A revised firearms control law took effect Tuesday, essentially banning most people from owning crossbows and requiring those who do to get a permit from their prefecture, following a 2020 incident in Hyogo Prefecture in which a man killed three family members with a crossbow.

Under the revised legislation, legitimate reasons for owning a crossbow are now limited to purposes such as needing one for shooting competitions or animal anesthesia. Current owners must apply for a permit with the public safety commission in their prefecture of residence within six months of the law having taken effect or they must dispose of the weapon.

Anyone using a crossbow without a permit or outside the permissible purposes could serve up to three years in prison or be fined up to ¥500,000. At present, the legislation targets crossbows capable of killing a person — which applies to nearly every crossbow on the market, according to a National Police Agency survey.