Find Gun Policy Facts

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

Switch Language

China — 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 China is 40,000,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in China is 4.91 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, China ranked at No. 32

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, China ranked at No. 1021

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in China is reported to be 680,0002

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in China is 0.053

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of China are reported to have 21,000,0004 5 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in China are reported to have 1,950,0006 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn China, annual homicides by any means total

2010: 13,4107
2009: 14,667
2008: 14,811
2007: 16,119
2006: 17,973
2005: 20,770
2004: 24,711
2003: 24,393
2002: 26,276

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

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

2010: 1.07
2009: 1.1
2008: 1.1
2007: 1.27 8
2006: 1.4
2005: 1.6
2004: 1.9
2003: 1.9
2002: 2.0
2001: 2.168
2000: 2.25
1999: 2.19
1998: 2.23
1997: 2.14
1996: 2.11
1995: 2.27

Suicides (any method)

In China, annual suicides by any means total 1999: 178,6759

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

In China, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is 1999: 13.709

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In China, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence10

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, China is ranked 'major'11

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In China, 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 China is reported by Customs to be US$19,344,55016 (2011)

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, China is categorized as 'mid-level'17

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In China, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law12

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to China is reported by Customs to be US$5,513,49616 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in China is moderate18 19

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In China, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law20

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in China include21 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, China was ranked at No. 4422

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in China is categorised as restrictive23

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in China includes the Law on the Control of Firearms 1996,24 Firearm Regulation and the Public Security Organs25 18

Right to Possess Firearms

In China, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law26

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In China, civilians are not allowed to possess any firearms27

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In China, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited27

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In China, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited27

Regulation of Handguns

In China, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted for hunting with permission only18

Gun Ownership and Possession

In China, no civilian (private ownership prohibited, Govt.-issued firearms are allocated to those in genuine need)28 29 27 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in China are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, hunting, sports shooting, animal control (strictly restricted)29

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in China must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental and domestic violence18 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In China, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required26

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in China stipulates18 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In China, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required30 for a firearm licence

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in China are permitted to possess only the nature and number of firearms distributed by the State28 27

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In China, the law requires31 32 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 China, licensed firearm dealers are required31 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In China, State agencies are required31 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 China, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited10 27

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In China, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful10 27

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In China, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to the number of firearms and ammunition specified in the special permit issued by the public security organs under the people's government at provincial level10

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In China, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined26

Regulation of Gun Shows

In China, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are regulated27 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in China include33 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 China do not include26 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in China include34 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in China include35 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In China, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law36 37

Firearm Tracing

In China, state authorities carry out38 39 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In China, state authorities do not employ26 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In China, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed without a permit (with some restrictions)18

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In China, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed without a permit, with some restrictions18

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In China, the maximum penalty for illicit firearm possession is up to 2 years prison40

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in China are known to have41 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 China, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 291,00041

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In China, it is state policy41 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

At the resumption of the most recent session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (UNCCPCJ), a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, China was listed as an elected member for a three-year term of office42

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 signed43 by China.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed44 by China

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, but not yet ratified45 by China

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, China 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 Aspects46

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, China has submitted one or more national reports47 39 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In China, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated48 39

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In China, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated39

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated39 by China to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided39 to China by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, China has not declared49 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, China has been a Member State of the United Nations since 194550

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list51 China as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

1.

Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms - Annexe online.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q5)Full Citation

2.

Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q4)Full Citation

3.

GunPolicy.org.2011.‘Calculated Rates – China.’ Historical Population Data – USCB International Data Base.Suitland, MD:US Census Bureau Population Division,17 March. (Q4216)Full Citation

4.

Karp, Aaron.2013.‘Table 4: Twenty Largest Military Small Arms Inventories.’ Armed Actors - Data Sources and the Estimation of Military-Owned Small Arms.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 September. (Q8186)Full Citation

5.

Karp, Aaron.2006.‘Trickle and Torrent: State stockpiles.’ Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q6)Full Citation

6.

Karp, Aaron.2012.‘Table 1 - Estimated Law Enforcement Firearms in 20 Selected Countries.’ Armed Actors - Estimating Law Enforcement Firearms.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 December. (Q6544)Full Citation

7.

UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - China.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6322)Full Citation

8.

Petrini, Benjamin.2011.‘East Asia and the Pacific, 1995-2008, Total Recorded Intentional Homicide, Completed, Rate per 100,000 Population.’ World Bank Homicide Rate Dataset 1995-2008.Washington DC:Social Development Department, World Bank,10 February. (Q3814)Full Citation

9.

Jackson, Thomas.2005.‘Global Gun Deaths.’ NISAT Firearm Mortality Database 2005.Oslo:Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers,1 January. (Q12)Full Citation

10.

China.1996.‘Manufacture of Firearms and Sale of Firearms for Civil Use.’ Law of the People's Republic of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q1447)Full Citation

11.

Small Arms Survey.2001.‘Ranking of World's Small Arms Producers (By Sales).’ Small Arms Survey 2001: Profiling the Problem.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q103)Full Citation

12.

China.1996.‘Entry and Exit of Firearms.’ Law of the People's Republic of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q1452)Full Citation

13.

China.2008.‘Export Control.’ National Report of China 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:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,3 July. (Q1651)Full Citation

14.

China.2008.‘Unified Administrative System for Arms Exports.’ National Report of China 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:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,3 July. (Q1652)Full Citation

15.

China.2008.‘Arms Export Licensing System.’ National Report of China 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:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,3 July. (Q1653)Full Citation

16.

