(Edited) DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Despite having some of the most rigid gun laws in the world,  Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot to death in an assassination on July 8th, 2022.

The assassin used a crude pipe shotgun he made in his home. The simple firearm was constructed using only a few pipes, electric tape, and wires. According to reports, the firing mechanism for this homemade gun was entirely electronic.

Homemade firearm used in Assassination of Shinzo Abe / Screenshot via Twitter

Several other homemade firearms were found in the home of the assassin. However, these firearms were crude and fell far below the standards of the homemade firearms typically made in the United States.


Shootings are not common in Japan, the isolated island country is home to some of the strictest firearm laws in the world, and despite those laws, there were ten shootings in the year 2021. Most of the shootings that have taken place in Japan have been the result of organized crime. In those ten shootings, only one individual died, and four were injured.

The Japanese Yakuza are primarily responsible for those shootings. The firearms they used in these shootings have typically been smuggled into the country overseas. There is no clear sign that they were involved with the assassin that killed Shinzo Abe. Instead, authorities believe that the shooter acted alone and made these firearms himself.

Retired Los Angeles Police Special Weapons and Tactics Officer Steve Gordon spoke to the Los Angeles Times and raised the alarm on this style of homemade firearms.

“Almost anything can be made in a metal workshop,” Gordon told the Los Angeles Times. “They are just metal and alloy parts.” Gordon would explain that firearms constructed like this are extraordinarily easy to manufacture and have even been seen in prisons.

These firearms are rarely seen in the United States because traditional firearms are readily available, but there have been cases where firearms like this have come up. For example, one man in Folsom State Prison created a .22 cal zip gun using shop equipment.

With evolutions in  3-D printing technology and advanced online guides, homemade firearms of varying quality can be built by just about anyone. As a result, gun control has become an ultimately futile effort.

Despite this fact and the fact that Japan already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, some Japanese politicians are looking to legislate homemade firearms.

Hirokazu Matsuno, chief cabinet secretary, said in a press conference that authorities plan on looking into legislating homemade firearms as part of their examination of the situation that led to the assassination of Shinzo Abe. “We are aware that current regulations strictly restrict firearms, whether handmade or not,” Matsuno said.

This is a genuinely futile effort. Current Japanese regulations made what was done illegal and not just the act of murder committed.

Japanese firearm regulation dictates that you must go through a 12-step process before buying a firearm, with the selection being limited to certain shotguns and air rifles. This process is long and expensive. It is designed to stop most people from ever obtaining a firearm.

If you can obtain the proper licensing in Japan, you are required to keep both the firearm and the ammunition at a local police station. This is because firearms in the country are only allowed for hunting and target shooting. Police are also required to take inventory of the ammunition regularly to ensure that nothing is out on the street.

These regulations came up during the Tokyo Olympics, and many Olympic shooters ran into issues getting practice ammunition into the country. And some felt that they were at a disadvantage during the games due to these difficulties.

Many in the United States have hailed Japan’s lack of gun violence and its strict gun laws, some even suggesting that similar policies can be taken into effect here. Japan’s lack of gun violence correlates with its lack of widespread violence. Incidents like the assassination of Shinzo Abe are shocking because incidents like this are not expected.

This tragedy is a lesson in the futility of gun control, not a lesson in its efficacy. But unfortunately, crudely constructed pipe rifles and zip guns are not something that will go away with a new piece of legislation or political debate.

Gun control does not work. Those who have the will to commit acts of evil will find the means to do so. Furthermore, people who are intent on killing someone are not going to concern themselves with firearm regulations.

Firearm legislation is a moral evil. Yet, those who follow the law are the only people punished by regulations like this. Why? Because those are the people who will follow those laws. It is fundamentally cruel to punish those who have done nothing wrong, and that is all that gun control does.


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