6 June 2024

The Ministry of Interior has agreed to impose a set of measures to control the importation, trade and ownership of blank-firing and BB guns, additional controls on the issuance of gun permits and a ban on youths under 20 entering shooting ranges.

The measures, specifically for blank-firing and BB guns, are in response to the shootings at the Siam Paragon shopping mall on Tuesday, in which the suspected shooter, a 14-year-old boy, used a modified blank-firing gun, bought online from a seller in Yala province, to indiscriminately shoot shoppers, killing one Chinese and one Myanmar national and injuring five other people, two of whom are in serious conditions.

Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said today (Thursday) that he met with relevant agencies to discuss both short and long term measures to control such weapons, to prevent them from being illegally modified to fire live ammunition.

He said that the eight short term measures include:
• Owners of blank and BB guns which can be modified to fire live ammunition will be required to declare the guns in their possession and to have them registered with firearms officials in their locality.
• All firearms registration officials (the director-general of Provincial Administration Department in the case of Bangkok and district chief officers in the provinces) will be instructed not to issue new import or trading permits to current importers or traders of blank-firing or BB guns. Permits for new importers or traders will also be suspended.
• The Customs Department will be asked to check imports of gun replicas, particularly blank-firing and BB guns which can be modified to fire live ammunition.
• All registered shooting ranges must make sure that no one under 20 is allowed on the premises, unless they are competition shooters, and that all guns brought into the ranges are legitimate. Any ammunition purchased at shooting ranges may not be taken out of the ranges.
• Provincial governors and the national police chief must not issue licenses to carry firearms to any individual. New permits for the import of firearms for existing gun shops will be suspended and the Ministry of Interior will end its policy of allowing state enterprises to import guns tax-free for its officials under the gun welfare scheme.

For the long term, Anutin said that the existing Firearms Act B.E. 2490 (1947) will be amended to require a gun buyer to produce a doctor’s certificate stating that they are mentally fit to own a gun.

Existing gun owners may be required to bring their firearms to be checked every five or ten years for the renewal of their gun licenses, like driving permits, said the interior minister, adding that all gun owners may be required to bring their guns for shooting tests and for fingerprint identification.

Gun replicas will be redefined, to distinguish them from blank-firing or BB guns which can be modified to fire live ammunition.