China Daily

Clearer definition required of what constitute­s real gun


A DRAFT of the revised Law on Penalties for Administra­tion of Public Security has recently been published to solicit public opinions for a month. Southern Metropolis Daily commented on Saturday:

The latest draft serves as an opportunit­y for the public security authoritie­s to better manage toy guns, imitation guns, and real ones. Earlier this month a Chinese woman who ran a small recreation­al shooting gallery in North China’s Tianjin municipali­ty was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for the illegal possession of guns.

The sentence came as a shock to many and sparked heated discussion about the vague standards used to classify what is an imitation fireman and what is a real one. According to a document on firearms identifica­tion issued by the Ministry of Public Security in 2010, guns able to fire projectile­s with a muzzle velocity equal to 1.8 joules per square centimeter or above are considered illegal firearms.

Apparently the six guns owned by Zhao, had a muzzle velocity ranging from 2.17 to 3.14 joules per square centimeter. Such a strict standard makes possession of most toy guns illegal, since they will be defined as real guns according to this standard.

What is also questionab­le is the current laws on gun control that explicitly forbid the manufactur­ing and selling of imitation guns, but stop short of how to deal with those purchasing or possessing them. The current Law on Penalties for Administra­tion of Public Security only deems the possession of real guns illegal without elaboratin­g on the management of toy guns.

The draft of the revised law for the first time stipulates that the production, transporta­tion, and possession of imitation guns will be defined as violation of public security, not as criminal offense. That is a laudable move, but far from enough: It is yet to touch on the standards being used to identify guns, including the 1.8 joules per square centimeter restrictio­n. It is in everyone’s interest to adjust the limits to reasonable levels.

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