South Korea: Mental, Criminal Background Checks Did Not Stop Gunmen

Raised Gun self-defense AP Photo/Seth Wenig
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

In the wake of two shootings that left a total of eight people dead, including the gunmen, South Korean officials are considering an all-out ban on storage of firearms in homes and mulling the placement of a GPS monitor on every firearm in the country.

According to, South Korea already has “restrictive” gun control, which includes measures forcing would-be gun owners to provide a reason for wanting a firearm, undergoing criminal and mental background checks, registering their firearms, state “tracing and tracking” of firearms, and a mandate that each firearm bear “a unique identifying mark.”

Of the 163,000 firearms currently registered in South Korea, more than half of them are air rifles, 37,000 of them are shotguns, “with the rest being pistols.” And there is no right to own a gun guaranteed by law or constitution.

The Korea Times shows the gun laws and the minimal number of real firearms did nothing to dissuade a gunman “surnamed Kang” on February 25 and another “surnamed Jeon” on February 27. Kang killed “his ex-girlfriend’s brother, her 74-year-old father and her boyfriend,” and Jeon killed his oldest brother, his sister-in-law, and a police officer. Each gunman shot himself after killing his victims.

So South Korean officials are pushing more gun control to correct the failures of gun control.

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