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Bulgaria — 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 Bulgaria is 480,0001 2

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Bulgaria is 6.21 to 19.43 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Bulgaria ranked at No. 844

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Bulgaria ranked at No. 881

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in Bulgaria is reported to be 2014: 211,4862

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Bulgaria is 2014: 3.055

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Bulgaria is reported to be

2014: 300,5832
2005: 300,0004

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Bulgaria is

2014: 4.345
2005: 4.03

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Bulgaria there are estimated to be 93,2066

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Bulgaria there are estimated to be 1.245 illicit firearms per 100 people

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Bulgaria are reported to have 504,0007 8 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Bulgaria are reported to have 59,4009 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2012: 12010 11 12 13
2011: 9914
2010: 10710 11 12 13
2009: 170
2008: 136
2007: 107
2006: 135
2005: 139
2004: 12810 11 12
2003: 155
2002: 148
2001: 153
2000: 154
1999: 13310 11 12 15
1998: 19410 11 12

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2012: 1.715
2011: 1.3514
2010: 1.505
2009: 2.36
2008: 1.87
2007: 1.46
2006: 1.83
2005: 1.87
2004: 1.70
2003: 2.04
2002: 1.93
2001: 1.98
2000: 1.97
1999: 1.68
1998: 2.43

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual homicides by any means total

2011: 12816
2010: 147
2009: 150
2008: 172
2007: 177
2006: 186
2005: 199
2004: 244
2003: 247
2002: 255
2001: 308
2000: 332
1999: 327
1998: 381
1997: 398
1996: 438
1995: 494

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

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

2011: 1.716
2010: 2.0
2009: 2.0
2008: 2.316 17
2007: 2.3
2006: 2.4
2005: 2.6
2004: 3.1
2003: 3.2
2002: 3.2
2001: 3.9
2000: 4.1
1999: 4.1
1998: 4.7
1997: 4.9
1996: 5.3
1995: 5.9

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual firearm homicides total

2012: 2510
2011: 17
2010: 31
2009: 47
2008: 2810 16
2007: 33
2006: 27
2005: 49
2004: 59
2003: 74
2002: 6510
2001: 73
2000: 7010 16
1999: 51
1998: 88
1997: 11016
1996: 105
1995: 107

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2012: 0.3410
2011: 0.23
2010: 0.41
2009: 0.62
2008: 0.3710 16
2007: 0.43
2006: 0.35
2005: 0.63
2004: 0.76
2003: 0.95
2002: 0.8310
2001: 0.92
2000: 0.8610 16
1999: 0.62
1998: 1.07
1997: 0.516
1996: 0.5
1995: 0.5

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual handgun homicides total

2012: 1710
2011: 11
2010: 22
2009: 22
2008: 1410
2007: 20
2006: 10
2005: 29

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.2310
2011: 0.15
2010: 0.29
2009: 0.29
2008: 0.1810
2007: 0.26
2006: 0.13
2005: 0.37

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual long gun homicides total

2012: 410
2011: 3
2010: 1
2009: 4
2008: 510
2007: 3
2006: 1

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.0510
2011: 0.04
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.05
2008: 0.0710
2007: 0.04
2006: 0.01

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual gun homicides (other) total

2012: 410
2011: 3
2010: 8
2009: 21
2008: 910
2007: 10
2006: 16
2005: 20

Rate of Gun Homicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of gun homicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.0510
2011: 0.04
2010: 0.11
2009: 0.28
2008: 0.1210
2007: 0.13
2006: 0.21
2005: 0.26

Suicides (any method)

In Bulgaria, annual suicides by any means total 1999: 1,30715

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

In Bulgaria, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is 1999: 16.5515

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual firearm suicides total

2012: 7111
2011: 64
2010: 58
2009: 83
2008: 71
2007: 57
2006: 75
2005: 55
2004: 57
2003: 65
2002: 73
2001: 64
2000: 70
1999: 55
1998: 87

