit to purchase a specific gun, which might include an additional short background review.

7) Buy a gun.


1) Join a shooting club or document hunting arrangements.

2) Ask for a character reference.

3) Arrange proper firearm storage.

4) Pass background check that includes a police interview at your home. They might check your storage arrangements.

*Some police forces might handle the background check with more diligence than others. The exact procedure varies.

5) Buy a gun.


1) Write a statement about the reasons why you need a gun for self-defense.

2) Complete a course on firearm handling and demonstrate that you can strike a target​ from 16​ and 23​ feet away with ​60% accuracy.

3) Obtain a statement from an accredited psychologist certifying that you are mentally fit to fire a weapon.

4) Obtain a certificate confirming you have no criminal record​ and aren't under criminal investigation.

5) Buy a gun.

6) Register your gun with federal police.

7) Fill out an online form to transport your gun.

*Brazil requires authorization each time you transport a gun, including the first time you take it home from a gun dealership.

8) Return to the dealer and pick up your gun.


1) Get a hunting license, or explain why you need a gun for self-defense.

*Many Russian gun buyers skip this process. Illegal guns in Russia are estimated to outnumber legal guns by a factor of 3 to 1.

2) Pass a test of relevant laws, handling, and first-aid skills.

3) Get a doctor’s note saying that you have no mental illness nor history of drug abuse.

4) Attend a firearm safety and handling class and pass an exam.

5) Apply for a license.

6) Pass a background check.

7) Buy a gun.


1) Join a shooting club, or prove that you live or work in a dangerous area authorized for gun ownership, including certain settlements.

*Many countries, including Israel, also allow people with specific jobs to more easily obtain guns, including security, research, and pest control.

2) Get a doctor’s note saying you have no mental illness or history of drug abuse.

3) Install a gun safe.

4) Release your criminal and mental health history to the authorities.

5) Buy a gun and a limited supply of bullets, usually about 50.

6) Demonstrate that you can use your gun or a similar gun at a firing range before taking it home.


1) Establish a specific reason to possess a firearm, such as hunting or sports shooting.

2) Arrange to store your gun at a gun range, remote hunting ground or pastoral area.

*In China, most civilians are prohibited from keeping guns in their homes. Guns must be kept at gun ranges or in other authorized locations.

3) Demonstrate knowledge of safe gun use and storage.

4) Pass a background check that considers mental illness, criminal record, and domestic violence.

5) Buy a gun.


1) Go to a gun market or find a seller online.

*Yemen has the second-highest gun ownership rate in the world, after the US. While Yemeni law states that buyers must obtain guns from licensed dealers and register with the authorities, the law is largely unenforced.

2) Buy a gun

Reporting was contributed by Damien Cave from Sydney, Australia; Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem; Iliana Magra from London; Oleg Matsnev from Moscow; Norimitsu Onishi from Johannesburg; Sergio Peçanha from New York; Suhasini Raj from New Delhi; Austin Ramzy from Hong Kong; Christopher F. Schuetze from Berlin; and Hisako Ueno from Tokyo.

Sources: NYTimes, GunPolicy.org; Law Library of Congress; Hans-Jörg Albrecht, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and Inter­national Criminal Law; Farea Al-Muslimi, Sana'a Center for Strategic Studies; Philip Alpers, University of Sydney; Adam Baron, Sana'a Center for Strategic Studies; Blake Brown, Saint Mary's University; Wendy Cukier, Coalition for Gun Control; Laura Cutilletta, Giffords Law Center; Nils Duquet, Flemish Peace Institute; Octavio Rodríguez Ferreira, University of San Diego; José Manuel Heredia, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas; Nestor Kapusta, Medical University of Vienna; Adèle Kirsten, Gun Free South Africa; Daniel König, Medical University of Vienna; Jooyoung Lee, University of Toronto; Ivan Marques, Instituto Sou da Paz; Rela Mazali, Gun Free Kitchen Tables; Samara McPhedran, Griffith University; Binalakshmi Nepram, Control Arms Foundation of India; Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, Medical University of Vienna; Rebecca Peters, International Action Network on Small Arms; Sandhya Ramesh; David Shirk, University of San Diego; Peter Squires, University of Brighton; A.J. Somerset.



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Thinking Humanity: What To Do To Buy A Gun In 15 Different Countries
What To Do To Buy A Gun In 15 Different Countries
Many Americans need less than an hour to buy a gun. In some other countries, the process can take months. Here are the necessary steps of how to buy a gun in 15 different countries.
Thinking Humanity
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