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Can you carry a gun in South Korea?


Carrying a gun is a contentious issue worldwide, and South Korea is no exception. The country has strict laws regarding firearms, and not everyone can carry them. In this article, we will explore the legal framework surrounding gun ownership in South Korea.

History of Gun Control in South Korea

South Korea’s gun control laws have evolved over time, reflecting the country’s tumultuous history. During the Korean War, guns were widespread, leading to a high rate of violent crime. In response, the government instituted strict gun control measures in the 1950s. Since then, the laws have become even more stringent.

The Legal Framework for Gun Ownership in South Korea

The Korean government has enacted several laws that regulate gun ownership in the country. Under the National Security Act, civilians are prohibited from owning firearms without government approval. The law also prohibits the possession of ammunition without a license.

Who Can Own Guns in South Korea?

According to the Korean government, only military and law enforcement personnel are allowed to carry firearms. Civilians can apply for a license to own a hunting rifle or shotgun, but they must meet several requirements first.

The Process of Obtaining a Gun License in South Korea

To obtain a gun license in South Korea, applicants must go through a rigorous process that includes background checks, mental health evaluations, and training courses. They must also provide a valid reason for owning a firearm.

The Types of Guns Allowed in South Korea

Civilians who are granted a gun license can only own hunting rifles or shotguns. These weapons are strictly regulated and must be stored securely when not in use.

Penalties for Violating Gun Control Laws in South Korea

Violating gun control laws in South Korea can result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. The severity of the penalty depends on the nature of the offense.

Public Opinion on Gun Control in South Korea

South Koreans generally support strict gun control measures, given the country’s history of violence. However, some hunting groups have criticized the government’s policies as overly restrictive.

Gun Crime in South Korea

South Korea has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world, thanks in part to its strict gun control laws. According to government statistics, there were only 44 gun-related crimes in 2019.

Comparing Gun Control in South Korea to Other Countries

South Korea’s gun control policies are among the strictest in the world. In contrast, countries like the United States have much more permissive gun laws.

The Impact of Gun Control on Society

The impact of gun control on society is a subject of much debate. Some argue that it reduces crime rates and makes society safer, while others believe it infringes on individual freedoms.


In conclusion, carrying a gun in South Korea is highly regulated and difficult to obtain. The country’s strict gun control laws have resulted in low rates of gun crime, but they remain a contentious issue for some.

Can a civilian own a gun in South Korea?

The region has some of the most stringent gun policies globally. Japan and South Korea have stringent regulations on civilian gun ownership, and China has a government allocation system where regular people aren’t allowed to own firearms, and those who need a gun can borrow one from the government.

Do cops in South Korea carry guns?

In Korea, civilians are not allowed to own guns, and even the police officers who patrol the streets do not carry firearms. However, if a suspect is armed with a knife, police officers with guns may be called upon in extreme situations.

Can you own a hand gun in South Korea?

In Korea, all men are required to serve in the military, which may be their only opportunity to handle a firearm. In South Korea, only authorized individuals working for the government are allowed to own or carry guns.

What are gun laws like in South Korea?

Gun regulations in South Korea are very strict, with all private guns for hunting or target practice needing to be registered and stored at local police stations. Gun owners must possess and renew permits, which involve thorough background checks.

Who has the strictest gun laws?

California and New Jersey have the strongest gun restrictions in the United States, with both states receiving an A rating on the Giffords gun law scorecard. In California, individuals must undergo a 10-day waiting period and a comprehensive background check before purchasing a firearm.

Does South Korea have a secret police?

The NIS, also known as the National Intelligence Service, is the primary intelligence organization for South Korea.

Despite the strict gun control laws in South Korea, there have been a few incidents of mass shootings in recent years. In 2019, a soldier opened fire on his fellow troops at a military base, killing five and injuring seven. The incident sparked outrage and led to calls for even stricter gun control measures.

In response to the shooting, the government announced plans to increase penalties for illegal gun possession and to strengthen background checks for firearms license applicants. The incident also raised questions about the mental health of soldiers and the need for better mental health services in the military.

While South Korea’s gun control policies may be considered strict by some, they are not without their critics. Some argue that the country’s laws are too restrictive and infringe on individual freedoms. Others point out that while gun crime is low in South Korea, other forms of violent crime, such as knife crime, remain a concern.

Despite the ongoing debate over gun control, it is clear that South Korea’s laws have had a significant impact on reducing gun violence in the country. As other nations struggle with rising rates of gun crime, South Korea can serve as an example of how strict gun control policies can help keep communities safe.

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