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2012: 0.9711
2011: 0.87
2010: 0.77
2009: 1.09
2008: 0.93
2007: 0.74
2006: 0.97
2005: 0.71
2004: 0.73
2003: 0.83
2002: 0.93
2001: 0.81
2000: 0.86
1999: 0.67
1998: 1.05

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual handgun suicides total

2012: 4911
2011: 43
2010: 43
2009: 55
2008: 35
2007: 32
2006: 49
2005: 36

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of handgun suicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.6711
2011: 0.59
2010: 0.57
2009: 0.73
2008: 0.46
2007: 0.42
2006: 0.64
2005: 0.47

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn Bulgaria, the number of long gun suicides is

2012: 311
2011: 2
2010: 1
2009: 12
2008: 8
2007: 7
2006: 5
2005: 3

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of long gun suicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.0411
2011: 0.03
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.16
2008: 0.10
2007: 0.09
2006: 0.06
2005: 0.04

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual gun suicides (other) total

2012: 1911
2011: 19
2010: 14
2009: 16
2008: 28
2007: 18
2006: 21
2005: 16

Rate of Gun Suicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of gun suicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.2611
2011: 0.26
2010: 0.19
2009: 0.21
2008: 0.37
2007: 0.24
2006: 0.27
2005: 0.21

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2012: 1712
2011: 10
2010: 12
2009: 26
2008: 25
2007: 12
2006: 25
2005: 23
2004: 12
2003: 16
2002: 10
2001: 16
2000: 14
1999: 20
1998: 19

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.2312
2011: 0.14
2010: 0.16
2009: 0.34
2008: 0.33
2007: 0.16
2006: 0.32
2005: 0.3
2004: 0.15
2003: 0.2
2002: 0.13
2001: 0.2
2000: 0.17
1999: 0.24
1998: 0.23

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2012: 712
2011: 5
2010: 5
2009: 10
2008: 9
2007: 8
2006: 11
2005: 13

Rate of Unintentional Handgun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by handgun per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.1012
2011: 0.07
2010: 0.07
2009: 0.13
2008: 0.12
2007: 0.10
2006: 0.14
2005: 0.17

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2012: 312
2011: 1
2010: 2
2009: 2
2008: 2
2006: 4

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by long gun per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.0412
2011: 0.01
2010: 0.03
2009: 0.03
2008: 0.03
2006: 0.05

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual unintentional shooting deaths by firearm (other) total

2012: 712
2011: 4
2010: 5
2009: 14
2008: 14
2007: 4
2006: 10
2005: 10

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by firearm (other) per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.1012
2011: 0.05
2010: 0.07
2009: 0.18
2008: 0.18
2007: 0.05
2006: 0.13
2005: 0.13

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2012: 713
2011: 8
2010: 6
2009: 14
2008: 12
2007: 5
2006: 8
2005: 12
1999: 715

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

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

2012: 0.1013
2011: 0.11
2010: 0.08
2009: 0.18
2008: 0.16
2007: 0.07
2006: 0.10
2005: 0.16
1999: 0.0915

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual deaths by handgun in which the cause remains undecided total

2012: 313
2009: 1
2008: 6
2007: 2
2006: 3
2005: 1

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

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of unknown-cause handgun deaths per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.0413
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.08
2007: 0.03
2006: 0.04
2005: 0.01

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual deaths by long gun in which the cause remains undecided total

2011: 313
2010: 2
2009: 2
2007: 1
2005: 1

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

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of unknown-cause long gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.0413
2010: 0.03
2009: 0.03
2007: 0.01
2005: 0.01

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Bulgaria, annual deaths by firearm (other) in which the cause remains undecided total

2012: 413
2011: 5
2010: 4
2009: 11
2008: 6
2007: 2
2006: 5
2005: 10

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

ChartIn Bulgaria, the annual rate of unknown-cause gun deaths (other) per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.0513
2011: 0.07
2010: 0.05
2009: 0.15
2008: 0.08
2007: 0.03
2006: 0.06
2005: 0.13

