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Bahamas — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in the Bahamas is 20,1101

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in the Bahamas is 6.482 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In the Bahamas, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 1,5651

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In the Bahamas, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 15,5451

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

There are reportedly 3,0001 handguns in civilian possession in the Bahamas

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, the Bahamas ranked at No. 1703

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, the Bahamas ranked at No. 984

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in the Bahamas is reported to be 20,1101

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in the Bahamas is 6.482

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of the Bahamas are reported to have 1,4255 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in the Bahamas are reported to have 2,8006 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

In the Bahamas, annual deaths resulting from firearms total 2000: 397

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

In the Bahamas, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is 2000: 13.802

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn the Bahamas, annual homicides by any means total

2011: 1278 9
2010: 948
2009: 878 10
2008: 72
2007: 78
2006: 62
2005: 52
2004: 44
2003: 50
2002: 52
2001: 43
2000: 74
1999: 538
1998: 48
1997: 47
1996: 41
1995: 42

Rate of Homicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn the Bahamas, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2011: 36.68
2010: 27.4
2009: 25.78 10
2008: 21.6
2007: 23.7
2006: 19.1
2005: 16.3
2004: 14.0
2003: 16.1
2002: 17.0
2001: 14.3
2000: 24.9
1999: 18.18
1998: 16.68 11
1997: 16.2
1996: 14.4
1995: 15.0

Gun Homicides

ChartIn the Bahamas, annual firearm homicides total

2010: 6912
2009: 528
2000: 377
1997: 1813
1996: 13
1995: 18

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Bahamas, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 22.22
2009: 15.48
2000: 11.787
1997: 6.2313
1996: 4.58
1995: 6.47

Suicides (any method)

In the Bahamas, annual suicides by any means total 2002: 214

Rate of Suicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn the Bahamas, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2002: 1.0014
2000: 3.60

Gun Suicides

In the Bahamas, annual firearm suicides total 2000: 17

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

In the Bahamas, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is 2000: 0.317

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

In the Bahamas, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total 2000: 17

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

In the Bahamas, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is 2000: 0.317

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In the Bahamas, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is prohibited15 16

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from the Bahamas is reported by Customs to be US$1,98117 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In the Bahamas, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law18 19 20

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to the Bahamas is reported by Customs to be US$232,56017 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In the Bahamas, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law21

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in the Bahamas do not include21 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in the Bahamas is categorised as restrictive22

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in the Bahamas includes the Firearm Act 1969,23 the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1990,24 the Firearms (Amnesty) Act 1993,25 and the Firearms (Amendment) Act 199426

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in the Bahamas are regulated by the Commissioner of Police27 28 29 30

Right to Possess Firearms

In the Bahamas, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law31 21

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In the Bahamas, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic firearms and incendiary ammunition29

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In the Bahamas, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited29

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In the Bahamas, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence29 32

Regulation of Handguns

In the Bahamas, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is only permitted subject to stringent conditions19 32

Gun Ownership and Possession

In the Bahamas, only licensed gun owners32 28 33 27 19 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in the Bahamas are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm28 27

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in the Bahamas is 18 years, or 14 years whilst under the supervision of a person over the age of 21 years34

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in the Bahamas must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental, addiction and other various35 28 27 36 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In the Bahamas, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required21

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in the Bahamas does not stipulate21 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In the Bahamas, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required21 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In the Bahamas gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one year19 27 28

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in the Bahamas are permitted to possess only the nature and number of firearms specified in the valid firearms certificate28

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in the Bahamas are permitted to possess only a quantity of ammunition authorised by the Licensing Authority32 28

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In the Bahamas, the law does not require21 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Dealer Record Keeping

In the Bahamas, licensed firearm dealers are required37 38 39 37 29 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Sales and Transfers

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in the Bahamas is to pass official background checks before taking possession

Background Checks on Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in the Bahamas is obliged38 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In the Bahamas, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited15 38

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In the Bahamas, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful15 38 16 39 9

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In the Bahamas, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to the number of firearms and ammunition specified in the valid firearms certificate28

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In the Bahamas, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined21

Regulation of Gun Shows

In the Bahamas, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated21 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in the Bahamas do not include21 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Dealer

Firearm regulations in the Bahamas do not include21 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in the Bahamas do not include21 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in the Bahamas do not include21 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In the Bahamas, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law40

Firearm Tracing

In the Bahamas, state authorities do not carry out21 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In the Bahamas, state authorities do not employ21 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In the Bahamas, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit33

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In the Bahamas, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit33

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In the Bahamas, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm41 is 7 years prison and a fine9 32 33

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in the Bahamas are known to have9 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In the Bahamas, it is not state policy21 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Bahamas adopted the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives, Ammunition and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), a legally binding multilateral treaty of which the OAS is depository. The CIFTA Convention has since been signed and ratified42 43 by the Bahamas

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development, was not signed44 by the Bahamas.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified45 by the Bahamas

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has been signed and ratified46 by the Bahamas

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, the Bahamas committed to a consensus decision of the United Nations to adopt, support and implement the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects47

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, the Bahamas have yet to submit a national report48 20 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In the Bahamas, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated20

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In the Bahamas, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated20

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of the Bahamas submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is not apparent20

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated20 by the Bahamas to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, the Bahamas have not declared49 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, the Bahamas have been a Member State of the United Nations since 197350

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list51 the Bahamas as a Participating State


Short References

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GunPolicy.org.2014.‘Calculated Rates – Bahamas.’ Historical Population Data – USCB International Data Base.Suitland, MD:US Census Bureau Population Division,4 July. (Q5471)Full Citation

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Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q4)Full Citation

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Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms - Annexe online.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q5)Full Citation

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Karp, Aaron.2006.‘Trickle and Torrent: State stockpiles.’ Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q6)Full Citation

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Karp, Aaron.2006.‘Trickle and Torrent: State stockpiles.’ Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q7)Full Citation

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UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - Bahamas.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6390)Full Citation

9.

