6 June 2024

The Ministry of Interior is considering tighter gun controls, by requiring every gun license applicant to have a doctor’s certificate indicating that they are mentally fit and a certificate from their employer, village headman or superior about their character, in addition to the existing pre-qualifications, said Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda today (Monday).  

His remark was in response to a question raised by Senator Amphon Jindawatthana during a Senate meeting today, regarding gun-related crime.

The minister said that, currently, an applicant must meet certain requirements in order to be granted a license to buy a gun, such as not being sentenced to imprisonment, not being an incompetent person or a person who has committed gross misconduct.

After having owned a gun for several years, he said that a person can change or his behaviour can change or they could become addicted to illicit drugs or gambling.

Therefore, a license which is valid for life may not be enough, said the minister, adding that a gun-owner should be subject to periodic medical checks of his mental condition, such as every 3-5 years, to determine whether they are still mentally stable enough to own a gun.

Citing statistics for gun-related violence for 2022, General Anupong said that 98.5% of the cases involved illegal firearms, as he stressed the urgent need to address this problem.

He said that one of the solutions would be to grant an amnesty to those in possession of illegal guns if they surrender them to the state. Another solution is to crack down hard on the online sale of guns, which is illegal.

He also said that increased penalties should be introduced for possessing illegal firearms and carrying firearms in public, as a deterrent against the illegal acts.