Top 10 countries with no gun laws and low crime correspond to one of the golden rules such as “the less is more” (or, the more is less in our case).
So, it seems that countries with stricter gun control laws are more prone to serious crime commitments than ones with a more liberal viewpoint on gun-ownership. This further means that areas with a higher rate of civilians’ gun ownership are not necessarily related to a violent environment — on the contrary, the practice shows that stringent gun laws are almost always resulting in high murder rates. There is also a strong belief that the main factor which differs “gun-violent” country from “not-so-gun-violent” one might lay in a cultural phenomenon. This fact is supported by the statistics which claim that the United Kingdom homicide rate has always been lower than the United States’; it has not changed even after the Britain civilians won the legal right to own their personal guns. Nowadays, due to its strict gun laws, their homicide rate has raised to 1.4 per 100,000 residents for the U.K. due to its less, while, for example, Switzerland, with its highest per capita firearm ownership in the world, has a murder rate approximately 1.2 per 100,000 residents. However, there are some Asian countries that do not allow civilian gun-ownership, such as South Korea (only air guns can be owned by civilians), Japan (for sport shooters or hunter with a legal license, shotguns or air rifles are obtainable but extremely restricted) and North Korea (where the civilian gun-ownership is completely banned). However, it is recently estimated that most of the Asian countries have high homicide rate, even higher than the US. Mexico bans gun-ownership totally. The Netherlands, South Korea, and Japan are the three main countries with the strictest gun laws in the world, at least according to our list.
According to Library of Congress, in the Great Britain “only police officers, members of the armed forces, or individuals with written permission from the Home Secretary may lawfully own a handgun.” Unlike Americans who do have a lawful right to hold and own personal firearms, Germans have to gain a ‘firearms ownership license’ (Waffenbesitzkarte), depending on a type of the particular gun. Future applicants must be at least 18 years old, free of any criminal record, non-alcoholic or no-drug consumers and mentally stable. After one of the biggest mass massacres in entire Australian national history, on April 28, 1996, when 35 people died, and 23 were wounded, restriction of gun-ownership was more than inevitable. Not long after this enormous catastrophe, the Australian government adopted new licensing requirements, banned automatic and semiautomatic firearms, and established a national firearms registry. The government also bought and destroyed more than 600,000 civilian-owned firearms.
However, it is of essential importance to note that gun regulations are “must have” in all civilized countries around the world. So, in upcoming list, countries with no gun laws practically denotes world-wide areas were regulations are not too strict but in spite of that, crime rate remains low. As for our ranking criteria, we checked out GunPolicy in order to find countries with less-restrictive gun laws. After a thorough examination, we consulted Guardian’s article which provided us with the information such as countries’ ranking by the rate of gun ownership, average firearms per 100 people and firearm-related death rate per 100,000 population. The most significant factors for our final ranking were the last two previously mentioned because the crime rate is an extremely wide term. For our research, only crimes (or murders) committed by firearms such as guns or shotguns were of valid importance. Therefore, we ranked the following countries starting with ones with more restrictive gun policy and high homicide index to the least restrictive with the lowest crime rate indexes. Bear in mind that despite official pieces of information, there are numerous unrecorded firearm-crimes on a daily basis, so the current situation related to this issue is constantly changing. Be sure to check out our articles on states with easiest, least restrictive gun laws in America and countries with the best gun laws in the world before you proceed to the list below.
Now, are you ready to check our final 10 countries with no gun laws and low crime list? So it begins.
You can easily buy a gun in firearm store in Panama. However, you have to bring up the brand-new gun to local authorities where your weapon will undergo ballistic identification check. In case you are a Panamanian, you have to wait at least eight months for your gun to be given back to you (foreigners even longer). If you are not from this country, you are allowed to bring in your personal gun (of course, not without undergoing specific identification processes). According to Panamanian gun policy, only legal residents can either carry or own personal guns. Foreigners need to become personal residents before they are permitted to apply and get a gun license. The country is in the 10th place in our countries with no gun laws and low crime list due to homicide by firearm rate per 100, 000 people which is 16.18.
