On November 30, 2010, in Tucson, Arizona, suspected gunman Jared Loughner was able to buy a Glock 19 semiautomatic handgun, which he then outfitted with a special extended magazine that afforded him 18 more bullets than a standard magazine would have. In light of Saturday’s massacre, we thought we would remind you of the places Loughner wouldn’t have been able to legally buy a gun, and why.
China: China has a blanket ban on all gun ownership by private citizens—perfect for suppressing an uprising, but also perfecting for suppressing mad gunmen.
India: People who apply for a gun license in India have to prove a “grave and imminent threat” to their lives in order to be approved. Most cannot.
Germany: To buy a gun in Germany, anyone under the age of 25 has to pass a psychological exam (which Loughner would probably have failed). You also have to answer a 4,000-question licensing exam.
Finland: Handgun license applicants in Finland, which has some of Europe’s slackest gun laws, are only allowed to purchase firearms if they can prove they are active members of regulated shooting clubs. What’s more, applicants have to provide two references, both of whom are interviewed before they can get a gun.
Italy: Again, Italy’s requirement that gun owners be screened by mental health professionals would surely have weeded out Loughner.
United Kingdom: Handguns are illegal in the United Kingdom, with most citizens agreeing police shouldn’t even carry them routinely.
Japan: Japan also outlaws handguns, allowing licensed citizens who have passed a mental exam to purchase only shotguns for hunting. Unlicensed citizens aren’t even allowed to touch a gun.
South Africa: Though guns are legal in South Africa, it’s nearly impossible for private citizens to get one. Wannabe gun owners must first offer up three references for police interview, and guns are denied automatically to known drug abusers (Loughner’s drug use kept him out of the military).
Luxembourg: All guns are banned in Luxembourg.
France: Firearms applicants in France must have no criminal record and a clean bill of health from a mental health professional. Once again, Loughner would have failed on both accounts.
Spain: Not only would Loughner have failed Spain’s medical exam, following a shooting spree in December that killed four people, new gun sanctions on the table would restrict anyone from owning a semiautomatic weapon that holds three or more bullets.
California, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, and Chicago: All of these places prohibit the kind of extended magazine that gave Loughner 33 shots instead of 15.