Only 8% of licensed guns in Macau are in the possession of ‘common citizens’

Only 8.2% of all licensed guns for personal protection use are in the possession of “common citizens,” the Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak said in reply to inquiries from several lawmakers.

Wong explained that until January 13 this year, there were a total of 1,486 guns licensed in Macau for personal protection, of which, only 122 are in the hands of common citizens. “The others are in the possession of police authorities and other members of the Macau Security Force as well as legislators, among others that claim a need of a gun due to professional duties,” he remarked.

Wong was at the Legislative Assembly (AL) to present the bill on the Legal framework for gun control and related matters.

At the request of lawmakers, the Secretary also conducted a review of the evolution of the number of personal gun licenses approved in Macau over the years, noting that back in 1999 there were a total of 2,070 licensed guns, a figure that had grown significantly to 2,794 by 2014.

Wong explained that in 2011 the government substantially increased the requirements for the issuing of these licenses, a fact that led to a consistent drop that we are still seeing today.

“We increased our requirements from 2011 and started to request more documents and procedures. Some people found this inconvenient and withdrew their requests. From 2014 to 2023 there was a reduction of almost 1,000 guns. This is good news. We don’t want too many guns out there. This is not a good thing,” Wong said.

In the initial explanation and justification of the bill, the secretary noted that the new bill aims to update the current law that is over 20 years old and has several shortfalls. The new law is a way to “correct these shortfalls to better protect the population.”

Another of the matters highlighted was the possession and use of guns for sports activities. The government said that the new bill will reduce the minimum age to have access to a sport gun license to 16 years old (instead of the current 18).

The Government’s justification for lowering the age limit is to facilitate the participation of young people in sports activities. Noting that in other countries the minimum age is only 14, the representatives from the Macau Security Force said that there are no intentions to “further relax this age limit.” They explained that at 15 one can request participation in sports activities involving shooting, but participation in a one-year training process is required, that will then conclude with the issuing of a license at 16 for competition.

The new law that was passed unanimously on the first reading yesterday also includes a new license for those who wish to acquire antique guns and for others who collect them, something that did not exist in the previous law and will now be added.

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