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

Bolivia — 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 Bolivia is 250,0001 2 3 4

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Bolivia is 2.51 3 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Bolivia ranked at No. 1105

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Bolivia ranked at No. 1194

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Bolivia are reported to have 68,0006 2 7 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Bolivia are reported to have 29,0006 2 7 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Bolivia, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 1,2708
2011: 1,029 8 9 10
2010: 1,0528 11 9
2009: 8358 11 12 9
2008: 850
2007: 787
2006: 598
2005: 654
2004: 3,74811 12
2003: 2,565
2002: 2,610
2001: 2,957
2000: 3,078

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

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

2012: 12.18
2011: 10.08 9 10
2010: 10.48 11 9
2009: 8.48 11 12 9
2008: 8.6
2007: 8.1
2006: 6.3
2005: 7.0
2004: 41.611 12
2003: 29.0
2002: 30.1
2001: 34.8
2000: 37.0
1998: 28.6313

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Bolivia, annual firearm homicides total

2010: 748
2006: 128 14
2005: 13
2002: 5215
2001: 50

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.7416
2006: 0.1316 14
2005: 0.14
2002: 0.5915
2001: 0.58

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2011: 9%10
2010: 7%8
2006: 2%
2005: 2%

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Bolivia, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Bolivia, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law18 21 22 23 33 34 35 36 37 24 38 39 25

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Bolivia is reported by Customs to be US$60140 (2009)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Bolivia, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law18 21 22 23 33 34 41 35 36 37 24 38 39 42 25 43 44 45 46 47 48 49

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Bolivia is reported by Customs to be US$1,555,55040 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Bolivia, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law49

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Bolivia include50 42 51 34 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 Bolivia is categorised as restrictive52

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Bolivia includes the Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law of 201353 32 and its regulation54 2

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Bolivia are regulated by the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and the Police50 55 56 57

Right to Possess Firearms

In Bolivia, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law58

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Bolivia, civilians are not allowed to possess military weapons59 60

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Bolivia, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited59 60 10

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Bolivia, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence59 60

Regulation of Handguns

In Bolivia, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence59 60 61 10

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Bolivia, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law59 60 61 10

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Bolivia, only licensed gun owners62 63 64 65 43 66 67 68 69 70 25 71 10 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Bolivia are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example self-defence,72 sports, hunting and collection59 62 63

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Bolivia is 21 years64

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Bolivia must pass a background check which considers criminal and mental64 25 73 10 records

Firearm Safety Training

In Bolivia, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required74 73 71 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Bolivia, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every three years75

Licensing Records

In Bolivia, authorities maintain a record76 77 56 78 71 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Bolivia are permitted to possess from two to five firearms79

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Bolivia, the law requires76 77 56 78 71 66 69 70 32 80 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 Bolivia, licensed firearm dealers are required55 81 77 76 56 78 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Bolivia, licensed gun makers are required36 37 77 76 56 78 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Bolivia, State agencies are required82 76 56 78 77 83 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Bolivia, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted84 65

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Bolivia, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful84 18 25 28 29 30 31 85

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Bolivia include86 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 Bolivia include86 24 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Bolivia include86 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Bolivia include39 42 87 33 34 35 88 89 90 91 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Bolivia, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law92 47 93

Firearm Tracing

In Bolivia, state authorities carry out94 71 95 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Bolivia, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are64 96 71 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Bolivia, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law63 25 10

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Bolivia, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited97

Gun Free Zones

In Bolivia, private guns are prohibited in social gatherings and public or private events, meetings or conferences, national, departmental, regional, municipal legislative sessions and indigenous gatherings, educational institutions, universities, hospitals and religious settings, public demonstrations, social movements, marches, strikes and rallies, prisons, sporting events, financial institutions, and judicial hearings25

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Bolivia, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm98 is 5 years in prison99 26 100 101 102 92 103 27 104 97 32

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Bolivia are known to have50 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 Bolivia, it is state policy105 50 106 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Andean Community

