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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 29,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Belize is 10.01 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Belize ranked at No. 1612

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. 621

Number of Registered Firearms

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

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Belize are reported to have 2,8984 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Belize are reported to have 1,0195 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Belize, annual homicides by any means total

2011: 1246
2010: 1297 6
2009: 97
2008: 103
2007: 97
2006: 92
2005: 81
2004: 79
2003: 67
2002: 87
2001: 64
2000: 416

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

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

2011: 39.06
2010: 41.217 6
2009: 31.60
2008: 34.22
2007: 32.88
2006: 31.94
2005: 28.72
2004: 28.62
2003: 24.81
2002: 32.95
2001: 24.81
2000: 16.27
1999: 15.008 6
1998: 13.00
1997: 10.008
1996: 10.00
1995: 16.30

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Belize, annual firearm homicides total

2010: 686
2009: 47
2008: 66
2007: 41
2006: 37
2005: 41
2004: 36

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 21.86
2009: 15.46 7
2008: 22.1
2007: 14.0
2006: 12.9
2005: 14.6
2004: 13.1

Suicides (any method)

In Belize, annual suicides by any means total 2001: 199

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

In Belize, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is 2009: 3.589

Gun Suicides

In Belize, annual firearm suicides total 2000: 110

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

In Belize, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total 1998: 010

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

In Belize, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is 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 licence11

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Belize, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law12 13 14 15

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Belize is reported by Customs to be US$016 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Belize, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law17 14 15 18

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Belize is reported by Customs to be US$405,88216 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Belize, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law19 20

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Belize do not include19 20 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 restrictive21

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Belize includes the Firearms Act 2000,22 the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 2008,23 and the Firearms Regulations 200024

Right to Possess Firearms

In Belize, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law25 19 20

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 magazines26

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Belize, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited26 27

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Belize, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited26 27

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 5.6mm26 27

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Belize, only licensed gun owners28 29 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 prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, self-defence25 30

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Belize is 16 years25 31

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Belize must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental, medical and previous firearm ownership25 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Belize, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required19 20

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Belize does not stipulate19 20 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 required19 20 32 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Belize gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one year33

Licensing Records

In Belize, authorities maintain a record34 29 27 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 licence28

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Belize are permitted to possess only the quantity of ammunition indicated in the licence28

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Belize, the law requires34 35 36 29 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 required36 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 Belize is not obliged19 20 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Belize, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted35

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Belize, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful37 38

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Belize, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined19 20

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Belize, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated19 20 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Belize include29 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 include38 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 include19 20 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 law36

Firearm Tracing

In Belize, state authorities do not carry out19 20 32 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In Belize, state authorities do not employ19 20 32 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

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 permit28 39 40 32

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Belize, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit28 39 40 32

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Belize, the maximum penalty for illicit firearm possession is a prison term of 5 years for a first offence, and 7 years for a second or subsequent offence41

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Belize are known to have3 42 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Small Arms Destroyed

In Belize, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 78542 (2006-2008)

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Belize, it is not state policy19 20 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 Material43

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 ratified44 45 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 signed46 by Belize.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified47 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 signed48 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 Aspects49

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 report50 51 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 designated51

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Belize, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated51

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Belize submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is not apparent51

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated51 by Belize to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Belize has not declared52 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 198153

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list54 Belize as a Participating State


Short References

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12.

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34.

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35.

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36.

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37.

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