Guns in Japan

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Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:10 pm

Guns in Japan – the full article is quoted below. I found it particularly interesting that even the criminals look at guns as being a liability, given that the penalty for posession or use is so strict.

Even gangsters live in fear of Japan’s gun laws by Jake Adelstein, Jan 6, 2013

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/0 ... mX_5o3ovIU

It’s almost impossible to get to a gun in Japan, and selling one or owning one is a serious crime. Fire the gun? Possibly life imprisonment. Gun-control laws are taken so seriously that police will pursue a violator all the way to the grave — and maybe beyond.

The rationale for this is simple: “Of course, guns don’t kill people; people kill people — guns just make it a lot easier to kill a lot of people. That’s why Japan bans them and that’s why my job was catching people with guns and putting them in jail. Usually, long before they could ever put their finger on the trigger.”

Those are the words of a retired Kanto-region police detective with more than 25 years’ experience pursuing cases involving violations of the Firearms (& Swords) Control Law. Four of those years were in the Organized Crime Control Division Five, whose sole purpose is to handle drugs or weapons cases, nothing else.

In a long interview, this former officer who I will call Detective X because he requested anonymity for safety reasons, went on to explain just how seriously gun control is taken in Japan — offering information I followed up with further research.

“In Japan, no civilian is allowed to have a gun,” he stated simply. “In order to prevent atrocious crimes using firearms, possession of small arms was banned in 1965, with strict penalties for violations of the law. As time has gone on the penalties have increased and every year we try to drive down the number of people owning guns.”

Japan does allow the possession of hunting rifles and air guns (for sporting use), but the restrictions and checks are extremely strict.

“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.

The police checks are severe. In July 2008, a 45-year-old white-collar worker on the island of Shikoku who tried to renew his shotgun registration using a forged medical certificate was arrested following extensive checks on charges of forgery and violations of the firearms-control law.

According to the National Police Agency’s 2012 White Paper on Crime, in 2011 there were 246,783 licensed firearms in Japan, and 122,515 licensed owners out of a population of more than 126 million. In the same year, 27 people were denied permission to own a weapon, and 95 others had their permits taken away. Compare these figures with 2009 — when there were 299,939 licensed firearms and 142,294 licensed owners — and it’s clear these numbers are falling. So, too, are the number of shootings and gun deaths.

In 2002, there were 158 shootings in Japan and 24 deaths. Last year there were 45 shootings and eight deaths — and of the 45 shootings, 33 were yakuza-related.

“Japan is basically a place where only yakuza and cops have guns,” Detective X stated. “We fire our guns less, so most of the shootings in Japan are yakuza versus yakuza — and as long as the yakuza are killing each other, the general public and the police didn’t seem to mind. But not anymore. There have been too many stray bullets.”

The retired cop then noted that even the yakuza don’t like to use guns these days — because the penalties are too high.

A turning point was the Dec. 26, 1997, arrest of Kaneyoshi Kuwata, a boss of the powerful Yamaguchi-gumi gang, for illegal possession of firearms along with one of his henchmen. Acting on a tip, police blocked off all the roads in Tokyo’s glitzy Roppongi district and cornered Kuwata’s convoy of Mercedes. They then searched all the cars and, when they found a pistol in one of them, Kuwata was — in a precedent-setting legal move — arrested as an accomplice on gun-possession charges. After a long court battle, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

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?”

The police are not given a free hand in using guns either. Internal controls make it very difficult for a gun or even a single bullet to fall into the hands of criminals.

“When we go to the firing range, we get an allotted number of bullets, Detective X said. “When we’re done firing, we collect the shells and return the gun. If one shell is missing, the police station goes into a panic.”

Then the former officer waxed a little nostalgic. “Because of all the paperwork, in the old days sometimes we didn’t even take guns with us on raids of yakuza offices. I almost got my head blown off once because of that. … The guy had his gun in the dresser next to his futon. After that I made sure we carried guns with us on all our raids.”

