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10 Best Countries for Gun Owners

by Kyle Wintersteen   |  July 16th, 2014 68

gun-friendly-countryYou can tell a lot about a national government by its trust of law-abiding, armed citizens.

Nations with a functioning government in place were considered and judged based on their rates of civilian firearm ownership, open or concealed carry legislation and other factors.

Here are ten of the world’s best countries for gun owners.


Best States for Gun Owners 2014

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  • Ted Kempster

    Austria didn’t make the cut?

    • Simon Fowler

      I live in Austria and the laws are quite weapon frindly still.

  • Noir

    There are few other European countries that should make the list: Slovakia should take place right behind its Czech twin – it has “may-issue ccw” that is nearly “shall issue” in practise. Estonia is quite similar. Austria has “over the counter” rifle and shotgun purchase without licencing, ccw is bit more difficult. Switzerland is much better than USA for Full-autos, no ccw for commoner though.
    CZ has shall issue (and up to 2012 it had more ccw licences per capita than e.g. Texas), absence of gun-free zones is big plus too..
    Would be interesting to compare countries to separate US states.

  • Sam

    England? Are you nuts?

    • Dj

      I think you read the country wrong, Finland* probably it’s fairly similar to England

  • John Micheal Stacey

    Why wasn’t New Zeeland on the list?

    • Noir

      Any particular reason Zeeland has better laws than e.g. absent France? Or Germany, Belgium etc?

      • Rich

        If I may : it’s “Zealand”

    • Edward_L

      NZ regulates you like a driver’s licence rather than registering the weapon. The police do turn up and check you have a proper lock up box bolted to the wall, before they give you a licence.

    • 3bola

      Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan should’ve been included too. They maybe war-thorn countries, but legally speaking they have extremely few limitations, even on fully automatics. You might think, “oh if you include Yemen, why not include Congo and the entire Africa…”, well Congo — although laws are rarely enforced — has strict gun laws. Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan barely has gun laws.

    • Larry Bishop

      New Zealand is a country?

  • Soren Franson

    I see some incorrect info. Semi-auto rifles is not a problem in Finland (the Finns usually rule the IPSC Rifle matches throughout Europe using AR15 rifles). Also, suppressors are not restricted at all in Finland.

    As to Sweden,first off the numbers are severely outdated, but nevertheless no special permit is required for semi-auto rifles aside from the regular permit. Suppressors for hunting are also quite easy to get a permit for. Also, the limitations on the number of firearms are 6 firearms for hunting + 10 firearms for competition. All firearms have to be stored in gunsafes, and the basic/minimum size safe is rated for 20 “points”, which means 20 rifles/shotguns (each worth 1 “point”), 10 pistols/revolvers (each worth 2 “points,”) and 5 full-auto firearms (each worth 4 points. Yup, you can get permits for those too.)

  • 2 Minutes 2 Midnight

    Αυτά είναι, άντε και στα δικά μας σύντομα!

  • Tenzin Rob Lowery Gyaltsen

    Belize has very pro gun laws. They even allow conceal carry for those with moderate income. Granted parts of the country you will need to be armed to make it out alive. Ambergris Key is a nice area with plenty of American friends.

  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    Some incorrect Info about Norway. It is “shall-issue”, so without any reason NOT to own a gun, you will be permitted.

    You can own any number of handguns you can prove a reason to own. If you are a member of all the divisions and branches of sports shooting, you can pretty easily own 20+ handguns.

    Semi auto rifles are restricted, and the legal ones are on a list. One for hunting, and one list for sports shooting. However, any private individual can have a rifle approved and put on the lift at his own expense. The loose term “military style” limits what semi can be approved for hunting.

    Suppressors are not regulated at all, and pretty much everyone use on for hunting it seems.

    Full-auto switches, lightning links etc are not regulated by law until you actually mount it on your weapon, at which it will become a felony. No such thing as constructive intent in Norway.

    As a registered collector, you can own as many full-auto rifles, machine guns, pistols and whatever within the scope of your “field”. You apply for 25 weapons at the time. Collectors are not actually allowed to fire their weapons.

    • Tossaway

      “you can prove a reason to own.” “I want one” is a good enough reason.

