Find Gun Policy Facts

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

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) per 100 people in China is 4.91

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 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 2007 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 680,0001

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

Routine Arming of Police

In China, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms6

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in China are reported to have 1,950,0007 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn China, annual homicides by any means total

2011: 12,3368
2010: 13,4109 10
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

2011: 0.928
2010: 1.09 10
2009: 1.1
2008: 1.1
2007: 1.29 10 11
2006: 1.4
2005: 1.6
2004: 1.9
2003: 1.9
2002: 2.0
2001: 2.1611
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: 178,67512

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: 13.7012

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 licence13

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, China was ranked 'major'14

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In China, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law15 16 17 18

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from China is reported by Customs to be US$19,344,55019 (2011)20 21 22

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, China was categorized as 'major'23 24 25 26 27

Firearm Imports

In China, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law15

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to China is reported by Customs to be US$5,513,49619 (2011)28

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in China is moderate29 30

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In China, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law31

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in China include32 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

ChartIn its annual Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, the Small Arms Survey compares public reporting among major arms exporting nations on a scale from strong to weak (25 to zero). In recent years, China scored

2016: 7.0033
2014: 7.0034
2013: 6.5035
2012: 7.0036
2011: 8.0037
2010: 8.0038
2009: 7.5039
2008: 7.5040
2007: 7.5041
2006: 7.5042
2005: 7.5043
2004: 7.5044

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in China is categorised as restrictive45

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in China includes the Law on the Control of Firearms 1996,46 Firearm Regulation and the Public Security Organs47 29

Right to Possess Firearms

In China, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law48 49 50

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In China, civilians are not allowed to possess any firearms51

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In China, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited51 8

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In China, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited51

Regulation of Handguns

In China, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted for hunting with permission only29 8

Law Regulates Long Guns

In China, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law8

Gun Ownership and Possession

In China, no civilian (private ownership prohibited, Govt.-issued firearms are allocated to those in genuine need)52 53 51 8 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 establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting, sports shooting, animal control (strictly restricted)53

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in China must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health and domestic violence29 8 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In China, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required50

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in China stipulates29 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 required54 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 State52 51

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In China, the law requires55 56 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 required55 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 required55 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 prohibited13 51

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In China, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful13 51

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 level13

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In China, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined50

Regulation of Gun Shows

In China, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are regulated51 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in China include57 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 include50 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 include58 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in China include59 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 law60 61

Firearm Tracing

In China, state authorities carry out62 63 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In China, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not50 recorded in a register

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)29 8

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In China, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed without a permit, with some restrictions29 8

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In China, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm64 is up to two years in prison65

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in China are known to have66 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Surrendered in Gun Amnesty

In China, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be

2014: 150,00067

Small Arms Destroyed

In China, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 291,00066 (2005-08), 100,00068 (2012), and 130,00069 (2013)

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In China, it is state policy66 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

The UNCCPCJ, a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, lists70 China as an elected member

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 signed71 by China.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed72 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 ratified73 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 Aspects74

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored China against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 4275 76 77 78 among 159 Member States

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 reports79 63 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 designated80 63

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In China, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated63

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of China submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent63

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated63 by China to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided63 to China by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, China has not declared81 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 194582

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list83 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


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