However, Detective X said police sometimes misuse their weapons: “A few years ago, an officer on duty used his gun to kill himself — clearly non-designated usage, so that’s a crime.” He was charged posthumously to publicly show that even the dead can’t get away with breaking the firearms laws, and to shame his family. It may seem like overkill but it drives home the point.

“You can’t easily hold up a convenience store or shoot someone to death if you don’t have a gun,” Detective X put it in a nutshell. Unlike in the United States, that’s Crime Prevention 101 in Japan.

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Matthew Ellard » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:13 pm

That all made good sense.

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:14 pm

Ah..... those poor bastards don't have a Bill of Rights..........or do they? Amendment NO 1: To live free from idiots with guns.

A Real Bill of Rights, instead of lip service. Good on them.
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:50 pm

I felt very safe when I was living in Japan. One place I lived in didn't have locks on the doors. The landlord said he could install them if I wanted to wait another month to take custody of the place. I declined and he seemed impressed that I wasn't the typical gaijin.
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Matthew Ellard » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:18 pm

"It's a fair Cop"
I'm simply thinking about similarities between Japan and the UK. British Police used to be unarmed. If a "Bobby" nabbed a criminal "doing a crime" the general "traditional" rule was the policeman said "Your'e nicked!" and the criminal would say "Its a fair cop" and off they go to the police station. I get "the vibe" that is the same culture in Japan.

Both the UK and Japan have got historical criminal gangs and the the gangs can be violent. They both had class structures.


I'm sort of wondering if it has something to do with the way society evolved with police. Neither Japan or the UK had frontiers like the USA's "wild west" so I imagine police evolved "into" existing society. I wonder if the USA's wild west was different because policing had to be imposed on rapidly expanding frontier society that was used to sorting things out by individuals.

(Stephen Fry, was arrested for larceny at 19. He stole credit cards and did three months in gaol. He discusses his arrest openly and in the 80's the British police officer still handcuffed My Fry to himself, but hid the handcuffs underneath a coat, so as not to "cause a scene". I think this is hilarious and very British.)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0282yfy

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:36 pm

Here too - handcuffs are hidden by a cloth.

Japanese society of course is hierarchal, and peace keepers are respected. Peacekeepers originally were the Yakuza, then samurai, and finally the police. Even today, frequently perps turn themselves in to the police, and confessions are the norm.

Guns took politicians looking at society to see a problem and take action - for the betterment of society over recognition of individual rights. Same for self-defence - where as an individual I can only use non-lethal means, even if such restriction gets me killed.

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:03 am

TJrandom wrote:confessions are the norm.
Actually that is possibly an interesting difference. In the UK, because of its unique evolution of adversarial court representation, a suspect will often plead innocent and force the court to set out the evidence.

In theory, but not in reality, there is no such thing as a "plea bargain" in UK and its former colonies courts. As an Australian, I cannot plea guilty to a lesser charge, as a bargain. I must be charged, according to the statutes, for the crime I committed. I can only seek a consideration for cooperating in my sentencing. I think this dynamic makes more Aussie & UK criminals plead not guilty.

This is a complex area. If prosecutors can reduce the level of crime through plea bargaining, and the sentencing magistrate can additionally vary the sentence for cooperation and so on, then there is too much room for potential variance between individual cases. This is dangerous. Our UK based legal system is socially acceptable to both criminals and civilians is we all perceive that we will be treated exactly in the same way for the same crime.

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Austin Harper » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:27 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:[color=#000080]I'm sort of wondering if it has something to do with the way society evolved with police. Neither Japan or the UK had frontiers like the USA's "wild west" so I imagine police evolved "into" existing society. I wonder if the USA's wild west was different because policing had to be imposed on rapidly expanding frontier society that was used to sorting things out by individuals.


I doubt it. The "Wild West" as it's usually pictured never really existed.
I don't really have time at the moment to go into more detail but here's an example article to that effect.
http://www.perc.org/articles/old-west-v ... ostly-myth
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Austin Harper » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:27 am

By the way, why is this in the MonsterTalk forum and not in the Guns forum?
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:36 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
TJrandom wrote:confessions are the norm.
Actually that is possibly an interesting difference. In the UK, because of its unique evolution of adversarial court representation, a suspect will often plead innocent and force the court to set out the evidence.

