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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

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Bolivia is 2.51 2 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. 1104

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. 1193

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Bolivia are reported to have 68,0005 6 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Bolivia are reported to have 29,0005 6 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Bolivia, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 1,2707
2011: 1,029 7 8 9
2010: 1,0527 10 8
2009: 8357 10 11 8
2008: 850
2007: 787
2006: 598
2005: 654
2004: 3,74810 11
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: 12.17
2011: 10.07 8 9
2010: 10.47 10 8
2009: 8.47 10 11 8
2008: 8.6
2007: 8.1
2006: 6.3
2005: 7.0
2004: 41.610 11
2003: 29.0
2002: 30.1
2001: 34.8
2000: 37.0
1998: 28.6312

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Bolivia, annual firearm homicides total

2010: 747
2006: 127 13
2005: 13
2002: 5214
2001: 50

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.7415
2006: 0.1315 13
2005: 0.14
2002: 0.5914
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%9
2010: 7%7
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 licence16 17 18 19 20 21 22

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Bolivia, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law17 23 24 18

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Bolivia is reported by Customs to be US$60125 (2009)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Bolivia, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law17 23 26 27 28 29 30 24 18 31 32

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Bolivia is reported by Customs to be US$1,555,55025 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Bolivia, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law26

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Bolivia include33 32 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 Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Bolivia includes the Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law of 201334 22

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Bolivia are regulated by the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior33 35

Right to Possess Firearms

In Bolivia, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law36

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Bolivia, civilians are not allowed to possess military assault weapons37

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Bolivia, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited37 9

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Bolivia, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence37

Regulation of Handguns

In Bolivia, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence37 9

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Bolivia, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law37 9

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Bolivia, only licensed gun owners38 39 27 40 41 42 43 44 18 9 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, sports, hunting and collection37 38

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Bolivia is 21 years old39

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Bolivia must pass a background check which considers criminal and mental39 18 9 records

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Bolivia, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every three years45

Licensing Records

In Bolivia, authorities maintain a record46 47 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Bolivia, the law requires48 40 43 44 46 47 22 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 required35 46 47 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 required46 47 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Bolivia, State agencies are required49 47 46 50 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 permitted51

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Bolivia, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is not unlawful51 17 18 21

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Bolivia include52 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 include52 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 include52 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Bolivia include24 32 53 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 law54 31 55

Firearm Tracing

In Bolivia, state authorities carry out56 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Bolivia, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are39 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Bolivia, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law9

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Bolivia, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited57

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 hearings18

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Bolivia, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm58 is 5 years in prison59 19 60 61 62 54 63 20 64 57 22

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Bolivia are known to have33 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 policy65 33 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, 200366

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 ratified67 68 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 signed69 by Bolivia.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed70 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 signed71 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 Aspects72

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. 12873 74 75 76 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 reports77 78 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 designated79 78

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Bolivia, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated79 78

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated78 by Bolivia to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Bolivia has not declared80 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 194581

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list82 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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Karp, Aaron.2009.‘Estimated Total Small Arms, Firearms, and Surpluses in Bolivia, Rounded.’ Surplus Arms in South America: A Survey.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 August. (Q5297)Full Citation

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16.

Bolivia.2013.‘Industrial Manufacturing (Fabricación Industrial).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8434)Full Citation

17.

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

18.

Bolivia.2013.‘Prohibited Activities (Prohibiciones).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8417)Full Citation

19.

Bolivia.2013.‘Illicit Manufacturing (Fabricación Ilícita).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8418)Full Citation

20.

Bolivia.2013.‘Illicit Reparation (Reparación Ilícita).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8425)Full Citation

21.

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23.

Bolivia.2013.‘Exhibitions and Demonstrations (Muestras de Exposición y Demostración).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8415)Full Citation

24.

Bolivia.2013.‘Security Measures for Transporting (Seguridad Para el Transporte).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8395)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

28.

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

29.

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

30.

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

31.

Bolivia.2013.‘Marking (Marcaje).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8429)Full Citation

32.

Bolivia.2013.‘International Transit (Tránsito Internacional).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8431)Full Citation

33.

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

34.

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

35.

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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37.

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

38.

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

39.

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

40.

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

41.

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

42.

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

43.

Bolivia.2013.‘Hunting (Caza).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8413)Full Citation

44.

Bolivia.2013.‘Antique, Historical and Collectable Firearms (Armas Antiguas, Históricas y de Colección).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8414)Full Citation

45.

Bolivia.2013.‘Renewal and Expiration (Renovación y Caducidad).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8402)Full Citation

46.

Bolivia.2013.‘Structure of the General Registry of Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives (Estructura del Registro General de Armas de Fuego, Municiones y Explosivos).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8435)Full Citation

47.

Bolivia.2013.‘General Registry of Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives (Registro General de Armas de Fuego, Municiones y Explosivos).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8436)Full Citation

48.

Bolivia.2006.‘Report on the Programme of Action (Informe sobre el Programa de Acción).’ National Report of Bolivia on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York, NY:Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the United Nations,20 June. (Q4638)Full Citation

49.

Bolivia.2013.‘Control (Control).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8430)Full Citation

50.

Bolivia.2010.‘Report on the Programme of Action (Informe sobre el Programa de Acción).’ National Report of Bolivia on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York, NY:Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the United Nations,1 January. (Q4636)Full Citation

51.

Bolivia.2013.‘Disposal (Enajenación).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8401)Full Citation

52.

Bolivia.2013.‘Storage (Almacenaje).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8432)Full Citation

53.

Bolivia.2013.‘Transport Within Bolivian Territory (Transporte Dentro el Territorio Boliviano).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8438)Full Citation

54.

Bolivia.2013.‘Alteration or Elimination of Marks (Alteración O Supresión de Marca).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8422)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2007.‘National Marking Practices (Prácticas Nacionales de Marcación).’ National Report of Bolivia on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York, NY:Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the United Nations,1 January. (Q4637)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2013.‘Public Display (Ostentación Publica).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8427)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2013.‘Illicit Possession and Bearing or Carrying (Tenencia Y Porte O Portación Ilícita).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8405)Full Citation

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Bolivia.2013.‘Illicit Trafficking of Weapons (Tráfico Ilícito de Armas).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8419)Full Citation

61.

Bolivia.2013.‘Theft or Robbery of Weapons (Hurto o Robo de Armas).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8420)Full Citation

62.

Bolivia.2013.‘Theft or Robbery of Weapons and Ammunition for Military or Police Use (Hurto o Robo de Armamento y Munición de Uso Militar o Policial).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8421)Full Citation

63.

Bolivia.2013.‘Dangerous Storage (Almacenaje Peligroso).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8423)Full Citation

64.

Bolivia.2013.‘Illegal Shooting Training (Instrucción de Tiro Ilegal).’ Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials Control Law - Act 400.Sucre:Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,18 September. (Q8426)Full Citation

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