The National Legislative Assembly has passed amendments to the Firearms Act that will prohibit foreigners from seeking a permit to have and use a gun in Thailand. (File photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Thursday passed amendments to the firearms law which ban foreigners living in Thailand from having and using guns and also place controls on fireworks and Bang Fai rockets.
The previous version of the Firearms, Bullets, Explosive Objects, Fireworks and Fake Firearms Act did not require people who want to have or use a gun to be Thai nationals. Consequently foreigners living in Thailand were able to seek permission to have and use guns.
The newly amended law requires Thai nationality.
Gen Ood Buengbon, head of the NLA’s committee scrutinising the amendments, said the new law would not have any impact on those already having permits before its promulgation in the Royal Gazette, expected within 90 days.
Foreigners are able to practice at shooting ranges, he said.
The new law also expands controls to silencers, soft bullets and Bang Fai homemade rockets and spinning wheels.
Sound suppressors are controlled because they have become popular and people are unaware when there is a crime. Soft bullets are included because their impact is similar to bullets. Bang Fai rockets are regulated because the competitions are widespread and potentially threaten life, property and aircraft.
Authorities will set weight limits for the gunpowder in Bang Fai and criteria for gunpowder purchase and transport.
Under the law, those threatening others by misleading them into believing they have a gun, bullets or explosive, or that a bomb has been planted, are liable to a jail term of up to three years and/or a fine of up to 60,000 baht. Other offences under the law carry a jail term of 1-20 years.
The NLA passed the third reading of the amending bill on Thursday with 201 votes. There were five abstentions and one NLA member voted against it.