In theory, but not in reality, there is no such thing as a "plea bargain" in UK and its former colonies courts. As an Australian, I cannot plea guilty to a lesser charge, as a bargain. I must be charged, according to the statutes, for the crime I committed. I can only seek a consideration for cooperating in my sentencing. I think this dynamic makes more Aussie & UK criminals plead not guilty.

This is a complex area. If prosecutors can reduce the level of crime through plea bargaining, and the sentencing magistrate can additionally vary the sentence for cooperation and so on, then there is too much room for potential variance between individual cases. This is dangerous. Our UK based legal system is socially acceptable to both criminals and civilians is we all perceive that we will be treated exactly in the same way for the same crime.


Here too - there is no plea bargain. A person confesses - because he has faith that the system works, and he will be caught anyway (or if already caught, be found guilty if indeed he is). Having confessed does not shorten the trial - the police will still need to lay out the evidence. The court may impose the lower end of the possible sentences if the perp has both confessed and shown signs of contrition.

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:38 am

Austin Harper wrote:By the way, why is this in the MonsterTalk forum and not in the Guns forum?


`cause, I screwed up.... can it be moved?

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Austin Harper » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:59 am

I think Pyrrho can move it if you ask him to. I don't really care, I was just pointing it out.

Really the whole forum could use some reorganization. Most people don't seem to notice that this "General Discussion" subforum is listed under MonsterTalk so it just gets used for whatever. The same goes for most other things. How often are we actually talking about that podcast? I mean, I do listen to every episode but...
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:02 am

TJrandom wrote: Here too - there is no plea bargain. A person confesses - because he has faith that the system works, and he will be caught anyway (or if already caught, be found guilty if indeed he is). Having confessed does not shorten the trial - the police will still need to lay out the evidence. The court may impose the lower end of the possible sentences if the perp has both confessed and shown signs of contrition.
OK. That makes sense. I'm against plea bargains. It risks against homogeneity in sentencing and introduces the mechanism for potential corruption.

Two main things that separate Australia's English Westminster political system from the USA, is the the adding on of additional legislation to bills being debated in parliament. Here, you are not allowed to do this, so every bill has to pass on its own merits. I get horrified when I see a simple, sensible, USA bill having all these additions added to it for unrelated issues due to individual congressman lobbying. The USA should eliminate this or allow the Queen to take over control again. :mrgreen:

The other thing is voting in Judges. Here, all judges are elevated from existing barristers, according to "secret judge's business". This means if all existing Judges and magistrates think you are really good at equity law, you become an equity law judge. If they think you are better at dealing with petty criminals, you become a magistrate. However, I can imagine Americans justifiably screaming "How can you have "secret judge votes" as that is also room for corruption"? :D

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:09 am

Sadly..... I think the "American Justice System" is corrupt and inept from start to finish. From laws based on political fear mongering, the Police being militarized in our us versus them mentality, Courts taking the police at their word, Public Defenders over worked with case loads too high to adequately evaluate with little to no resources for independent investigations, with DA's promoted based on conviction rates, all nicely capped off with a prison system going For Profit based on guaranteed incarceration rates.

Uggg....I just reminded myself of civil forfeiture laws AND the number of cities and counties that are funded by Police issuing revenue generating citations.

JUSTICE and fairness..... left town on the 500PM bus.
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Pyrrho » Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:49 am

Austin Harper wrote:I think Pyrrho can move it if you ask him to. I don't really care, I was just pointing it out.

Really the whole forum could use some reorganization. Most people don't seem to notice that this "General Discussion" subforum is listed under MonsterTalk so it just gets used for whatever. The same goes for most other things. How often are we actually talking about that podcast? I mean, I do listen to every episode but...

Yeah maybe on Christmas break I'll do some shifting around.
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:13 am

Pyrrho wrote:
Austin Harper wrote:I think Pyrrho can move it if you ask him to. I don't really care, I was just pointing it out.

Really the whole forum could use some reorganization. Most people don't seem to notice that this "General Discussion" subforum is listed under MonsterTalk so it just gets used for whatever. The same goes for most other things. How often are we actually talking about that podcast? I mean, I do listen to every episode but...