Candia Dames. 2011. ‘Gun Amnesty.’ Nassau Guardian (Bahamas). 4 October. (N275) Full Citation

10.

OAS Observatory on Citizen Security.2011.‘Intentional Homicide.’ Report on Citizen Security in the Americas 2011.Washington, DC:Organisation of American States,1 January. (Q5678)Full Citation

11.

Petrini, Benjamin.2011.‘Latin America and the Caribbean, 1995-2008, Total Recorded Intentional Homicide, Completed, Rate per 100,000 Population.’ World Bank Homicide Rate Dataset 1995-2008.Washington DC:Social Development Department, World Bank,10 February. (Q3817)Full Citation

12.

Artesia Davis. 2011. ‘Nine Gun Court Cases Completed Last Week.’ The Nassau Guardian (Bahamas). 2 August. (N253) Full Citation

13.

UNODC.2001.‘Bahamas: Total Recorded Intentional Homicides (Completed) and Total Recorded Intentional Homicides Committed With a Firearm.’ Sixth United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 1995-1997.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,27 June. (Q1324)Full Citation

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Bahamas.1969.‘Penalty for Manufacturing or Dealing in Firearms Without Being Registered.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3135)Full Citation

16.

Bahamas.1969.‘Provisions as to Shortening Guns and Converting Imitation Firearms into Firearms.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3142)Full Citation

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Marsh, Nicholas.2013.‘Database of Authorised Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons.’ NISAT Small Arms Trade Database.Oslo:Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers,14 February. (Q16)Full Citation

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Bahamas.1969.‘Importation.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3127)Full Citation

19.

Bahamas.1969.‘Introduction and Possession of Revolvers Only Under Special Licence.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3128)Full Citation

20.

UNODA.2009.‘PoA-ISS Country Profiles.’ UN small arms Programme of Action (UNPoA) – Implementation Support System.New York:United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs,29 October. (Q1309)Full Citation

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Bahamas.1969.‘Preliminary.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q4067)Full Citation

22.

Newton, George D and Franklin E Zimring.1969.‘Firearm Licensing: Permissive v Restrictive.’ Firearms & Violence in American Life: A staff report submitted to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence.Washington, DC:US Government Printing Office,1 January. (Q22)Full Citation

23.

Bahamas.1969.‘Preliminary.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3125)Full Citation

24.

Bahamas.1990.‘Firearms (Amendment) Act 1990.’ An Act to Amend the Firearms Act, No.10 of 1990.Nassau:Parliament of the Bahamas,12 December. (Q3144)Full Citation

25.

Bahamas.1993.‘Firearms (Amnesty) Act 1993.’ An Act to Enable the Minister Responsible for Public Safety to Promulgate by Notice a Period of Amnesty Within Which Persons May Surrender to the Police Unlicensed Firearms Without Penalty or Liability of Prosecution.Nassau:Parliament of the Bahamas,30 July. (Q3146)Full Citation

26.

Bahamas.1994.‘Firearms (Amendment) Act 1994.’ An Act to Amend the Firearms Act, No.21 of 1994.Nassau:Parliament of the Bahamas,21 October. (Q3145)Full Citation

27.

Bahamas.1969.‘Grant of Licences.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3133)Full Citation

28.

Bahamas.1969.‘Grant Renewal, Variation and Revocation of Certificates.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3131)Full Citation

29.

Bahamas.1969.‘Prohibited Weapons and Ammunition.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3139)Full Citation

30.

Bahamas.1969.‘Interpretation.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3126)Full Citation

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Sherman, Amy and Tom Ginsburg.2014.‘Gun Rights in National Constitutions.’ Marco Rubio Says Second Amendment Is Unique in Speech to NRA.Miami FL:Miami Herald (PolitiFact Florida),29 April. (Q8507)Full Citation

32.

Bahamas.1969.‘Penalty for Purchase or Possession Without Certificate.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3130)Full Citation

33.

Bahamas.1969.‘Penalty for Purchasing or Possessing a Gun Without a Licence.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3132)Full Citation

34.

Bahamas.1969.‘Restriction on Purchase and Possession of Firearms by Young Persons.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3138)Full Citation

35.

Bahamas.1969.‘Prohibition on Person Convicted of Crime Purchasing or Possessing Firearms.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3141)Full Citation

36.

Bahamas.1969.‘Prohibition of Sale of Firearms to Drunk or Insane Persons.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3140)Full Citation

37.

Bahamas.1969.‘Register of Transactions in Firearms.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3136)Full Citation

38.

Bahamas.1969.‘Restrictions on Sale, Repair of Firearms and Ammunition.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3137)Full Citation

39.

Bahamas.1969.‘Particulars to be Entered by Firearms Dealers in Register of Transactions.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3143)Full Citation

40.

Bahamas.1969.‘Guns to Be Marked.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 213, 1969.Nassau:Government of the Bahamas,17 July. (Q3134)Full Citation

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47.

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51.

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