Thailand has the highest reported rate of gun-related deaths in Southeast Asia – almost 50% more gun homicides than the Philippines. As the US State Department Bureau for Diplomatic Security wrote in its 2013 safety report for overseas staff: “Thailand has a fervent gun culture on par with the United States and has become a world leader in firearms-related homicides.” It estimates that the actual number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by Thai civilians is around 10 million. One important reason for the discrepancy is that Thailand’s Interior Ministry has no records of weapons held by rebels in the country’s Deep South, where an insurgency has been smoldering for years. At the root of the conflict are decades-old separatist demands, with many residents of the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat – home to a Muslim, Malay majority in the predominantly Buddhist nation – calling on Bangkok to grant them at least local autonomy.
Owning a firearm in the Southeast Asian country has been legal since 1947. However, only licensed gun owners may lawfully acquire, possess, or transfer a firearm or ammunition. The Act Controlling Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, Fireworks, and Imitation of Firearms only allows people to obtain licenses to own guns for purposes of self-defense, protection of property, sports, or hunting. Applicants must be at least 20 years old and pass background checks which consider the applicants’ personal conduct, living conditions as well as their income and criminal records. Despite these rules, it is relatively easy to acquire a gun in Thailand. Especially in shops along the Thai-Myanmar and Thai-Cambodian border, they can easily be found. Guns are readily available in Thailand, and a vast number of people possess deadly weapons illegally. Some of these firearms are smuggled across the border. Others were imported for the police or military, but then somehow found their way into private hands. Experts claim that military, police, and paramilitary officials not only have easy access to such weapons but have also been known to sell these to non-state officials.
To solve this problem, I think that all individuals must obtain authorization before the possession, manufacturing, using, selling, purchase, ordering, and importation of firearms. Possession of ammunition for use with a gun, other than one which you have obtained
a license for owning or using, is prohibited. You are not allowed to bring a gun with you into a city, neighborhood, or public areas without a license for carrying one on you. Exceptions do exist for emergencies depending on the situation, and for government officials or law enforcement bodies of certain types.
- sereen abu younis