Yeah maybe on Christmas break I'll do some shifting around.

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:49 am

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:I felt very safe when I was living in Japan. One place I lived in didn't have locks on the doors. The landlord said he could install them if I wanted to wait another month to take custody of the place. I declined and he seemed impressed that I wasn't the typical gaijin.


Generally, it is still safe here - but we are careful to lock up at night and even the barn/tool shed when we are away for a few days. And we also installed a home security system, linked via the web to a response centre that has a person sitting in a car 24x7, within a 20 minute response time. So why? Simply because as the countryside hollows out a bit, there are thieves at the ready - plus our fire insurance rate drops due to the monitoring system. We have never had anything go missing, but an unattended house is ripe for it, unfortunately.

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby MrIntelligentDesign » Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:13 pm

Japan is a safer place to live compared to other developed nations. I knew it since I've been here for 23 years...

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby JO 753 » Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:19 am

Only if youre a human. It seemz to me that all other speciez are at greater risk uv getting eaten or killed for their majikl sex potion parts.
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby MrIntelligentDesign » Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:53 am

JO 753 wrote:Only if youre a human. It seemz to me that all other speciez are at greater risk uv getting eaten or killed for their majikl sex potion parts.

HUH?? That is too much porn had made you crazy? LOL!

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby psychiatry is a scam » Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:51 am

there is one other reason why japan is safer .
for the real minority ; there will be no justice , there will be no peace .
makes sense 2me , so it has 2be wrong .

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby ElectricMonk » Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:11 am

psychiatry is a scam wrote:there is one other reason why japan is safer .


Nutjobs kill themselves rather than others?
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Gord » Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:41 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:
psychiatry is a scam wrote:there is one other reason why japan is safer .


Nutjobs kill themselves rather than others?

Ummmm, I believe the correct term is "mongs"? Waitnotit'snotrunawayrunaway!!
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby psychiatry is a scam » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:20 pm

Gord wrote:
ElectricMonk wrote:
psychiatry is a scam wrote:there is one other reason why japan is safer .


Nutjobs kill themselves rather than others?

Ummmm, I believe the correct term is "mongs"? Waitnotit'snotrunawayrunaway!!



nope - guess again
for the real minority ; there will be no justice , there will be no peace .
makes sense 2me , so it has 2be wrong .

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby psychiatry is a scam » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:20 pm

Gord wrote:
ElectricMonk wrote:
psychiatry is a scam wrote:there is one other reason why japan is safer .


Nutjobs kill themselves rather than others?

Ummmm, I believe the correct term is "mongs"? Waitnotit'snotrunawayrunaway!!



nope - guess again
for the real minority ; there will be no justice , there will be no peace .
makes sense 2me , so it has 2be wrong .

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Gord » Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:13 am

psychiatry is a scam wrote:nope - guess again

psychiatry is a scam wrote:nope - guess again

:befuddled:

Are you replying to me or ElectricMonk?
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:50 pm

A belated response to the comment on the American wild west.

Yes, it was nothing like the Hollywood portrayal. But one thing from the modern perception is correct. According to Stephen Pinker, the murder rate was substantially higher than the modern day murder rate, and the number of people who owned and carried guns was higher also. For 'self defense'.

Pinker decribes one small mining town in the old west that had, for some years, an average murder rate of 25%. One in four people were murdered each year. Overall, the murder rate was abour 25 per 100,000 people per year, or five times the modern murder rate in the USA.

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby JO 753 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:15 am

Odd. I got an email notification that there wuz a new reply here.
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:57 pm

JO 753 wrote:Odd. I got an email notification that there wuz a new reply here.


There was... yours! :D

But maybe someone posted, then deleted....

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:27 pm

Goddidit.
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:31 pm

Maybe it was one of our gangsters... The largest yakuza organization (Yamaguchi-gumi) is splitting and there is a turf war going on now, with a few shootings. Mostly just low calibre dents in doors, dump trucks being backed into entrances, and similar adolescent-like stunts. Ho hum....

