Home / Opinion / Opinion Line

Clearer definition required of what constitutes real gun

China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-23 07:29

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.

Most Viewed in 24 Hours