How strict are the gun laws in Malaysia?

In less than a week after the Christchurch terror attacks that claimed 50 lives, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an immediate ban on military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles in New Zealand.


Meanwhile, how about the gun laws in Malaysia? Are they strict enough to prevent terror attacks in the nation?


Back in 2013, local crime watchdog MyWatch alleged that the rising shooting cases in Malaysia was because of the firearms obtained through rental services, black markets, and gun smugglings from across Thailand.


All this is because Malaysia is said to have one of the strictest gun laws in the world. So, let’s take a look at these gun laws.


There are two acts that control gun possession in Malaysia; The Arms Act (1960) and The Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act (1971).


The Arms Act (1960) states that a license is needed if one wishes to own a gun or any type of firearms, or to have anything related to guns including manufacturing, importing, exporting and even repairing.


A gun license, in the form of permission in writing, can only be granted by the Chief Police Officer of a state after an application form has been submitted to the District Police Headquarters.


Submitting an application may sound easy, but getting it approved is a whole different story.


One application may take years to be processed, with an approval not even promised to be the end result.


On top of that, The Firearms Act (1971) deals with the gun-related crimes, such as extortion, robbery, resisting arrest, and house breaking.


The punishment for such crimes is death penalty for committers and their accomplices. Exhibition of firearms to commit offences (without actually using them) will be subjected to life imprisonment and six strokes of the cane.


Nevertheless, there are still a number of Malaysians who privately possess firearms.


Malaysia, Malaysia Indicator, gun, law, firearm, Christchurch


Out of 107,725 privately owned firearms, 14,706 are handguns, 70,876 are shotguns, and the rest are rifles.


Malaysia, Malaysia Indicator, gun, law, firearm, Christchurch


But when compared to the other neighboring countries, Malaysia has a low number of citizens who possessed firearms. Singapore has lesser individuals who possessed guns with 22,000 people. However, the nation has much lesser population. Looking at the rate of privately-owned firearms per 100 population, Malaysia has the least ratio, with only 0.35:100.


Overall, the strict gun laws in Malaysia do help in ensuring the security of the people as firearms cannot be easily obtained legally.