Switzerland takes 9th place in the list of countries with no gun laws and low crime because this country is generally known as the country with the least strict gun laws in Europe. Even though it has the highest gun ownership rate per capita (45.7 guns per 100 residents), the homicide by guns per 100,000 people rates is about 0.77. This can be further explained by a criminology expert from the University of Luanne, Martin Killias: “What is decisive is not so much the number of weapons as the number of people who have access to a weapon ” The crime rate in Switzerland is very low – e.g., mass shootings are extremely rare (only two incidents in the last 20 years) in this country. Deaths caused by gun shootings are predominately suicides (suicide rate of 2.74 per 100,000 people that is slightly below the total gun death rate of 3.01). For more information about crime and safety rates in Switzerland, visit Crime in Switzerland. Legal residents from Switzerland have a fundamental right to own guns (except automatic and machine guns, also night vision devices, laser sights, and grenades that are strictly banned). However, all applicants must pass a test on violent crime regulations and proper gun handling tutorial.
Even though this country is in the 4th place on the world’s gun ownership list, the fundamental civilian right to own a personal gun is not directly guaranteed by Finish gun policy. Despite this, their gun laws are clearly defined, quite permissive, and they are equal for the whole country. License for gun ownership is valid for an indefinite period, but you need a valid reason to get this license in Finland (self-defense does not count as a valid reason though). Owning handguns require a minimum two-year period using a borrowed handgun before you are permitted to use your personal one. However, the local people are not allowed to carry any kind of firearm in public. Possessing automatic firearms, armor piercing or incendiary ammunition is also forbidden by the Finish law. Only police stuff or people from security specialty can both use and carry automatics. For future rifle or shotgun license applicants, it is recommended to join a hunting club. As for gun deaths, it is estimated that in 1999 when the percentage was somewhere around 6.07, this number decreased in 2014 -1.27. Nowadays, homicide by firearm rate per 100,00 people is around 0.45, while the average number of firearms per 100 people is 45.3, due to which Finland is on 8th place on countries with no gun laws and low crime list.
According to Swedish Crime Survey, Sweden is internationally known for its low murder and homicide rate. Both lethal and non-lethal violence has decreased in the last 25 years. It is estimated that an approximate number of homicides by guns per 100,000 people amounts 0.41, which is why this country is on 7th rank in countries with no gun laws and low crime list. Sweden is a land of hunters — that explains a number of 31.6 guns per 100 people. A potential gun owner must meet some requirements in order to become a legal applicant for a gun license. Firearms such as air guns or “similar weapons with projectile energy less than 10 joules at the end of barrel“ can be owned without a license and anyone over the 18 years age can buy it. Further on, the applicant must fill in an application in the local police station. Membership of an approved shooting club and passing a hunting test (jägarexamen) is also required. However, it is considered to be illegal for Swedish people to carry any kind of firearm, unless for hunting purposes. Collecting is the second case of gun ownership in this country. More or less, owning any kind of firearm in Sweden is seen as a privilege.
6. Northern Ireland
Although being a constituent country of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland has a legitimacy to independently administer some quite important social issues such as education system and abortion legislation in this area. Likewise, laws dealing with firearms use and ownership are not an exception here as well. Being on 25th place on world’s gun ownership country list, speculation (dating in 2013) about allowing 12-year-old children to use firearms (only shotguns and guns) was not that surprising as it was in the first place. However, they must be under strict under strict supervision by an experienced adult. Some organizations such as The Northern Ireland Firearms Dealers and Shooters Association and The British Association for shooting and Conversation suggested that the age limit shod be even more lowered, to 10. In Northern Ireland, a gun license applicant has to possess a valid, legal firearm certificate in order to be able to either buy or own weapons or ammunition. Average firearms per 100 people index is 21.9 while homicide rate by firearm per 100 people amounts 0.28 which takes this country on 6th place on countries with no gun laws and low crime list.
Austria is on 14th place on world’s gun ownership list, even though an applicant for a gun license must state the valid reason for the firearm (collecting or hunting). Self-defense, again, is not seen as a valid reason. Attending safety course is strictly required. The number of recorded gun ownership is on the constant rise because the Austrian citizens strongly believe that gun control laws are too liberal as well as that local police is not protective enough. The U.S. Library of Congress conducted a study according to which the overall proportion of gun homicides increasingly fell somewhere between 1999 and 2010 to 12% and firearm suicides decreased to 65%. Austria is right in the middle of our list of countries with no gun laws and low crime list with 30.4 firearms per 100 people.