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby JO 753 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:06 am

Without gunz & sordz, wut iz their prefered method uv killing?
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:46 am

JO 753 wrote:Without gunz & sordz, wut iz their prefered method uv killing?


I am going to take a stab at this - sans any research... My guess is knives, then strangulations, followed by blunt objects, poison, a few drownings (family locked in a car, and then off the pier), home fires, etc. Mostly up close stuff.... A few will be random, but most will be attacker known to the victim.

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:11 am

TJrandom wrote:
JO 753 wrote:Without gunz & sordz, wut iz their prefered method uv killing?


I am going to take a stab at this - sans any research... My guess is knives, then strangulations, followed by blunt objects, poison, a few drownings (family locked in a car, and then off the pier), home fires, etc. Mostly up close stuff.... A few will be random, but most will be attacker known to the victim.

I teach people how to defend themselves with whatever is handy. I studied kendo in Japan and the sensei would take on all comers with his walking stick. I've damaged idiots with a rolled-up newspaper to the point where they had to be transported to the hospital. Weapons aren't dangerous, people are dangerous.
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:03 pm

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
TJrandom wrote:
JO 753 wrote:Without gunz & sordz, wut iz their prefered method uv killing?


I am going to take a stab at this - sans any research... My guess is knives, then strangulations, followed by blunt objects, poison, a few drownings (family locked in a car, and then off the pier), home fires, etc. Mostly up close stuff.... A few will be random, but most will be attacker known to the victim.

I teach people how to defend themselves with whatever is handy. I studied kendo in Japan and the sensei would take on all comers with his walking stick. I've damaged idiots with a rolled-up newspaper to the point where they had to be transported to the hospital. Weapons aren't dangerous, people are dangerous.


I would say that weapons are dangerous - just more dangerous in the hands of dangerous people in situations where they should not have a weapon within reach to begin with. I can own, and carry a knife when doing so is logical for whatever legal activity I am engaged in. But not otherwise. A knife in the picnic basket on the way to the beach is OK, but not in my pocket as I stroll down a street. A hatchet in my truck as I move between woodland sites is OK, but not in my backpack on the street. But then I am not a dangerous person - though a dangerous person (prior criminal, gang member, etc.) can have a weapon-object in the same cases where I can have one. The intent is to remove easy access to items typically used as weapons so that dangerous people don`t use one in an unplanned/hot-headed manner.

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:20 pm

Weapons are "dangerous" the way a circular saw is dangerous, or a nail gun. (Apologies to Danny Glover.)

The last two people who tried to kill me used knives. One a "pocket" knife, one a butcher's knife.
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:30 pm

Yes - blunt objects... :)

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:32 pm

TJrandom wrote:Yes - blunt objects... :)

The guy I hospitalized came at me with a knife. I dropped to one knee and rammed a newspaper into his crotch. I think his scrotum wound up in his rectum. (I'm pretty sure I wrecked 'em.)
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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby TJrandom » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:38 pm

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
TJrandom wrote:Yes - blunt objects... :)

The guy I hospitalized came at me with a knife. I dropped to one knee and rammed a newspaper into his crotch. I think his scrotum wound up in his rectum. (I'm pretty sure I wrecked 'em.)


Well, lets keep it a secret - lest carrying newspapers gets banned....

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Re: Guns in Japan

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:49 pm

TJrandom wrote:
Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
TJrandom wrote:Yes - blunt objects... :)

The guy I hospitalized came at me with a knife. I dropped to one knee and rammed a newspaper into his crotch. I think his scrotum wound up in his rectum. (I'm pretty sure I wrecked 'em.)


Well, lets keep it a secret - lest carrying newspapers gets banned....

I love the "it'll be banned!" school of thought the gunners have. First, there's no reason to ban all guns. We thinned the coyote population in this area last year, 1,500 coyotes dead. Without long guns that would have been difficult. Second, it's politically impossible. Third, the gun industry would fight such a ban to the last breath. Ain't gonna happen.
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The Myths of Pearl Harbor. Demythologizing the attack.
Hyperwar. Hypertext history of the Second World War.
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