Gun Ownership is Common in Thailand, But Shootings Are Not

Mass shootings are rare in Thailand, but in a country with millions of guns, authorities have long worried about the possibility of more gun violence.

There were over 10.3 million privately owned firearms in Thailand in 2017, according to a survey by, a non-profit organization based at the University of Sydney. Only about six million of them have been registered.

The rate of private firearm ownership in Thailand that year was about 15 guns for every 100 private citizens, the group said. That is much less compared to the U.S. rate of 120 guns per 100 people in the same year.

But Thailand, a Buddhist country with a population of about 69 million, has the highest rates of gun ownership and gun homicide in Asia. This is also a key underground weapons market in Southeast Asia.

While mass shootings are rare in Thailand, violence has flared up for years in the three southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia, where a group of Malay Muslim insurgents is battling armed forces. security. The attacks there took the form of mass shootings; ambush security checkpoints; and bombing military outposts, shopping malls, hotels and other crowded places.

In 2019, one gunman killed at least 15 people at a security checkpoint in Yala province, in the south of the country, the worst outbreak of violence in that region in years.


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