4. The Czech Republic
According to BBC News, the Czech parliament has agreed that firearms can be held (legally) in cases when the national security is threatened. Even though there were no recent terrorist attacks in this country, the authorities are all together for allowing their people to use firearms for defending themselves from potential terrorism. Due to its rich hunting tradition, gun policy in this country is less restrictive than in some other European Union’s countries. Gaining gun licenses resembles driving licenses – an applicant is obliged to pass a specific gun proficiency exam, medical examination, and a clean criminal record is also more than necessary. Citizens are allowed to carry guns for self-defense purposes. Despite the historical fact that Czech land was famous for manufacturing center of firearms for over two centuries, Czech Republic takes 6th place on Global Peace Index. As for the age limit, for B (sport shooting) and C (hunting) category license, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, while under special circumstances, the applicant needs to be 15 (a current member of a shooting sport club) or 16 years old (already learned hunting in a shooting school). When it comes to the gun ownership rate, the country is in the 38th place. This country is on the 4th place in the countries with no gun laws and low crime list due to the homicide by firearm rate of 0.19 per 100,000 people.
3. New Zealand
New Zealand is one of those countries that proudly asserts its high usage level of firearm ownership. New Zealand Police do a serious job to increase safety measures and presentably reduce potential deaths and injuries previously caused by fire\arms very successfully. Bayonets, knuckledusters, some types of knives (the ones with automatically opening blades or the knives with more than 10 cm long blade), or any kind of firearms disguised as other devices (e.g., walking stick shotguns) are strongly prohibited in this country. You do not need a license if you want to use a sporting firearm. The only condition which must be fulfilled is to be under constant supervision by a license holder. The Seven Firearms Safety Rules better known as ‘Arms Code’ are special safety programs which are required for all future applicants that include spatial training sessions. On our list of countries with no gun laws and low crime, this country came third due to the fact that crime rate in New Zealand is quite low while the number of homicides by guns per 100,000 people is 0.16. You can find more info about New Zealand firearms guides and standards on New Zealand Police.
Another country of hunters on our list of countries with no gun laws and low crime — there are nearly half a million hunters (10th on the entire population in Norway) situated in hunting districts such as Agder and Hedmark. As a traditional sport in Norway, shooting and 1,329,000 registered guns explain why Norway is on 11th place of gun ownership world’s list. After the terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik killed 69 people at a youth camp on July 22, 2011, semi-automatic weapons are banned in Norway. As for an age limit, 18 years is when it comes to rifles while 21 for shotguns and handguns. For a future firearm applicant, the ‘firearms permit’ (Våpenkort) is more than necessary. According to The Norwegian American, the gun must be locked in a certified gun safe. When it comes to the homicide by firearm rate per 100,000 people, it’s around 0.05, while an average number of firearms per 100 people is 31.3.
Because its violent crime index is extremely low, Iceland is on the very top of Global Peace Countries list as well as on our list of countries with no gun laws and low crime. Applicants must apply for a gun license which also includes passing a test at the local police station, attendance on a special course related to gun safety issues as well as medical examination during which an applicant undergoes eyesight check and mental health examination. Here, there is no limitation on the total number of guns per individual. However, owning more than one gun requires a personal, legal gun cabinet. Icelandic hunters own at least two or three guns (most of them even 10). Owners of a gun license are able to buy semi-automatic shotguns, single-shot rifles and also double-barrel rifles for hunting purposes. According to the research organization Gun Policy, the estimated total of civilian guns in Iceland mounts approximately 90,000 (on 330,000 people). The UN’s Global Study on homicide from 2013 claims that between 2005 and 2012, there were zero deaths caused by guns. The average number of firearms per 100 people is 30.3.
Let’s now conclude this 10 countries with no gun laws and low crime chart with our humble opinion that civilian feeling of security can be related to easy access of guns, which is, by the way, used both wisely and rarely.