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Colombia — 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 Colombia is 3,200,0001 2 3 4

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Colombia is 6.91 3 4 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Colombia ranked at No. 305

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Colombia ranked at No. 913

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in Colombia is reported to be

2009: 882,9286 7

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Colombia is

2009: 2.028

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Colombia is reported to be

2009: 1,247,6006 9
2006: 706,21010 11 12
2005: 706,21013 3

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Colombia is

2009: 2.868
2006: 1.6410
2005: 1.708

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Colombia there are estimated to be 800,000 to 2,400,0002 9 13 14

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Colombia there are estimated to be 1.93 to 5.788 illicit firearms per 100 people

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Colombia are reported to have 430,00015 16 2 11 12 17 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In Colombia, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms18

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Colombia are reported to have 285,00015 19 2 11 12 17 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Colombia, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2011: 13,85820
2009: 14,36621
2001: 23,31822 23
1999: 20,39524 25

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2011: 31.020
2009: 32.898
2001: 59.31
1999: 52.89

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Colombia, annual homicides by any means total

2014: 12,77626
2013: 14,29427
2012: 15,73327 28 29
2011: 16,55430 27 28 31
2010: 17,45932 27 28 31 33
2009: 17,71734 27 28 31 33 35 22
2008: 15,25136 27 28 31 33 35 22 37
2007: 16,318
2006: 16,27438 22 37 27 28 31 33 35
2005: 17,33139 40 27 28 31 33 35 22 37 41
2004: 18,88842 40 27 28 31 33 35 22 37 41
2003: 22,17243 40 28 31 33 35 22 37 41
2002: 28,53444 22 37 40 28 31 33 35
2001: 27,68545 40 28 31 23 33 35 22
2000: 25,68146 40 28 31 33 35 22
1999: 23,20947 48 22 40 31
1998: 23,09642 31 48
1997: 25,379
1996: 26,84242 31
1995: 25,398
1994: 26,67642
1993: 28,048
1992: 28,225
1991: 28,28042 26
1990: 24,30442
1989: 22,772
1988: 21,604
1987: 17,447
1986: 15,735
1985: 12,922

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

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

2014: 27.638
2013: 30.3327
2012: 33.7627 28 29
2011: 35.9530 27 28 31
2010: 38.3632 27 28 31 33
2009: 39.3934 27 28 31 33 35
2008: 34.0036 27 28 31 33 35
2007: 37.15
2006: 38.0038 27 28 31 33 35
2005: 38.0039 27 28 31 33 35
2004: 42.0042 27 28 31 33 35
2003: 54.958 28 31 33 35
2002: 65.0044 28 31 33 35
2001: 64.045 28 31 33 35
2000: 61.0046 28 31 33 35
1999: 56.0047 48 31
1998: 54.0042 31 48
1997: 61.00
1996: 65.0042 31
1995: 86.00
1994: 89.0042
1993: 73.00
1992: 53.00
1991: 58.0042 26
1990: 73.328
1989: 70.15
1988: 68.00
1987: 56.13
1986: 51.74
1985: 43.44

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Colombia, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 10,94827
2012: 12,210
2011: 12,81949 27 28 20
2010: 13,54950 27 28 31 51
2009: 13,85152 28 31 22 48 51
2008: 10,82053 28 31 22 51 37
2007: 11,60454 37 28 31 22 51
2006: 11,65555 37 28 31 22 51
2005: 12,04356 40 28 31 22 51 37 41
2004: 14,54557 37 31 22 51 41 40
2003: 11,30922 51 37 41 40
2002: 24,34022 51 37 40
2001: 22,45345 22 23 51 40
2000: 21,89824 22 33 40
1999: 19,55358 22 40 24
1998: 18,91024

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 23.938
2012: 26.99
2011: 28.668 20
2010: 30.658 31 51
2009: 31.71
2008: 25.08
2007: 27.248 31 51 35
2006: 27.728 31 51
2005: 2005
2004: 35.54
2003: 28.038 51
2002: 61.15
2001: 57.11
2000: 51.7724 51
1999: 50.708 24
1998: 46.3524

