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Freelance journalist based in Istanbul. Keeping an eye on Turkish politics and development.
In this piece for The New York Times , Audrey Carlsen and Sahil Chinoy point out how easy it is to buy a gun in the U.S. compared to other countries around the world.
For each country, we see the basic steps most people follow to get a gun, with comments on the side.
For example, in Austria, the last step before purchasing a gun requires waiting three days before picking it up. These "cool off" periods are intended to reduce impulsive violence. In Canada, 'step 3' requires giving at least two references. In addition, Canadians must list all the partners they have lived with in the last two years, all of whom must sign the application or be notified by the police before the purchase is accepted.
While many countries have at least 5 steps – 12 steps in the case of Japan – to follow before getting a gun, Americans only need to pass an instant background check before going to the store. In Yemen, not even that.
"Yemen has the second-highest gun ownership rate in the world, after the United States."
Of course, making the process longer doesn't mean that it is necessarily more difficult to get a gun. Mexico or South Africa, for example, have thriving black markets for guns.
"Only one store in Mexico sells guns legally, compared with more than 50,000 retail stores in the United States."
However, it is interesting to see the alarming number of firearms-related incidents in the U.S. – where getting a gun takes only 2 steps – vs. the number of isolated incidents occurring in countries with a stronger and efficient arms control framework.