Gun Rights

Jacob Sullum: Why Japanese Gun Control Isn't a Model for America

Senior Editor Jacob Sullum examines how the claim that Japanese gun restrictions account for the country's low violent crime rate isn't as simple as it sounds.


Last week, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated by a lone gunman while giving a political speech. The precise motivation for this horrific killing remains murky, with some reports suggesting the killer was mad about Abe's connections to the Unification Church.

But the method has sparked some discussion about violent crime and its causes. That's because Abe was shot with a gun in Japan, a country with some of the strictest gun laws in the developed world.

Some analysts have suggested that Abe's killing, however awful, nevertheless highlights the success of Japanese gun controls, since it serves as a reminder of how rare gun crime is in the country.

But my guest today sees this another way: Even in an island nation where private gun ownership is essentially outlawed, a determined killer can still find a way to obtain, or make, a firearm. This, in turn, has implications for current debates about American gun policy.

That's the topic of this week's episode of The Reason Rundown With Peter Suderman featuring Reason Senior Editor Jacob Sullum.

"Japan's Gun Restrictions Are Far From Sufficient To Explain Its Low Crime Rate," by Jacob Sullum

"Why Didn't a 'Red Flag' Law Prevent the Illinois Mass Shooting, and Would New Federal Rules Have Mattered?" by Jacob Sullum

"After Uvalde, Politicians Push Irrelevant Gun Control Proposals," by Jacob Sullum

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