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20 Countries With The Easiest Gun Laws In The World

In this article, we shall discuss 20 countries with the easiest gun laws in the world. To skip our detailed analysis of the global arms and ammunition market, and the defense industry in general, go directly and see 5 Countries With the Easiest Gun Laws in the World.

The global ammunition industry was valued at more than $33.2 billion in 2022 and is estimated to reach $45.2 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 3.95% during the forecast period. Demand for defensive equipment in militaries is skyrocketing owing to geopolitical tensions in Europe and the Middle East. India is emerging as a huge market for ammunition and as one of the countries with the easiest gun laws in the world, with the country's military looking to expand the number of artilleries and mortar platforms over the period of the next ten years through indigenous development projects. Tensions in the Middle East are expected to fuel regional demand for arms. Some of the most prominent players in the global ammunition industry are Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ:CLAR), Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE:RGR), and Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. (NASDAQ:SWBI). You can read more on the global ammunitions industry in our article 15 Biggest Gun Companies in the World.

The global ammunitions market is divided into three primary segments which are predicated on the basis of weaponry caliber: small, medium, and big. The small caliber segment boasted the highest market share in 2022 owing to rising terrorism, increasing political upheaval, and skyrocketing defense spending owing to great geopolitical turbulence. During the forecast period 2022-2030, the small caliber segment of the market is expected to grow exponentially especially in some of the countries with the easiest gun laws in the world. The medium caliber segment of the market includes high performance 20mm, 25mm, 30mm, and 40mm cartridges capable of bursting through light armor, material, and human targets in a diverse variety of circumstances on land, in the air, or in the sea. In 2022, the defense end-use sector accounted for a major portion of the global market share for ammunition, with the centerfire category topping the overall market in 2021.

Reducing Obsolescence Expenditure: An Analysis

According to McKinsey, producers and manufacturers operating within the aerospace and defense industry (A&D) face a complex challenge, in that they tend to deal in highly advanced, complex technology which have extremely long life cycles that often surpass the thirty-year mark. During this time period, companies operating within this highly complex industry need to focus on legacy-parts support. However, internal components for these systems, which includes semiconductors, electronic boards, and mechanical parts, have extremely limited life spans, lasting for five years or less. This disparity is known as the "two-speed" challenge, where components tend to become more complicated to secure with the passage of time and suppliers struggle to obtain raw materials or consider stopping the manufacturing process as a whole. Hence, it falls to OEMs to design replacements for obsolete components and in the process, face nonrecurring engineering costs. The report highlights that the total obsolescence-related nonrecurring cost for the military aircraft sector alone lies in the range of $70 billion, based on an in-depth model which takes into considering the type of aircraft, generation, and the estimated time the aircraft in question has remained in service. However, companies like Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ:CLAR), Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE:RGR), and Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. (NASDAQ:SWBI) are beginning to undertake a proactive and systematic approach which can duly address obsolescence-related expenditure as a whole. According to a report by McKinsey, these companies engage in a meticulously structured approach to reduce costs for obsolete components so that they are well-positioned to capitalize on the huge market potential in many of the countries with the easiest gun laws in the world.

The structured approach highlighted by McKinsey identifies that the first step to dealing with obsolete components is to identify potential alternative supplies for the respective component. This is one of the most popular solutions that companies use to circumvent additional cost since it avoids virtually all expense which is conventionally associated with engineering. Once the component has been identified, each potential supplier must engage in a rigorous screening process to verify its capacities, capabilities and qualifications. The screening often tends to include the validation of process quality, anticounterfeit measures, parts traceability, and a supplier's positionality and capability to export into key manufacturing regions such as the EU and the United States.

Another strategy companies like Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ:CLAR), Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE:RGR), and Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. (NASDAQ:SWBI) tend to deploy is that once a component is nearing obsolescence, the companies engage in extensive searches for a product close in fit, form, and function (FFF) to the obsolete component. This seriously reduces any nonrecurring engineering costs and avoids a complete upheaval of the current design. To make the searching process as efficient as possible, companies usually employ the assistance and expertise of certain in-field experts who excel in assessing the availability of FFF components for specific technical areas and commodities. In the event that an exact or FFF replacement is unavailable, companies may also redesign a new working component for themselves while minimizing expenditure and containing any disruption to the existing system design. This is done in the backdrop of certain precautionary measures like conducting cross-functional, design-to value workshops for the components the company is considering. Design experts and cost engineers are brought on board fairly prematurely in the process which further holds down the process's time, cost, and complexity.

Countering the Labor Challenge: An Overview

According to another report by McKinsey, the A&D industry has faced a surging competition for the best talent even in countries with the easiest gun laws in the world, with tech companies and start-ups alluring young talent with more compelling value propositions. Persistent labor challenges in the face of an incredibly tenuous macroeconomic climate and skyrocketing demand has proven to be a serious rate limiter to growth and performance within the aerospace and defense industry.

McKinsey highlights some of the drivers affecting the A&D labor market, one of them being a fast changing demographic. A giant flood of retirements is on the horizon, with more than 40% of industry employees nearing the age of 55 or above. This has resulted in a drastic shift in employee preferences for the typology of career and work conditions, especially amongst the younger lot which are just beginning to enter the workforce. Even younger employees from countries with the easiest gun laws in the world simply do not prefer a career in the A&D industry and are opting for more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. Another powerful factor molding the labor market is an increased willingness to switch, especially post the COVID-19 pandemic. Termed 'The Great Resignation', more than half of employees globally have been thinking about switching jobs by March 2024 with younger employees twice as likely to make the jump compared to their veteran counterparts. This is likely to result in a sharp fall in talent replacement rates. In this vein, top players like Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ:CLAR), Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE:RGR), and Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. (NASDAQ:SWBI) are beginning to take radical action by effectively showcasing advantages, developing and continuously reskilling talent at scale, and establishing mechanisms which cater to long-term employee retention. You can read more on the labor shortage affecting the A&D industry in our article 20 States with the Most Guns Per Capita.

