Guns around the globe

International students discuss firearm norms

With the constant debate over what should be done about U.S. gun control, students discuss whether the solution can be found by looking at the laws of other nations.

Ferris political science professor and co-coordinator of the Political Engagement Project Dr. Griffin moderated the discussion with a panel of several international students on Feb. 20 in BUS 111.

Students in the discussion represented the following countries: Germany, Botswana, Bosnia, China, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

Tim Herbers, an international student from Germany, discussed his country’s conservative gun law and its effects on the crime rate. Gun ownership and hunters’ licenses are available, but it is very difficult and expensive to obtain one. This law is very similar to that of Bosnia.

“I think that the availability of guns simply causes crime,” Herbers said, “Weapons are connected with the casual learning of aggression.”

Germany’s strict gun laws may be working for them; however, Bosnia’s regulations aren’t holding up.

Bosnia representative Edin Heric said the violence is through the roof in his country, and many of the murders happen with underage teens who receive little to no punishment.

“The problem is, in my opinion, the laws have to go hand in hand,” Heric said. “If you’re going to have a strict law on how to get a gun, you also need to have a strict law in general about what happens when someone gets caught smuggling or when someone has an illegal gun.”

Shady Amer, the representative from Saudi Arabia, demonstrated the strict consequences that Heric mentioned.

According to Amer, guns are rarely seen in his country. He said he only knows a couple people who have guns.

“The law over there is so strict that if someone kills and if proven 100 percent, they’ll be executed,” Amer said.

He claimed the strict law of Saudi Arabia is the reason people aren’t afraid to leave their car running while at the gas station or market.

“It’s not about having a gun or not having a gun, it’s about the consequences,” Amer said.

He said people in Saudi Arabia have no need for firearms because they trust their government to protect them.

“If there’s a strong punishment for people who go against the law, people will think a hundred times before [committing] a crime,” Amer said.

Yiwei Zhang defined a dramatic difference in the timeline of gun control in China.

He said when the republic of China was founded, the rights for a citizen of China to own a gun were stripped from them.

“I would say China is a very safe place right now,” Zhang said.

The Vietnam representative, Ino Vu, said in Vietnam, the only gun a person can own is a shotgun.

Even then, the citizen must be at least 18 years old, physically and mentally tested, and must provide a valid reason of why they need a gun.

“If you got caught carrying a gun and you aren’t a police officer or a soldier, you would be put in jail for a long time,” Vu said.

According to Botswana representative Setso Ntsuke, people in Botswana don’t find guns a necessity because crime isn’t a problem for them.

“Dialogue is the most effective method of resolve,” Ntsuke said.

Crime isn’t as much of a problem in Botswana because of the culture of people, according to Ntsuke.

“The thought or the notion of just saying ‘I will fight you’ or ‘I will do this against you’ doesn’t cross our minds because we see each other as family,” Ntsuke said.

After an hour and a half long Q&A session, a unanimous conclusion was reached that all of these aspects and opinions are directly related to one’s culture.

The gun panel discussion was jointly sponsored by the Political Engagement Project and the Office of International Education.