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2013: 77%27
2012: 78%27 29
2011: 77%28 27
2010: 77.60%50 28 27 59
2009: 78.18%52 28
2008: 77.1%53 37 28
2007: 71.3%
2006: 71.6%
2005: 69.5%37 28 40
2004: 82.85%57 37 40
2003: 83.5%43 40 37
2002: 86.3%44 40 37
2001: 85.34%40 45
2000: 85.08%40 60
1999: 84.25%40

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Colombia, annual suicides by any means total

2011: 1,88961
2010: 1,86462
2009: 1,84563 64
2008: 1,84065 66 64
2007: 1,775
2006: 1,75167 66 64
2005: 1,78668 69 66 64
2004: 1,70170 69 66 64
2003: 1,93871 69 66 64
2002: 2,04572 69 66 64
2001: 2,05673 69 66 23 64
2000: 2,07074 69 66 64
1999: 2,08975 64 69
1998: 2,04674 25
1997: 1,69274
1996: 1,613
1995: 1,59072
1994: 1,501

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

ChartIn Colombia, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2011: 4.1061
2010: 4.1062
2009: 4.1063 64
2008: 4.0065 66 64
2007: 4.00
2006: 4.0067 66 64
2005: 3.968 66 64
2004: 4.168 66 64
2003: 4.80
2002: 4.772 66 64
2001: 4.873 66 64
2000: 4.975 66 64
1999: 5.0075 64
1998: 5.075 25
1997: 4.275
1996: 4.1
1995: 4.172
1994: 4.00

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Colombia, annual firearm suicides total

2011: 27576 20
2010: 38877
2009: 38278 64 21
2007: 39579
2006: 40480
2005: 41569 81
2004: 47269 82
2003: 56769 71
2002: 54969 83
2001: 62723 69 84
2000: 62169 85
1999: 70886 69 25

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.618 20
2010: 0.888
2009: 0.87
2007: 0.93
2006: 0.96
2005: 1.00
2004: 1.15
2003: 1.40
2002: 1.38
2001: 1.59
2000: 1.60
1999: 1.848 25

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Colombia, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2011: 1987 20
2010: 3488
2009: 4621
2007: 7789
2006: 2590
2005: 3191
2004: 5192
2002: 6093
2001: 7094 23
2000: 7395
1999: 6425

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.048
2010: 0.08
2009: 0.11
2007: 0.18
2006: 0.06
2005: 0.07
2004: 0.12
2002: 0.15
2001: 0.18
2000: 0.19
1999: 0.1425

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2011: 20396 20
2010: 33497
2009: 24998 21
2008: 16899
2001: 17823
1999: 1225

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

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

2011: 0.458
2010: 0.76
2009: 0.57
2008: 0.39
2001: 0.45
1999: 0.0325

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

In Colombia, the annual number of non-fatal firearm injuries is

2001: 6,797100

Rate of Non-fatal Gun Injury per 100,000 People

In Colombia, the annual rate of non-fatal firearm injury per 100,000 population is

2001: 17.298

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Colombia, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is prohibited, for all excluding official government manufacturers101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, Colombia was ranked 'small'113

Home-made Guns

In Colombia, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be high114 115 116

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Colombia, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law102 117 118 119 120 112 121 122

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Colombia is reported by Customs to be US$7,848,243123 (2011)

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, Colombia was categorized as 'minor'124

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Colombia, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law101 102 117 118 119 120 112 121 110

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Colombia is reported by Customs to be US$53,773,869123 (2011)125 126 127 128

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Colombia is high129 130 115 111 131 132 133

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Colombia, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law134 135

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Colombia include118 136 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, Colombia scored

2014: 8.50137
2013: 8.75138

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Colombia is categorised as restrictive139

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Colombia includes the Constitution, Article 223,101 the Decree 2535 of 1993,140 the Decree 0006 of 1993,141 the Decree 356 of 1994,141 the Decree 1809 of 1994,142 the Decree 2685 of 1999,143 the Law 599 of 2000 (Penal Code), Articles 365 and 366, as amended by Articles 38 and 55 of the Law 1142 of 2007, the Law 1119 of 2006144 the Decree 626 of 2001,141 the Decree 334 and Decree 1612 of 2002141

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Colombia are regulated by the Arms Committee of the Ministry of National Defence,145 146 the Head of the Department for the Trade Control of Arms, Ammunition and Explosives, the Chiefs of Staff of the Tactical Operations Units or their equivalent in the Navy or the Air Force and the Executive and Deputy-Heads of Tactical Units of the National Army, or their equivalents in the Navy and the Air Force147