Photo by STNGR Industries on Unsplash

Our Methodology

To compile our list of 20 countries with the easiest gun laws in the world, we undertook a consensus-based approach to compile a list of 100 countries which have the most gun violence. The primary assumption was based on the findings from our article Guns per Capita by Country Vs Crime Rate: Top 20 Countries, which concluded that countries with the easiest gun laws in the world will necessarily have more gun violence compared to countries which are more restrictive with respect to gun ownership. To compile this primary list, we used a variety of credible sources and databases (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Then, we proceeded to evaluate the regulatory framework in each country with respect to ownership and use of firearms. Since ease of gun legislation is an incredibly multifaceted and complex phenomenon, we established a five-pronged criteria to measure the ease of gun laws in each country; the criteria is premised on the ease of obtaining a firearm license in each country (20 points), registration requirements (15 points), thoroughness of background checks (10 points), types of firearms allowed (5 points), and robustness of self-defense laws (2 points). For countries which have a constitutional protection in place for gun ownership, we gave a bonus of five points. We then proceeded to award each country a cumulative score according to the aforementioned criteria and selected 20 countries which scored the highest points. Subsequently, we ranked each entry based on the total points scored, from lowest to highest. Where there was a tie, we broke it based on the ease of obtaining a firearm license in the respective countries.

Countries With The Easiest Gun Laws In The World

20. Austria

Total Score: 21

In Austria, an individual needs a carry permit to own and bear open and concealed-carry across the country. After the age of 18, an individual can easily carry certain kinds of guns for the purpose of hunting or sports.

19. Estonia 

Total Score: 23

In Estonia, the Weapons Act allows citizens above the age of 18 to apply for a firearm permit. These permits are issued by local governments. A temporary or permanent residency is required to own a gun in the country.

18. Honduras

Total Score: 24

Laws in Honduras allow citizens to own certain guns for the purpose of self-defense; however, the country banned open and concealed-carry in 2007. Nevertheless, Honduras has one of the easiest gun laws in the world.

17. Uruguay 

Total Score: 27

Being the one of the most armed countries in South America, Uruguay carries out thorough background checks to issue a gun license. These checks cover criminal records, medical certificates, and a certificate proving basic knowledge of handling arms.

16. Serbia 

Total Score: 28

Serbia has the second-highest gun ownership rate in the world. This is because of the relaxed gun laws in the country. Furthermore, citizens are permitted to own a concealed and open-carry if they have a genuine reason to believe that their life is in danger.   

15. Sweden

Total Score: 32

The hunting culture in Sweden is one of the strongest in the world which is why around one-third of Sweden’s population owns ammunition. To obtain a gun license, one needs to fulfill certain criteria, which includes passing a written test, a shooting test, joining a gun club, and having a clean criminal record. 

14. Yemen

Total Score: 33

Yemen’s gun laws are highly non-restrictive, making it one of the countries with the easiest gun laws in the world. To own a gun, a license is not required; however, to carry a gun in urban areas, one needs a state-issued license.  

13. Bosnia and Herzegovina 

Total Score: 34

Approximately 31% of the population in Bosnia and Herzegovina own a gun. This is because the process of obtaining a gun license is sufficiently convenient as it only requires a permit that is issued by the local police. 

12. France 

Total Score: 35

The criteria to obtain a gun license in France is fairly uncomplicated but thoroughly detailed. One needs to be above the age of 18, be associated with a shooting range, complete the designated training, and pass a medical exam to own a gun.

11. Finland 

Total Score: 35

Finland is famous for its hunting tradition and many individuals can obtain a gun license for the purpose of hunting, making Finland one of the countries with the easiest gun laws in the world. However, in order to get a gun license, one needs to go through rigorous background checks and should have no criminal record. 

10. Argentina 

Total Score: 36

In order to obtain a gun license in Argentina, an individual needs a temporary or permanent residency and a genuine reason to own a gun. However, it is extremely rare to obtain a permit for concealed carry.

9. Norway 

Total Score: 38

In Norway, guns are permitted for the purpose of hunting or sports. One can obtain a special permit to own a semi-automatic gun by passing an exam and going through training. 

8. Panama 

Total Score: 39

Since Panama is a small country, there are only a few gun stores in the country. However, the gun laws are extremely relaxed as concealed-carry permits are extremely easy to obtain and semi-automatic arms can easily be owned via a special license. 

7. Italy

Total Score: 40

To own a gun in Italy, one needs to obtain a gun license. Obtaining a license requires an individual to go through a background check in which they are required to meet certain criteria, which include being mentally fit and not being a drug or alcohol abuser. 

6. Canada

Total Score: 42

To obtain a gun license in Canada, one needs to go through several background checks. Even though it is relatively easy to possess a gun in Canada, there are several restrictions. Some of these restrictions entail that a concealed carry can be owned by citizens; however, semi-automatic guns require special permits and training. Canada is number 6 on our list of countries with the easiest gun laws in the world. 

Click here to continue reading and see 5 Countries With the Easiest Gun Laws in the World.   Suggested Articles:


Disclosure: None. 20 Countries With the Easiest Gun Laws in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.