As a member of the Andean Community, Bolivia

adopted Decision 552: The Andean Plan to Prevent, Fight and Eradicate Illicit Trafficking in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in June, 2003107

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Bolivia 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 ratified108 109 by Bolivia

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 signed110 by Bolivia.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed111 by Bolivia

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 signed112 by Bolivia

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Bolivia 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 Aspects113

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Bolivia against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 128114 115 116 117 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Bolivia has submitted one or more national reports118 119 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Bolivia, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated120 119

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Bolivia, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated120 119

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated119 by Bolivia to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Bolivia has not declared121 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Bolivia has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945122

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list123 Bolivia as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

For a profile of conflict in Bolivia, select the Link icon to open an external web page from the UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia at Uppsala University

Global Peace Index

To see where Bolivia ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index


Short References

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Bolivia.2013.‘Licence for Manufacturing, Transporting, Selling, Importing and Exporting (Licencia Para Fabricación, Transporte, Comercialización, Importación y Exportación).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8403)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2014.‘Authorisation Licence for the Installation and Running of Factories (Licencia de Autorización para la Instalación y Funcionamiento de Fábricas).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10457)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2014.‘Registration Certificate (Certificado de Registro).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10447)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2014.‘Validity and Renewal (Vigencia y Renovacion).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10449)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2014.‘Registration and Authorisation for the Functioning of Gun Shops (Registro y Autorización del Funcionamiento de Armerías).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10472)Full Citation

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31.

Bolivia.2014.‘Obligation to Report Information (Obligación de Reportar Información).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10474)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2014.‘Import, Export, International Transport and International Transit Authorisation (Autorización de Importación, Exportación, Transporte Internacional y Transito Internacional).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10450)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2014.‘Authorisation to Import to Other Individuals and Legal Persons (Autorización de Importación a Otras Personas Naturales y Jurídicas).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10452)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2013.‘Foreign Nationals (Ciudadanos Extranjeros).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8409)Full Citation

44.

Bolivia.2013.‘Temporary Admission (Internación Temporal).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8396)Full Citation

45.

Bolivia.2013.‘Special Acquisitions (Adquisición Extraordinaria).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8398)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2013.‘Procedure for Acquisition (Procedimiento de Adquisición).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8399)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2013.‘Attributions (Atribuciones).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8437)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2013.‘Objective (Objeto).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8406)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2014.‘Object (Objeto).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10440)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2013.‘Registration and Inventories (Registro e Inventarios).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8400)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2014.‘Authorities (Responsables).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10444)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2014.‘Dependence and Administration (Dependencia y Administración).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10464)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2013.‘Firearms For Your Use (Armas de Fuego Por Su Uso).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8408)Full Citation

60.

Bolivia.2014.‘Classification of Weapons (Clasificación de Armas).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10442)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2014.‘Classification of Ammunition (Clasificación de Municiones).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10443)Full Citation

62.

Bolivia.2013.‘Types of Licences (Clases de Licencias).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8428)Full Citation

63.

Bolivia.2014.‘Licence to Possess, Carry and Use Firearms for Civil Use (Licencia de Tenencia, Portación y Uso de Armas de Fuego de Uso Civil).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10468)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2013.‘License Requirements (Requisitos Para Licencia).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8416)Full Citation

65.

Bolivia.2014.‘Sales Authorisation (Autorización de Compra).’ Supreme Decree No. 2175, Regulation of the Act No. 400 on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials.La Paz:Official Gazette of Bolivia,5 November. (Q10469)Full Citation

66.

Bolivia.2013.‘Sports Organisations (Organizaciones Deportivas).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8410)Full Citation

67.

Bolivia.2013.‘Instructions for Shooting Sports (Instrucción de Tiro Deportivo).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8411)Full Citation

68.

Bolivia.2013.‘Firing Ranges and Zones (Campos y Polígonos de Tiro).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8412)Full Citation

69.

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