      • G0rdon_Fr33man

        Not to the Norwegian government.

        • Tossaway

          Just shows yet another government suppressing civil rights.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            Well. Not to make this into a political debate, but what “civil rights” actually entails, depends on the constitution of each nation. Gun laws are not mentioned in ours. On the other hand, we can own Glock full-auto sears and homemade lightning links, as the concept of “constructive intent” is unconstitutional over here. Using them though, is a different matter.

          • Tossaway

            I specifically avoided mentioning laws and Constitutions for a reason. Your right to protect yourself extends to the ability to protect yourself from an unreasonable and abusive government, and includes the right to arm yourself as you see necessary, because a currently benevolent-appearing government certainly has no obligation to remain so (NSA, anyone?). This right does not come from the government or as a matter of law, but because you exist. The US Declaration of Independence calls them “inalienable” rights. Laws that limit your ability to arm yourself interfere with your rights. Having to provide a reason in order to be allowed to own a gun is a suppression of an inalienable right- it means that the government has to agree with you before you are allowed to exercise your rights. It rapidly becomes a Catch-22 situation: if you want to exercise your right, you aren’t allowed to, and if you don’t, you’re free to. The US 2nd Amendment does not exist to allow hunting, according to the people who wrote it it exists to allow us to protect ourselves from our own government. That’s why requiring government permission is a violation of rights, because it means the very body that is oppressing you gets to decide if you are allowed to stop the oppression. While I prefer to have limitations on the basis of mental illness, even that is a problem- war veterans returning to the US who want to own guns have already been declared in writing by the Department of Homeland Security to be potential terrorists, and the Soviet Union routinely declared that disagreeing with the government was itself mental illness. Now it’s government policy that doctors ask about guns in the home (since registration has been problematic), particularly where medical care is government funded, and the presence of guns is not itself a medical issue so doctor-patient privilege doesn’t apply. So I’m not spouting paranoia, but discussing history.

  • Jan David

    2nd place is fairly good :-) . But yes, from the central-European perspective, Slovakia should be the third, and Austria I do not know exactly, but it definitely should get in the top 10 as well.

    Semi-automatic rifles are generally prohibited in Czech Republic. One can own such a rifle, modified to fire just single shots, and for owning a semi-automatic rifle, there is no permit, but an exception from the ban (just a technical note).

    • Lukas

      Just a small correction, there seems to be a misunderstanding regarding semi-auto and full-auto – what you write (exception from the ban and single-shot modification) is valid for full-auto, not semi. You generally can’t obtain full-auto Vz 58, but you can get a Vz 58 modified to semi-automatic (i.e. the rifle is reloaded automatically by a shot, but it fires only one shot by pulling the trigger)

      • SilesianFromZaolzie

        If you are upstanding citizen, and you really want to, you will be most probably able to also get a full-auto purchase permit.

        Most people however don’t even try because full-auto ownership in the Czech Republic carries the duty to allow police officers into the house in order to check its safe storage. Therefore there are only about 1000 civilians with full autos. I personally also prefer my privacy over full-auto ownership.

        • Ctirad Los

          It also depends on where exactly do you live in the CZ. In South Moravia your chances to obtain a permit for full auto rifle is close to 0%

          • SilesianFromZaolzie

            If you want it, then you would appeal any possible denial of “exemption” by police at court. The police, or any administrative body for that matter, needs to give thorough and detailed reasons for its decision – something that most desk clerks are unable to do (that is one of the main reasons why the environmentalists are so successful at having building permits for government highways thrown out at courts all the time).

            I guess that if you are planning on getting a full auto, you should be also able to afford a lawyer to battle any possible resistance on the may issue exemption.

            The only denial that does not need to be established on facts and thoroughly reasoned is the denial to issue firearms license to a foreigner from a country that is not a member state of EU/NATO.

  • Andrew Ray

    Likewise, I believe Slovakia should come in second in Europe, behind Czech Republic. More information about Slovakia’s gun situation is in an article I wrote 2 years ago accessible at
    The gun license is available to anyone with residence– temporary or permanent– in Slovakia. So even say a student studying there a semester or someone teaching English for a year can get one. For concealed carry a reason must be provided. Any reason can be given but the police are “may issue”, however if the reason is business-related (e.g. self-employment, letter by employer about handling cash, etc.) then the license is always given, and in other cases usually given.

