Japan's Abe murder sparks calls for tighter regulation

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Japan's Abe murder sparks calls for tighter regulation

The handgun confiscated at the scene of the murder of Shinzo Abe on July 8 Mami Ueda Japan tightly regulates making and possessing firearms, but the July 8 slaying of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has brought to light how some members of the public have bypassed the stringent rules.

Sources said Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, who is suspected of shooting Abe, learned how to make weapons from watching videos on the internet.

One gun critic suggested that the shooting could spark new efforts to clamp down on the manufacture of homemade guns.

There isn't a law regulating what people post on the internet, so it's almost left unchecked, said Tetsuya Tsuda, firearms critic. There have been incidents involving homemade guns before, but did not become a major social problem. This latest incident is likely to increase calls for a tighter regulation. The possession and use of a gun is forbidden in principle. The exceptions are hunting and eradicating harmful wild animals. They require strict screenings and permission from the public safety commission of their prefecture.

Manuals and videos that explain how to manufacture guns with available materials are readily accessible online, and many videos posted on YouTube outline the process for making a gun. How do you mix gunpowder?

One of these instructional videos in English on YouTube outlines the necessary materials and ingredients needed to make gunpowder. It takes just over five minutes to complete the process. The video has been viewed 2.84 million times since it was posted nine years ago.

Nara prefectural police said that Yamagami had watched videos like this when he built his own arsenal of homemade guns.

One 28 year old YouTube content creator and gun enthusiast has posted videos explaining the principles behind constructing rifles and shotguns. He said the knowledge is available to the public.

The information is easily accessible, just as the structure of guns is on the license exam. If industrial skills and knowledge are misused, it could help produce guns, he said.

How much information should be regulated is the question, he stated. He did not post a video detailing how to make guns.

YouTube has a policy on firearms and does not allow the posting of videos explaining how to make guns.

Repeat violations can result in channel or account termination if the content is removed from the channel or account.

The public relations department of Google, which operates YouTube, said that context is important when it comes to the application of the policy for removing content.

All the necessary materials can be easily obtained from gun manufacturing methods that are readily accessible online.

The structure of a gun is simple and can be made from various materials, Tsuda said. It would be hard to introduce a license system for purchasing every single material. The two barrels of the gun used to slay Abe, which were made of two pipes, were held together with adhesive tape, while the gunpowder was made by blending a mixture of chemical compounds.

For example, pipes and tape can be purchased at home centers. Yamagami purchased these materials online.

Yamagami's case is not the only case where people have made guns from scratch.

In 2018, a company employee in Himeji, who was 23 at the time, was arrested for illegally manufacturing guns and sentenced to a prison term. He learned how to make the weapons from commercially available materials by watching a video site.

In the same year, Aichi prefectural police arrested a 19-year-old university freshman for concealing guns he made with a 3 D printer and manufacturing high-performance explosives. He was sent to prison.