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Bulgaria, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence18 19 20

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, Bulgaria is ranked 'medium'21

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Bulgaria, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Bulgaria is reported by Customs to be US$8,321,66729 (2011)

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, Bulgaria is categorized as 'unknown'30

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Bulgaria, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law22 23 24 25 26 27

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Bulgaria is reported by Customs to be US$11,172,21929 (2011)31

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Bulgaria, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law32 23 33 34

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Bulgaria do not include35 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

Transparency of Small Arms Transfers

In the most recent survey of state transparency in declaring firearm and ammunition exports among major small arms exporting nations, Bulgaria was ranked at No. 1236

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Bulgaria is categorised as restrictive37

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Bulgaria includes the Law on the Control of Explosives, Firearms and Ammunitions,38 the Law on the Control of Foreign Trade Activity in Arms and in Dual–Use Goods and Technologies,39 Directiva del Consejo del 18 de junio de 1991, sobre el control de la adquisición y tenencia de armas,40 41 la Regulación de la Unión Europa de armas de fuego de 2012 y la Posición Común sobre el control de corretaje de armas de 200342

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Bulgaria are regulated by the Ministry of the Interior,43 44 and the European Commission41

Right to Possess Firearms

In Bulgaria, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law45 35

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Bulgaria, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic firearms, firearms disguised as other objects, and armour-piercing, incendiary and expanding ammunition46 47

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Bulgaria, private possession of fully automatic weapons is permitted under licence35 46 47

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Bulgaria, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence35 48 49 47

Regulation of Handguns

In Bulgaria, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence35 46 48 49 47

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Bulgaria, only licensed gun owners43 50 46 48 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Bulgaria are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, self-defence, hunting, sporting, cultural purposes51 52 53

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Bulgaria is full legal age54 53

Gun Licence Background Check

An applicant for a firearm licence in Bulgaria must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental and substance abuse54 53 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Bulgaria, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required35

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Bulgaria does not stipulate35 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Bulgaria, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required35 for a firearm licence

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Bulgaria are permitted to possess any number of firearms35

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Bulgaria are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition35 55

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Bulgaria, the law requires56 57 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 Bulgaria, licensed firearm dealers are required18 57 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Bulgaria, licensed gun makers are required58 56 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Bulgaria, State agencies are required56 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in Bulgaria is not obliged35 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Background Checks for Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in Bulgaria is not obliged35 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

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

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Bulgaria, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful18 19 59 49

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Bulgaria, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined35

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Bulgaria, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated35 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Bulgaria include18 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 Bulgaria do not include35 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Bulgaria do not include35 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Bulgaria include60 19 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Bulgaria, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law61 62

Firearm Tracing

In Bulgaria, state authorities carry out61 62 57 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In Bulgaria, state authorities do not employ35 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Bulgaria, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed without a permit52

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Bulgaria, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed without a permit52

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Bulgaria, it is not state policy35 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

European Union

As a member of the European Union, Bulgaria is bound by the provisions of the ‘EU Firearms Directive’ – the 2007 Legislative Resolution on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons of the European Parliament63 64

European Union Export Reporting

Under the European Union Common Position on Arms Exports, Bulgaria is bound to declare its transfers of military technology and equipment. Independent monitoring provides detailed comparisons of arms export reporting compliance across EU member states, and records that Bulgaria has submitted one or more national reports65 on its arms transfers

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 signed in 200666 by Bulgaria.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified67 by Bulgaria

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 ratified68 by Bulgaria

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Bulgaria 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 Aspects69

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Bulgaria against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 2770 71 72 73 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Bulgaria has submitted one or more national reports74 75 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Bulgaria, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated76 75

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Bulgaria, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated76

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated75 by Bulgaria to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Bulgaria has declared77 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Bulgaria has been a Member State of the United Nations since 195578

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists79 Bulgaria as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Global Peace Index

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


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