  • Tomas

    I live in Slovakia and I don’t really think we have any great gun laws.
    You can’t own any gun before 21 (unless you are gunsmith or gamekeeper school). Although there is law allowing it, it’s utterly impossible to get permission for suppresor or automatic weapon unless you own a shooting range. Shooting range is also the only place where you can use your weapon. Even if you had suitable land, it would be illegal to shoot there (so nothing like hickok45’s range).
    Also guns are more expensive. For example Glock 19 Gen.4 about 620€, Beretta 92FS Inox 1350€, Sig P226 1430€ …

    In Czech it’s pretty much the same, but you can get gun for sporting purposes (no carry) in 18.

    Btw in Czech gun law changed a little 2 months ago, and with that aslo gun amnesty began (until end of the year). So in practice it means you can legally carry a heavy machine gun on the street and if police stops you, you just claim you are going to police station to submit it.

    • Tomas

      And most importantly, you cant use gun to defend your property. If you shoot a burglar in your house, it’s a murder, not self-defense. You can only use gun if your life is in danger.

      • Noir

        Thats not accurate statement. Legallity of shooting burglar is not automatic, but depends on value of stolen property (one jeweler got away with shooting burglar to his back on a street), and many other conditions. If burglar resist arrest (yes you can arrest burglar) with force, than you cna shoot him.
        Bigger problem are conservative judges from communist era..

    • SilesianFromZaolzie

      Sport shooting license is available from 15 years of age, hunting from 16 in the Czech Republic.

      Self defense license (21 years), which includes CCW permit in itself, is shall issue in the Czech Republic, which is a huge difference compared to Slovakia.

  • Noir

    And dont forget about Slovenia (no, not allready mentioned Slovakia) -pretty neat video by local shooters. No easy ccw though..

  • Arpatruc

    This article is misleading about Switzerland. CCW doesn’t exist at all. Maybe there is a great number of firearms, but they are just ”showcase guns” once they are bought, they never leave their boxes. Most of them never fired a single shot. It’s even illegal to transport them from your house to the shooting range.

  • albaby2

    POS article by Guns And Ammo. Did Bloomberg or Brady write this?

  • 2War Abn Vet

    The key word in many of these descriptions is “license”. If government controls a process to license firearms, it also has the wherewithal to confiscate firearms at will.

  • Rich

    How about Israel? France? New Zealand? Belgium? Spain? … Only to name a few.

  • DaveBNZ

    New Zealand belongs certainly ahead of Canada, and possibly even Norway on that list.

    • CanadianGunNut

      I just read a bit of the NZ rules / regulations, they’re not dissimilar to the Canadian ones. To be honest, our licensing seems easier. All interviews are done on the phone (they do run background checks). NZ has similar magazine capacity restrictions (we actually don’t have restrictions for rimfire). Most military-style semi-autos are legal in some way, shape or form…

  • Kimmuryiel

    well, for NOW U.S. is good for gun owners…

  • Anonymous_Euro_from_the_USA

    Actually No. 1 is Switzerland – firearms in every household, but not exactly civilians. The are army (trained) is all citizens. Can you have automatics in the USA? No. In Switzerland – yes and they do have them. At the same time it is one of the safest countries in the world.

    • TheSyn

      and the only country, where I’ve been completely picked my pockets :)

    • Ricky Ryan

      Yes you can own automatics in America semi auto and full auto.

  • LAKramer1211

    Canada? They have got a funny way of showing trust for their own citizens in ANY British Commonwealth country. Makes one wonder how skewed the rest of the list is.

  • Beauregard Gustavson

    What’s the problem just read the 2nd Amendment!

  • gtr5

    France should be on the list. Yes I do and shoot often. A friendly country concerning owning firearms. Now you know.

  • Big Al

    Canada? Kyle, you’re an ignorant idiot.