Marsh, Nicholas.2013.‘Database of Authorised Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons.’ NISAT Small Arms Trade Database.Oslo:Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers,14 February. (Q16)Full Citation

17.

Small Arms Survey.2001.‘60 Known Legal Small Arms Exporting Countries, 2001.’ Small Arms Survey 2001: Profiling the Problem.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q867)Full Citation

18.

United Nations.1999.‘Analysis of Country Responses.’ United Nations International Study on Firearm Regulation.Vienna:UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division,30 August. (Q1)Full Citation

19.

Wang Zhuoqiong. 2005. ‘Arms Smugglers Go on Trial in Qinghai Court.’ China Daily. 25 August. (N190) Full Citation

20.

China.2008.‘Brokering Administration.’ National Report of China 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:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,3 July. (Q1655)Full Citation

21.

China.2010.‘Export Controls.’ National Report of China 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), and the International Tracing Instrument.New York:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,1 July. (Q3223)Full Citation

22.

Pavesi, Irene and Christelle Rigual.2013.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2013.’ Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,2 July. (Q6871)Full Citation

23.

Newton, George D and Franklin E Zimring.1969.‘Firearm Licensing: Permissive v Restrictive.’ Firearms & Violence in American Life: A staff report submitted to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence.Washington, DC:US Government Printing Office,1 January. (Q22)Full Citation

24.

China.1996.‘Law on the Control of Firearms.’ Law of the People's Republic of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q1386)Full Citation

25.

China.2008.‘Relevant Legislation.’ National Report of China 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:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,3 July. (Q1648)Full Citation

26.

China.1996.‘Control of Firearms.’ Law of the People's Republic of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q4104)Full Citation

27.

China.2003.‘Distribution and Holding of Firearms.’ National Report of China 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:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,1 January. (Q1656)Full Citation

28.

China.1996.‘General Principles.’ Law of the People's Republic of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q1445)Full Citation

29.

China.1996.‘Allocation of Firearms.’ Law of the People's Republic of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q1446)Full Citation

30.

China.1996.‘Routine Control of Firearms – Training.’ Law of the People's Republic of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q1450)Full Citation

31.

China.2008.‘Record Keeping.’ National Report of China 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:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,3 July. (Q1718)Full Citation

32.

Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q2082)Full Citation

33.

China.1996.‘Routine Control of Firearms – Storage.’ Law of the People's Republic of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q1449)Full Citation

34.

China.2008.‘Stockpile Management.’ National Report of China 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:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,3 July. (Q1649)Full Citation

35.

China.1996.‘Transport of Firearms.’ Law of the People's Republic of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q1451)Full Citation

36.

China.1996.‘Manufacture of Firearms and Sale of Firearms for Civil Use – Marking.’ Law of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q1448)Full Citation

37.

China.2008.‘Marking.’ National Report of China 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:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,3 July. (Q1654)Full Citation

38.

IANSA.2006.‘Reviewing Action on Small Arms 2006: Assessing the first five years of the UN Programme of Action.’ Biting the Bullet 'Red Book' 2006.New York:International Action Network on Small Arms and the Biting the Bullet project,26 June. (Q323)Full Citation

39.

UNODA.2009.‘PoA-ISS Country Profiles.’ UN small arms Programme of Action (UNPoA) – Implementation Support System.New York:United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs,29 October. (Q1309)Full Citation

40.

China.1996.‘Relevant Articles in the Criminal Law – Penalties.’ Law of the People's Republic of China on the Control of Firearms.Beijing:President of the People's Republic of China,1 October. (Q1453)Full Citation

41.

China.2008.‘Confiscation and Destruction.’ National Report of China 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:Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations,3 July. (Q1650)Full Citation

42.

UNCCPCJ / UNODC.1991.‘Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.’ United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.Vienna:United Nations Economic and Social Council / United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,1 January. (Q3222)Full Citation

43.

GDAV.2006.‘Geneva Declaration.’ Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development.Geneva:Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development Secretariat,7 June. (Q7162)Full Citation

44.

UNODA.2013.‘Towards Entry Into Force.’ Arms Trade Treaty.New York NY:United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,2 April. (Q7226)Full Citation

45.

UNGA.2001.‘United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.’ UN General Assembly Resolution 55/255.New York:UN General Assembly,31 May. (Q17)Full Citation

46.

UNGA.2001.‘Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.’ United Nations General Assembly.New York:UN General Assembly,20 July. (Q18)Full Citation

47.

Cattaneo, Silvia and Sarah Parker.2008.‘Reporting, NPCs and NCAs, 2002 to 2008.’ Implementing the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons: Analysis of the National Reports submitted by States from 2002 to 2008.Geneva:United Nations Development Programme,1 November. (Q20)Full Citation

48.

IANSA.2006.‘Reviewing Action on Small Arms 2006: Assessing the first five years of the UN Programme of Action.’ Biting the Bullet 'Red Book' 2006.New York:International Action Network on Small Arms and the Biting the Bullet project,26 June. (Q166)Full Citation

49.

UNODA.2011.‘National Reports on Small Arms Exports.’ United Nations Register of Conventional Arms - The Global Reported Arms Trade.New York:United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,21 October. (Q14)Full Citation

50.

UN.2013.‘Member States of the United Nations.’ UN.org Web Site.New York:United Nations General Assembly,7 April. (Q290)Full Citation

51.

Wassenaar Arrangement.1996.‘Introduction: Participating States.’ Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.Vienna:Wassenaar Secretariat,12 July. (Q19)Full Citation