Right to Possess Firearms

In Colombia, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law148 149 101 150

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Colombia, civilians are not allowed to possess pistols and revolvers of calibre superior to 9.652mm, automatic arms, semi-automatic rifles and carbines over .22 calibre LR, arms with military-style devices (infrared and laser sights, grenade launchers and silencers),151 142 152 and explosive, toxic, expanding and fragmenting ammunition 153

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Colombia, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited with only narrow exemptions151 154 155 156 29

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Colombia, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited with only narrow exemptions151 156

Regulation of Handguns

In Colombia, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence157 151 154 155 156 29

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Colombia, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law157 151 29

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Colombia, only licensed gun owners101 150 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 104 165 166 167 29 146 110 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Colombia are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example personal protection, security, hunting, target shooting, collection168 164 159 169 162 165 166 167

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Colombia is 18 years167

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Colombia must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, health and addiction164 170 167 29 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Colombia, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required171

Partner to be Advised or Interviewed

In Colombia, licensing authorities are not required171 to conduct interviews with, or to advise an applicant's spouse, partner, or next of kin before issuing a gun licence

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Colombia stipulates172 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Colombia, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required (for surveillance or private security services)173 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Colombia, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every ten years (for firearms not to be carried outside of the house or property),162 three years (for self-defence) and one year (for restricted weapons)174 175

Licensing Records

In Colombia, authorities maintain a record176 177 11 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Colombia are permitted to possess two firearms for individuals163 155 and up to five firearms for legal persons and rural properties178 179 180

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Colombia are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition171

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Colombia, the law requires181 182 176 156 183 177 11 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 Colombia, licensed firearm dealers are required110 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Colombia, licensed gun makers are required106 184 181 182 110 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Colombia, State agencies are required181 182 176 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 Colombia, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited outside immediate family members102 185 186 187

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Colombia, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful102 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 110 111

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

The number of licensed firearm dealers in Colombia is reported to be

2006: 34112 111

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Colombia, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined171

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Colombia, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated171 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Colombia include192 166 193 194 175 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 Colombia include106 105 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Colombia include194 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Colombia include160 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Colombia, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law108 195 196 197 198 199 183 110

Firearm Tracing

In Colombia, state authorities carry out176 200 201 110 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Colombia, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not197 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Colombia, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law101 150 202 174 163 175 29 9 110

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Colombia, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit101 150 202 174 163 175 29 9

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Colombia, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit101 150 202 174 163 175 29 9

Gun Free Zones

In Colombia, private guns are prohibited in political meetings, elections or public corporations' meetings101

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Colombia, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm203 is 12 years in prison204 205 175 206

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Colombia are known to have207 208 209 210 211 212 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

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

2010: 250210
2005: 418,688213
2004: 743,688
2003-06: 18,051214
2003: 488213
1996-97: 2,688

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

ChartIn Colombia, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2013: 44,139215 216 217
2012: 75,213
2011: 42,062218 217
2010: 44,572217
2009: 47,941219 220 221
2008: 45,725219
2007: 56,682222 211 223
2006: 70,036222 224
2005: 20,967225
2004: 71,937226 225
2003: 54,756
2002: 18,409225
2001: 15,195
2000: 15,637

Small Arms Destroyed

ChartIn Colombia, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be

2013: 41,073216
2012: 74,359
2011: 42,052227
2010: 9,487210
2009: 26,014209 6
2008: 27,864
2006/07: 28,103211 6
2005: 418,688213
2004: 743,688
2003: 488
2003/06: 141,719228
2002: 15,026212
1996/97: 2,688213

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Colombia, it is not state policy229 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, Colombia

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, 2003230

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Colombia 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 ratified231 232 by Colombia

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, lists233 Colombia 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 signed in 2008234 by Colombia.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified235 by Colombia

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 signed236 by Colombia

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Colombia 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 Aspects237

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Colombia against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 36238 239 240 241 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Colombia has submitted one or more national reports242 243 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Colombia, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated244 243

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Colombia, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated244

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Colombia submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent245 244

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated243 by Colombia to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided243 to Colombia by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Colombia has declared246 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Colombia has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945247

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list248 Colombia as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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