Gun Possession in Thailand: Legislation, Enforcement, Black Market

Up to now few years, Thailand has skilled three horrendous mass shootings. A soldier of the Royal Thai Military dedicated the primary, in 2020. He killed 30 individuals and wounded 58 others earlier than he was finally shot and killed (1).

In 2022, the Nong Bua Lamphu nursery bloodbath claimed the lives of 36 individuals, together with 22 kids. It’s the deadliest mass homicide by a single perpetrator within the trendy historical past of Thailand. The perpetrator was a former police sergeant and drug addict (2).

In 2023, a taking pictures occurred on the well-known Siam Paragon mall. A 14-year-old boy with a historical past of psychological sickness killed two individuals and injured 5 others. Submit the taking pictures, police discovered an arsenal of weaponry in his room (3).

Consequently, Thai police arrested 4 males suspected of illegally promoting modified firearms to {the teenager}. The lads additionally had unlawful firearms, instruments to switch pistols and narcotics of their possession. Throughout the raid, police additionally discovered livestreaming gear, suggesting that gross sales occurred on social media.

As well as, incidents involving disputes and suicides are frequently reported by the media.

The aforementioned horrific crimes have broken public confidence in gun possession legal guidelines and left many questioning simply how simple it it’s to pay money for a license, or purchase a gun illegally on the black market.

Firearm Possession in Thailand

Thailand has stringent legal guidelines governing the possession and use of firearms. In accordance with the Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, Fireworks, and Imitation of Firearms Act B.E. 2490 (1947), people are prohibited from proudly owning firearms except they acquire a correct license from the authorities. This legislation applies to each Thai residents and foreigners (particular instances) residing within the nation.

Nevertheless, whereas Thais can legally buy and register firearms with a background test, gun possession lacks substantial rules. As soon as granted a gun allow, it stays legitimate indefinitely with out the necessity for renewal.

This atypical method to gun possession, distinct from many different Asian international locations, probably contributes to the proliferation of firearms in Thailand.

Thailand grapples with the next incidence of mass shootings and gun violence in Southeast Asia for a number of causes. Accessibility to firearms is notably simple for navy and police personnel, even off-duty or after leaving service. Former members, no matter psychological well being issues, can purchase weapons by authorities channels, contributing to the prevalence of weapons (4).

The dominion additionally contends with a thriving black market, additional rising the provision of firearms, and its proximity to a neighboring nation embroiled in civil battle exacerbates the state of affairs.


1. Thai Residents

Thai residents are eligible for gun possession below sure circumstances. They should be a minimum of 20 years outdated, have a official purpose for proudly owning a firearm (equivalent to self-defense, sport taking pictures or skilled use), and go a background test. Prison information or a historical past of psychological sickness can and normally do disqualify candidates.

2. Foreigners

Foreigners residing in Thailand are usually prohibited from proudly owning firearms. There are very restricted exceptions, equivalent to diplomats and representatives of international governments.

3. Safety Personnel

Licensed safety personnel are allowed to hold firearms as a part of their career, however these people are topic to thorough background checks and coaching necessities.

Varieties of Firearms

The varieties of firearms out there to the general public are strictly managed. Handguns are extra simply licensed and accessible than rifles or shotguns, and the sale of automated or semi-automatic weapons to civilians is prohibited.

Acquiring a License

  • Utility: Those that meet the eligibility standards should submit an software for a firearms license to the native police station.
  • Background Test: Authorities conduct a radical background test, together with legal and psychological well being evaluations.
  • Coaching: Candidates should bear coaching to make sure they’ll deal with firearms safely.
  • Storage and Use: Firearms should be saved securely when not in use. House owners should additionally adhere to strict rules concerning the transport and use of their firearms.

Capturing Ranges

In Thailand, taking pictures ranges are authorized and controlled. They’re licensed as managed environments for taking pictures observe, coaching and leisure taking pictures.

Ranges function below the purview of presidency authorities such because the Royal Thai Police. These authorities oversee the issuance of licenses for taking pictures ranges and the usage of firearms inside them.

Capturing ranges are usually open to the general public, each residents and vacationers, who want to expertise taking pictures sports activities or observe marksmanship. Customers usually want to fulfill sure standards, equivalent to being of authorized age and never having a legal document.

Overseas vacationers may go to and use these ranges, supplied they meet the mandatory {qualifications} and adjust to the related rules. In actuality, nonetheless, taking pictures ranges aimed toward (no pun supposed) vacationer experiences are simply accessible by all who apply. It’s merely not possible for the vary to precisely test each attendee’s medical and legal historical past.

Certainly, taking pictures ranges in vacationer areas have seen quite a few suicides through the years. In 2015, a British man shot himself on the Thalang vary on Phuket (5). In 2022, a British serviceman shot himself at a Pattaya vary (6). In 2023, a Belgium nationwide shot himself on the Sai Yuan taking pictures vary in Phuket (7).

It is not simply at gun ranges the place international nationals can pay money for weapons. Through the years there have been quite a few expats arrested for unlawful gun possession. In 2023, a New Zealander residing on the island of Koh Samui was arrested after he was discovered with 26 weapons together with an AK and M16 gun (8).

Enforcement & What Now?

Violations may end up in extreme penalties, together with imprisonment. Nevertheless, enforcement clearly is not working. The nation is awash with weapons, largely attributable to on-line gross sales the place sellers use authorized loopholes by promoting “clean weapons”, that are then transformed into stay firing weapons. As well as, weapons are smuggled by neighboring international locations.

Motion is being taken. Jakkapong Sangmanee, the deputy international minister, lately introduced, “The digital ministry will likely be shutting down web sites promoting clean weapons.” Authorities deputy spokesperson, Karom Phonphonklang, added, “The federal government plans to ban imports of clean weapons, BB weapons and imitation firearms, and also will cease issuing further permits for gun imports and permits for possession”.


What are your ideas on gun possession and entry to weapons and taking pictures ranges in Thailand?

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