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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 2,200,000 to 3,100,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Colombia is 5.92 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. 303

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. 912

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in Colombia is reported to be 706,2104 3

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Colombia is 1.705

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Colombia there are estimated to be 800,000 to 2,400,0001 4

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Colombia are reported to have 535,0001 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Colombia are reported to have 258,5006 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

In Colombia, annual deaths resulting from firearms total 1999: 20,3957 8

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

In Colombia, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is 1999: 52.895

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Colombia, annual homicides by any means total

2011: 15,5729
2010: 15,459
2009: 15,8179 10
2008: 16,140
2007: 17,198
2006: 17,479
2005: 18,111
2004: 20,210
2003: 23,523
2002: 28,837
2001: 27,840
2000: 26,540
1999: 24,3589 11
1998: 23,096
1997: 25,379
1996: 26,6429
1995: 25,398

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

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

2011: 33.29
2010: 33.4
2009: 34.69 10
2008: 35.9
2007: 38.8
2006: 40.0
2005: 42.1
2004: 47.7
2003: 56.4
2002: 70.2
2001: 68.9
2000: 66.7
1999: 62.39 11
1998: 60.1
1997: 67.2
1996: 71.89
1995: 69.7

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Colombia, annual firearm homicides total

2010: 12,5399
2009: 12,8089 11
2008: 12,8969
2007: 13,818
2006: 13,195
2005: 14,763
2004: 16,979
2000: 21,8987
1999: 19,678
1998: 18,910

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 27.19
2009: 28.1
2008: 28.7
2007: 31.29 10
2006: 31.89
2005: 34.3
2004: 40.1
2000: 51.777
1999: 47.42
1998: 46.35

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Colombia, annual suicides by any means total

2009: 1,84512
2008: 1,841
2007: 1,771
2006: 1,751
2005: 1,786
2004: 1,817
2003: 1,938
2002: 2,045
2001: 2,056
2000: 2,070
1999: 2,089
1998: 2,0468

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

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

2009: 4.1012
2008: 4.14
2007: 4.03
2006: 4.03
2005: 4.16
2004: 4.28
2003: 4.63
2002: 4.94
2001: 5.03
2000: 5.13
1999: 5.25
1998: 4.638

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Colombia, annual firearm suicides total

2009: 38212
1999: 6418

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2009: 0.875
1999: 1.458

Unintentional Gun Deaths

In Colombia, annual unintentional shooting deaths total 1999: 648

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

In Colombia, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is 1999: 0.148

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

In Colombia, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total 1999: 128

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

In Colombia, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is 1999: 0.038

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 manufacturers13

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

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

Home-made Guns

In Colombia the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be high15

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Colombia, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law13 16 17

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Colombia is reported by Customs to be US$7,848,24318 (2011)

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, Colombia is categorized as 'minor'19

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Colombia, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law20 13 16

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Colombia is reported by Customs to be US$53,773,86918 (2011)21

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Colombia is high22

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Colombia, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law23

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Colombia include24 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, Colombia was ranked at No. 3525

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Colombia is categorised as restrictive26

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Colombia includes the Constitution, Article 223,20 the Decree 2535 of 1993,27 the Decree 2685 of 1999,28 the Law 599 of 2000 (Penal Code), Articles 365 and 366, the Law 1119 of 2006, and the Law 1142 of 2007, Articles 38 and 5529

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Colombia are regulated by the Industria Militar INDUMIL22

Right to Possess Firearms

In Colombia, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law30 20 31

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 caliber LR, arms with military-style devices (infrared and laser sights, grenade launchers and silencers) and ammunition for these arms32

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Colombia, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited with only narrow exemptions32 33 34

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Colombia, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited with only narrow exemptions32 33 34

Regulation of Handguns

In Colombia, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence35 34

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Colombia, only licensed gun owners20 31 36 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 prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, personal protection, security, hunting, target shooting, collection37 36

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Colombia is 18 years36

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Colombia must pass a background check which considers criminal and mental36 records

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Colombia stipulates38 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

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), three years (for self-defence) and one year (for restricted weapons)39

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Colombia, the law requires40 41 34 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Colombia, licensed gun makers are required40 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Colombia, State agencies are required40 41 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

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

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Colombia include42 39 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Colombia include42 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Colombia include22 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 law43 44

Firearm Tracing

In Colombia, state authorities carry out41 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In Colombia, state authorities employ43 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Colombia, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit20 31 39

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Colombia, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit20 31 39

Gun Free Zones

In Colombia, private guns are prohibited in political meetings, elections or public corporations' meetings20

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Colombia, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm45 is 15 years prison39 46

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Colombia are known to have46 47 48 49 50 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 Colombia, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be 18,05151 (2003-06) and 25048 (2010 in Bogota only)

Small Arms Destroyed

In Colombia, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 5,02650 (2002), 28,10349 (2006/2007), 27,864 (2008), 26,01447 (2009) and 9,48748 (2010 in Bogota only)

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, 200352

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 ratified53 54 by Colombia

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 200855 by Colombia.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified56 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 signed57 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 Aspects58

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. 3659 60 61 62 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 reports63 64 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 designated65 64

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Colombia, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated65

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Colombia submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent66 65

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated64 by Colombia to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided64 to Colombia by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Colombia has declared67 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 194568

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list69 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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