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Thailand Failing to Protect Women and Children Against Gun Violence

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Thailand Failing to Protect Women and Children Against Gun Violence

Experts told the Bangkok Post that gun violence against women and children in Thailand is a result of the government’s failures to control the sale and use of firearms to the general public.

Their concerns stemmed from the October daycare massacre in Nong Bua Lamphu, as well as another incident on November 27 in Ranong, in which a man shot at a primary school 18 times.

Soldiers and police officers frequently abuse firearms to assert their dominance over others.

When combined with the use of alcohol and/or drugs, the outcome can be fatal.

To address the issue, a multifaceted approach is required, so the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security is requesting the cooperation of all stakeholders in order to help stem the rising tide of gun violence in the country.

Supensri Puengkoksung, director of the Social Equality Promotion Foundation, stated that many offenders charged with weapon abuse appear to believe they are immune from prosecution because they are linked to influential government figures.

As a result, Ms Supensri urged women who are victims of such offenders to stand firm and remember that they are protected by the law.

Korawin Worasuk, a social worker, believes that efforts to reform Thailand’s patriarchal society must be accompanied by lessons for youth on emotional control and the importance of respecting one another.

“We need to establish a fund to help women who have been victims of domestic violence recover physically and psychologically, and to help them find jobs that will allow them to support themselves and their children,” she said.

The voices of children and women who have been victims of violence, according to Usa Lerdsrisuntad, director of the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women, have yet to have an impact on Thailand’s gun control policy.

In contrast, following gun tragedies, countries such as South Africa have reformed their policies.

The vetting process for obtaining a gun licence in South Africa has been made much stricter, requiring thorough background and behavioural checks on the applicants, including their history of violence and/or psychological problems within the family, she said.

Adding that officials can confiscate a gun kept in a home if they are concerned about anyone’s safety.

 

gun violence thailandIt’s Simple to Obtain a Gun in Thailand

Guns can be purchased online in Thailand, with some vendors offering to obtain a gun license on the buyer’s behalf in as little as three days if the buyer can afford it.

Figures show that illegal firearms are responsible for 82% of gun-related fatalities.

Furthermore, there are no rules in place that govern the storage and/or use of legally obtained weapons at home.

According to Pol Col Wirut Sirisawasdibut, secretary-general of the Institute for Justice Reform, Thailand has 10.3 million firearms, 40% of which are illegal.

He noted that this equates to about 15 guns for every 100,000 people.

Thailand ranked 13th in the world in terms of private gun ownership, according to a Small Arms Survey (SAS) report released in June 2018.

While the figure lags far behind that of the United States, which has 393 million guns, Thailand’s neighbours have far fewer firearms in relation to their population.

The Philippines possesses approximately 3.9 million firearms, while Vietnam possesses 1.5 million.

gun violence thailand

Alcohol and Guns

Pol Col Wirut acknowledged incidents of weapon abuse by state officials, police officers, and soldiers, some of whom carry firearms into casual settings where alcohol is present.

“The most violent cases of gun abuse were committed by police and soldiers,” he said, before adding that guns are “safer in the hands of criminals than in the hands of corrupt police and soldiers.”

Meanwhile, Pol Maj Gen Saruti Khwaengsopha, commander of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, stated that the Royal Thai Police recognizes the importance of gun control and mandates that all firearms issued to state officials be registered with the Interior Ministry’s Department of Provincial Administration.

According to Dr. Yongyud Wongpiromsarn, an adviser to the Mental Health Department, approximately 5% of perpetrators found guilty of gun-related violence suffer from untreated psychological disorders.

Stress, societal pressure, economic inequality, and illicit drugs may all contribute to the disorders, he says.

To avoid a meltdown, state officials, according to Dr. Yongyud, should conduct regular mental health checks on employees.

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