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Armed violence prevention, gun control laws and the small arms trade:

Belize — 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 Belize is 32,0001 2

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Belize is 10.21 2 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In Belize, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 7003

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In Belize, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 7,4153

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In Belize, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 2,6403

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Belize ranked at No. 1614

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Belize ranked at No. 622

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in Belize is reported to be 10,7553

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Belize is 3.495

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Belize are reported to have 2,5006 7 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Belize are reported to have 1,6006 8 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Belize, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2009: 509
2000: 2210

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn Belize, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2009: 16.245
2000: 8.87

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Belize, annual homicides by any means total

2014: 12311
2013: 99
2012: 14511 12
2011: 12411 12 13 14
2010: 12911 12 13 15 16
2009: 98
2008: 104
2007: 97
2006: 92
2005: 81
2004: 79
2003: 67
2002: 87
2001: 64
2000: 4711 12 13 15

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

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

2014: 36.2011
2013: 29.83
2012: 44.7411 12
2011: 39.2111 12 13 14
2010: 41.8011 12 13 15 16
2009: 32.56
2008: 35.43
2007: 33.89
2006: 32.98
2005: 29.79
2004: 29.81
2003: 25.93
2002: 34.56
2001: 26.10
2000: 19.70
1999: 15.0017 13
1998: 13.00
1997: 10.0017
1996: 10.00
1995: 16.30

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Belize, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 5111
2012: 99
2011: 8311 12
2010: 8011 12 13 18
2009: 4812 13 18
2008: 6613 18
2007: 41
2006: 3712 13 18
2005: 41
2004: 3613 18
2000: 2010

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 15.265
2012: 30.21
2011: 25.85
2010: 25.445 13 18
2009: 15.595 13 18 16
2008: 22.113 18 16
2007: 14.0
2006: 12.855 13 18 16
2005: 14.58
2004: 13.113 18 16
2000: 7.8110

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

ChartIn Belize, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2013: 52%11
2012: 68%
2011: 67%11 12 14
2010: 62%11 12
2009: 49%12
2006: 40%
2005: 51%
2004: 45.6%13

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Belize, annual suicides by any means total

2009: 1519
2008: 11
2007: 8
2006: 11
2005: 11
2004: 20
2003: 12
2002: 14
2001: 2219 20
2000: 1819

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

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

2009: 4.919 20
2008: 3.719
2007: 2.7
2006: 3.8
2005: 3.9
2004: 7.3
2003: 4.5
2002: 5.3
2001: 8.6
2000: 7.2

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Belize, annual firearm suicides total

2009: 19
2000: 110

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Belize, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2009: 0.325
2000: 0.3910

Unintentional Gun Deaths

In Belize, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2000: 110

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

In Belize, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2000: 0.3910

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Belize, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2009: 59
1998: 010

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

ChartIn Belize, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2009: 1.625
1998: 0.0010

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Belize, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence21

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Belize, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law22 23 24 25

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Belize is reported by Customs to be US$026 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Belize, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law27 24 25 28

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Belize is reported by Customs to be US$405,88226 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Belize, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law29 30

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Belize do not include29 30 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 Belize is categorised as restrictive31

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Belize includes the Firearms Act 2000,32 the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 2008,33 and the Firearms Regulations 200034

Right to Possess Firearms

In Belize, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law35 36 37 29 30

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Belize, civilians are not allowed to possess all assault rifles, automatic and semiautomatic firearms, rifles of calibre greater than 7.62 mm or 0.30 inch, sawed-off rifles or shotguns, shotguns of barrel length 21 inches or less, rifled shotguns, handguns of calibre greater than 9mm or .38inch, armour-piercing ammunition, silencers, or extended handgun magazines38

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Belize, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited38 39 14

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Belize, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited38 39

Regulation of Handguns

In Belize, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence, except handguns over 9mm or .38 calibre, or Magnum cartridges other than .22 inch or 5.6mm38 39 14

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Belize, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law38 14

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Belize, only licensed gun owners40 41 14 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Belize are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example self-defence37 42

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Belize is 16 years37 43

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Belize must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, medical and previous firearm ownership37 14 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Belize, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required29 30

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Belize does not stipulate29 30 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Belize, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required29 30 44 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Belize, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one year45

Licensing Records

In Belize, authorities maintain a record46 41 39 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Belize are permitted to possess only the number of firearms indicated in the licence40

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Belize are permitted to possess only the quantity of ammunition indicated in the licence40

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Belize, the law requires46 47 48 41 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 Belize, licensed firearm dealers are required48 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Belize, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted47

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Belize, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful49 50

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in Belize is not obliged29 30 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Belize, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined29 30

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Belize, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated29 30 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Belize include41 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 Belize include50 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Belize do not include29 30 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Belize, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law48

Firearm Tracing

In Belize, state authorities do not carry out29 30 44 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Belize, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not29 30 44 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Belize, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit40 51 52 44 14

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Belize, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit40 51 52 44 14

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Belize, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm53 is a prison term of five years for a first offence, and seven years for a second or subsequent offence54

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Belize are known to have3 55 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

ChartIn Belize, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2009: 1913
2008: 194
2007: 117
2006: 240

Small Arms Destroyed

In Belize, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 78555 (2006-2008)

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Belize, it is not state policy29 30 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Central American Integration System

As a member of the Central American Integration System (SICA), Belize is party to the 2007 Central American Programme on Small Arms Control and the Code of Conduct of Central American States on the Transfer of Arms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Material56

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Belize 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 ratified57 58 by Belize

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 signed59 by Belize.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified60 by Belize

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has not been signed61 by Belize

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Belize 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 Aspects62

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Belize has yet to submit a national report63 64 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Belize, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated64

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Belize, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated64

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Belize submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was not apparent64

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated64 by Belize to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Belize has not declared65 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Belize has been a Member State of the United Nations since 198166

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list67 Belize as a Participating State


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