Korean Law Demystified!

South Korea’s Gun Laws (in a Nutshell)

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The possession of firearms is generally forbidden in South Korea. The law specifically lists people who are allowed possession. They are:

1) Soldiers, Law enforcement officers, Secret service agents, etc…

2) Licensed manufacturers, sellers, renters, import/exporters…

3) People in possession of a cultural asset, Some educators/researchers, Customers at a private shooting range, Rope rescue operators, Some manufacturers in R&D…

And these are people who require a permit (from police):

1) Shooting sports athletes, Licensed hunters, Bird control experts…

2) People who need it for construction, Some security guards…

3) People who need it temporarily as a prop (for a play, movie)…

4) Also temporary: People departing from / arriving in South Korea to participate in shooting sports events, Guards accompanying/escorting dignitaries (from abroad)…

5) People who need it for self-defense (but only those who can prove they are at risk due to nature of work or social status)…

NOTE: Firearms (and bullets) are to be stored at a place specifically designated by the police, and the police must okay each/every use beforehand. Also, it’s a crime to fire a gun inconsistently with its approved use. There was a recent case in which the court said even “dry firing” can be interpreted as such.

Finally, these people are explicitly forbidden:

1) People under the age of 20 (Note: There is an exception for shooting sports athletes)…

2) People with intellectual disability, Addicts (drugs/alcohol), People with mental disorder…

3) People who have been found guilty of certain crimes and a certain number of years hasn’t elapsed yet…

4) People deemed dangerous (to the public) by the police…

The photo at the top was taken in Chicago. I’ve never seen anything like that here in Korea. Maybe because it’s implied.


DID YOU KNOW? 총포ㆍ도검ㆍ화약류 등의 안전관리에 관한 법률 (+시행령/시행규칙) actually regulate not only firearms but also swords, gunpowder, sprays, tasers, and crossbows. FYI, possession of pepper spray for self-defense is legal (in South Korea) but you need a permit (from police). DID YOU KNOW? Replica firearms are also generally forbidden in South Korea!


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Thanks for reading!

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