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Legalization of gun ownership not considered: interior minister

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Tien

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Tien

Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) The government will not consider legalizing gun ownership by the country's citizens, Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah said Thursday.
Jiang said the disadvantages of allowing gun ownership outweigh the benefits and that the ministry will only consider allowing security guards to carry firearms.
He was responding to a call by opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Tien to allow law-abiding citizens to own handguns to protect themselves.
Yu claimed that gun smuggling is "quite common" in Taiwan, which he said not only enables gangsters and the wealthy to buy guns easily but also boosts the price of illegal firearms on the black market.
Possession of firearms by the general public would be a great deterrent for mob activity, he said.
In response, National Police Agency (NPA) Director-General Wang Cho-chiun pointed out that social order in Taiwan is not so bad that people need guns to protect themselves.
Meanwhile, Ye Yu-lan, an associate professor at Central Police University, expressed opposition to allowing legal ownership of firearms by citizens, including security guards.
Although there is still controversy over whether Taiwan's citizens should be allowed to bear arms for self defense, there are nonetheless more than 5,000 legally privately owned handguns in the country, according to statistics released that day by the NPA.
Of the total privately owned guns, 1,000 are for self-defense and 4,000 are used by aboriginal people for hunting, according to the agency.
The number of privately owned guns has been decreasing year on year because of strict domestic regulations on private ownership of firearms, an agency official added.
The Statute for Management of Self-Defense Firearms was originally enacted as many people brought guns with them when they retreated to Taiwan along with the Kuomintang government in 1949 after losing the Chinese civil war to the Communist Party of China.
Under the statute, people who own private arms are required to receive a regular inspection every two years as well as random inspections by the police.
(By Lin Kun-hsu and Y.L. Kao)