  • Tero

    Few corrections/additions: In Finland you CAN get concealed gun license, you can get full-auto license and virtually anyone can get gun license, unless (known) mental disorder history or serious criminal record. As license holder, you can freely carry your gun unloaded, in pouch, carry case or quivalent (gun non visible) while travelling, e.g. on train etc., as well as you can have gun in your vehicle, same way. Suppressors do not require any permits.

    • Rolfo1

      When you say anyone. Do you mean any EU citizen would be allowed to apply to the Finnish gun licencing authorities for a licence to carry a concealed hand gun? Are you sure about this ? Can a holiday maker from the UK with friends in Finland buy a handgun and have it kept in a Gun safe at a friends home in Finland

  • sig121

    How about some war-torn country in Africa or the Middle East. Just pick one off the ground next to the dead guy. Don’t forget his ammo and mags. No background check required.

  • Mark

    Please remove Panama, R.P from the list. We have been handcuffed for the past 5 years by the local government authorities. In the past 5 years the Minister of Security, Mr. Raul Mulino, has stopped all imports regarding pistols, revolver, shotguns, sporting rifles and long guns. In July2014 the new President took control and we thought things were going to change; apparently they are only going to get worse. President Varela’s new Minister of Security wants to continue the ban plus he is not allowing the renewal of gun permits, he is planning on banning all AR15 which would mean that law abiding citizens would have to turn their ARs to the local police authorities, plus he wants to place a schedule, ie. from 8am to 5pm, for those who want to EDC. If anyone from the NRA can help us we would greatly appreciate it.

  • Josh

    Of course USA is number 1 , look at all the gun related crime that goes on..

  • Canada-Eh

    Some corrections about the Canadian situation..
    1) There is no registration required and you can hunt with some pretty cool guns like the Tavor, XCR, ACR (as long as the barrel length is over 18.5″) and the VZ58. You could drive a truck up to the gun store, load it with these rifles, flash your licence, give a wad of cash and leave without that info being recorded. You can also shoot them on private land (in rural areas). Unsurprisingly, our streets aren’t running red with blood.

    2) While our pistol mags are limited to 10rds, an AR can use LAR-15 mags, which doubles the capacity from 5 to 10rds. Running 5rd .50Beowulf mags will let you feed about 15rds of .223rem into your rifle. It’s not standard capacity, but at least it’s a way to go around the stupid law.

    Currently, we have a mildly gun-friendly government, so they are working with the community to improve the situation. They could do a lot more, though.

    • CanadianGunNut

      Additionally, semi-automatics are not “highly restricted”. Sure, there are a few that are classed as “prohibited” due to the claimed “connection” to “related” automatics, but there aren’t many that fall into this category. Semi-automatic hunting rifles are readily available in every common caliber.

      (Whoever wrote this article has made some huge mistakes regarding Canadian law; this casts a lot of doubt on the claims related to other countries)

  • Anders

    I’ve lived in both Sweden and Finland and Finland is much more gun friendly than Sweden. You can own as many rifles and shotguns you like in Finland, in Sweden you can own a maximum of 6. In Finland you also don’t need a license for supressors. You can own semi autos in both Finland and Sweden.

  • Angunnguaq Malik Sethsen

    What about Greenland?
    Anyone above 12 can buy a gun and ammo without questions and it’s only semi-auto rifles you need to have a permit. No pistols except for police. When I’m in the gunshop I usually buy some cartridges and I have never needed to clarify what I will use them for.

  • Steve Tucker

    Reading some of the regulations and stipulations, South Africa should have made the list. Although our government hates law abiding gun owners, our laws do allow propper CCW. There are very few places where you are legally restricted from going while carrying, so restraunts, bars, banks, etc are all OK. They may ask you to leave if they dont wanted armed people using right of admission laws, but they cant do anything to you.Yes you have to licence yourself and then each firearm and there are limits as to how many you can own and you have to prove need. In reality, as the state has been taken to court so many times and they have lost almost every case against citizens when denying licences arbitrarily, they seldom deny a licence nowadays. There are actually legall ways around these restrictions, by becoming a dedicated sport shooter. If you are “dedicated” limits fall away and you can own semi autos, including SBR’s. We have no magazine capacity limits, Full autos are very difficult to licence but Serious collectors can own them including belt feds.Suppressors are not regulated at all and anyone can buy one. You can shoot on private rural land.

