For those who can afford it, shooting is popular here. Most tourist areas have gun ranges geared towards tourists.
Shopping areas in many Asian countries (Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc.) are divided into districts dedicated to specific wares. So, you find most camera stores within a few blocks of each other, most independent jewelry stores very close, etc., and gun stores are no different. Almost all of the firearms dealers in Bangkok are along two blocks of a single road. In a way, it’s kind of cool to be walking down a street passing 15 small shops in a row, all gun stores.
I was very impressed by the selection and how new everything was – Glocks, Kimbers, Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, and similarly broad selections for rifles and shotguns.
However, getting a license in Thailand is not easy, and impossible for foreigners. Citizens have to apply through the local government listing the purpose (generally ‘sporting’), where the firearm will be stored, and, in general, only owners of property will be approved. This is a license to buy/own, not to carry. As far as I know, there are no carry permits in Thailand, but maybe there is a different section of the law or special allowances for former LE and military.
Collectors are the ones really screwed under the current law. A “collector” firearm has to be made inoperable (thereby destroying collector value) and the owner is prohibited from owning any ammunition for the inoperable firearms (absurd). The firearm then has to be permanently marked/etched as a collector firearm (further destroying the value). Most collectors just keep their firearms as ‘sporting.’ Again, I am sure there are ways to legally side-step much of this, but that is the written law.
Firearms are also considered a luxury, so there is a 200% tariff on all guns. Reloading is not done. As far as I have found out so far, it isn’t strictly prohibited, but I think they categorize it as manufacture and you need special permission. Regardless, I didn’t see any reloading supplies or information.
I love Thailand, but I can’t wait to get back to Texas.