    • Ricky Ryan

      Maybe in your state, but alot of states u don’t need a licenses to carry and manly for open carry. Than states likes Vermont you can open and conceal carry with out any permit. Look how many states now are going constitutionality carry.

  • Mattias

    Finland has over 970000 registered gun owners out of a population of 5 million, i.e. almost 20 % of Finland’s population are gun owners, not 12.81 % as mentioned above.

  • John Smith

    How can the US be #1? We are so screwed. When we carry, and I do EVERY day of my life, we have to fear the criminals, and the other criminals called cops. We shouldn’t have to fear ending up in a gun fight with corrupt, civil rights violating police, but we do. Our strongest unalienable right that “shall not be infringed”, is our most infringed upon right we have to fight for. Yes, I will fight and die on my feet before I go to jail for exercising my constitutional, unalienable right. Live free or die fighting for it. Freedom is NOT free. The government if corrupt, and the people lost their power long ago. At least I still live in a free state, but I cannot cross state lines without being it total fear. Many states have completely shredded the Bill of Rights.

  • rex

    just for the record concealed carry is legal here in Canada, but it has to be approved by i believe the chief firearms officer and he has the right to just say no with no questions asked….yea 99% of the time its a no

    • rex

      sorry i hit enter and it posted, its not 99% of the time a no but its only accepted in cases for wilderness person who are in remote areas and such :)

  • john

    When I read the title of the article I said, U.S. will be number one. OK, that was an obvious statement but the sad truth is, the ability to own and carry a gun is one of the main reasons I stay in this country. I have traveled quite a bit of this planet and there are some areas I might even enjoy more than the U.S…however….if I am forced to defend myself with sticks and rocks again I feel it would be a step backwards. Ask a shy man or woman of small stature what he or she thinks of walking in a dangerous area of the U.K.

    • Lib Basher

      It stinks that the USA is becoming even more and more of a cesspool. I feel that the 1st and 2nd Amendments, small towns and good food are the only reasons I would stay here.

    • Tim E

      Depends on the state, though. Why do people keep saying “the U.S.”? The laws are veeeerrrryy different depending on the states.

  • Max

    I guess I live in the top 3 WORST countries for gun ownership=Gemany

  • Friendly Gringo

    I travel in Costa Rica a good bit and lived there for several years. I always carried a concealed weapon, and was never hassled by the police. In fact, ammo was difficult to procure, even for the police; the local police carried a wide variety of ratty pistols, revolvers, shotguns and rifles. Private security guards in banks, etc., we’re much better equipped, usually carrying a modern pistol, an AK47 and sufficient ammo for both. I made quick friends with the police and security folks, and ended up performing and teaching maintenance and basic repairs for the police. Eventually the commander of the local police swore me in and gave me a shield. I believe I was the only gringo cop in Costa Rica, both during the time I lived there and traveled back and forth as a tourist. I was never even questioned about the firearms I carried as check-in luggage on airlines, coming or going.

    My point is this: make friends with the cops and security guards, don’t go around acting like a fool, and you may just get lucky.

  • TheSyn

    There are United States – that’s the most important…in fact it looks to me, it’s just made up to show, that the States are first and best again :D


    With the exception of the U.S.,and the Czech Republic,who in hell considers these countries
    good on private gun ownership? I don’t include Honduras nor Panama in the good category be-
    cause both are, by and large, lawless,dangerous countries.But if you live there,and are a law-abiding citizen,I guess it’s good that there are few restrictions on gun ownership.

  • Mandrich Hanekom

    Why is South Africa not on the list? Sure, all firearms you buy need to be individually licensed,and there is a lot of red tape, but shooting sports and hunting is, and has always been a big part of SA gun culture. If you belong to a hunting club or shooting sport club, and you have what the police refer to as “dedicated sport shooter/hunter status”, there is really no limit to the amount of guns you can own. As long as you can proof you need them. (easier than it sounds) And that includes semi-auto rifles. Also concealed carry is legal, with no additional licensing or permits required

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