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

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

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

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

2009: 2.027

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Colombia is reported to be

2009: 1,247,6006 8
2006: 706,2109 10
2005: 706,21011 3

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Colombia is

2009: 2.867
2006: 1.649
2005: 1.707

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 8 11 12

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 5.787 illicit firearms per 100 people

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Colombia are reported to have 430,00013 2 10 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In Colombia, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm14

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Colombia are reported to have 285,00013 15 2 10 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Colombia, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2009: 14,36616
2001: 23,31817 18
1999: 20,39519 20

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2009: 32.897
2001: 59.31
1999: 52.89

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Colombia, annual homicides by any means total

2013: 14,29421
2012: 15,73321 22 23
2011: 16,55421 22 24
2010: 17,45921 22 24 25
2009: 17,71721 22 24 25 26 17
2008: 15,25021 22 24 25 26 17 27
2007: 16,318
2006: 16,270
2005: 17,32921 22 24 25 26 17 27 28
2004: 17,554
2003: 22,52622 24 25 26 17 27 28
2002: 28,38722 24 25 26 17 27
2001: 27,84022 24 18 25 26 17
2000: 26,54022 24 25 26 17
1999: 24,35824 29 17
1998: 23,09624 29
1997: 25,379
1996: 26,64224
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

2013: 30.3321
2012: 33.7621 22 23
2011: 35.9521 22 24
2010: 38.3621 22 24 25
2009: 39.3921 22 24 25 26
2008: 34.31
2007: 37.15
2006: 37.48
2005: 40.4
2004: 41.43
2003: 53.822 24 25 26
2002: 68.9
2001: 68.6
2000: 66.5
1999: 62.324 29
1998: 60.1
1997: 67.2
1996: 71.824
1995: 69.7

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Colombia, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 10,94821
2012: 12,210
2011: 12,81921 22
2010: 13,54921 22 24 30
2009: 12,05422 24 17 29 30
2008: 10,58722 24 17 30 27
2007: 10,950
2006: 11,606
2005: 11,96022 24 17 30 27 28
2004: 16,97924 17 30 27 28
2003: 11,30917 30 27 28
2002: 24,34017 30 27
2001: 22,44317 18 30
2000: 21,89819 17 25
1999: 19,67819 17
1998: 18,91019

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 23.937
2012: 26.99
2011: 28.66
2010: 30.657 24 30
2009: 31.71
2008: 24.54
2007: 25.717 24 30 26
2006: 27.607 24 30
2005: 28.83
2004: 40.124 30
2003: 28.037 30
2002: 61.15
2001: 57.09
2000: 51.7719 30
1999: 47.4219
1998: 46.35

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2013: 77%21
2012: 78%21 23
2011: 77%22 21
2010: 78%
2009: 78%22
2008: 70.9%27 22
2007: 71.3%
2006: 71.6%
2005: 69.5%
2004: 77.0%27
2003: 83.0%
2002: 84.1%

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Colombia, annual suicides by any means total

2009: 1,84531
2008: 3,19632 31
2007: 3,105
2006: 3,016
2005: 2,841
2004: 3,095
2003: 2,922
2002: 2,630
2001: 2,66932 18 31
2000: 2,58532 31
1999: 2,08931
1998: 2,04620

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: 4.1031
2008: 7.132 31
2007: 7.0
2006: 6.9
2005: 6.6
2004: 7.3
2003: 7.0
2002: 6.4
2001: 6.6
2000: 6.5
1999: 5.2531
1998: 4.6320

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Colombia, annual firearm suicides total

2009: 38231 16
2001: 62718
1999: 64120

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2009: 0.877
2001: 1.59
1999: 1.4520

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Colombia, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2009: 4616
2001: 7018
1999: 6420

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2009: 0.117
2001: 0.18
1999: 0.1420

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2009: 44916
2001: 17818
1999: 1220

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

2009: 1.037
2001: 0.45
1999: 0.0320

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

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

2001: 6,79733

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: 17.297

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 manufacturers34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, Colombia was ranked 'small'45

Home-made Guns

In Colombia, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be high46 47

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Colombia, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law35 48 49 50 51 52 53

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Colombia is reported by Customs to be US$7,848,24354 (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'55

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Colombia, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law34 35 48 49 50 51 52 43

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Colombia is reported by Customs to be US$53,773,86954 (2011)56 57 58 59

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Colombia is high60 47 44

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Colombia, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law61 62

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Colombia include49 63 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: 8.5064
2013: 8.7565

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Colombia is categorised as restrictive66

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Colombia includes the Constitution, Article 223,34 the Decree 2535 of 1993,67 the Decree 1809 of 1994,68 the Decree 2685 of 1999,69 the Law 599 of 2000 (Penal Code), Articles 365 and 366, as amended by Articles 38 and 55 of the Law 1142 of 2007, and the Law 1119 of 200670

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Colombia are regulated by the Arms Committee of the Ministry of National Defence,71 72 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 Force73

Right to Possess Firearms

In Colombia, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law74 75 34 76

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),77 68 78 and explosive, toxic, expanding and fragmenting ammunition 79

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Colombia, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited with only narrow exemptions77 80 81 82 23

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Colombia, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited with only narrow exemptions77 82

Regulation of Handguns

In Colombia, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence83 77 80 81 82 23

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Colombia, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law83 77 23

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Colombia, only licensed gun owners34 76 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 37 91 92 93 23 72 43 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, collection94 90 85 95 88 91 92 93

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Colombia is 18 years93

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Colombia must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental, health and addiction90 96 93 23 records

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Colombia stipulates97 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)98 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),88 three years (for self-defence) and one year (for restricted weapons)99 100

Licensing Records

In Colombia, authorities maintain a record101 102 10 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 individuals89 81 and up to five firearms for legal persons and rural properties103 104 105

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Colombia, the law requires106 107 101 82 108 102 10 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 required39 109 106 107 43 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Colombia, State agencies are required106 107 101 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 members35 110 111 112

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Colombia, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful35 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 43 44

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

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

2006: 3044

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Colombia include117 92 118 119 100 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 include39 38 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 include119 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Colombia include86 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 law41 120 121 122 123 124 108 43

Firearm Tracing

In Colombia, state authorities carry out101 125 126 43 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 not122 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Colombia, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law34 76 127 99 89 100 23 8 43

Gun Free Zones

In Colombia, private guns are prohibited in political meetings, elections or public corporations' meetings34

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Colombia, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm128 is 12 years prison129 130 100 131

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Colombia are known to have132 133 134 135 136 137 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 18,051138 (2003-06) and 250135 (2010 in Bogotá only)

Firearms Collected and Seized

ChartIn Colombia, firearms voluntarily surrendered for destruction, collected or seized in routine policing are reported to number

2013: 44,139139 140 141
2012: 75,213
2011: 42,062142 141
2010: 44,572141
2009: 47,941143 144 145
2008: 45,725143
2007: 56,682146 136 147
2006: 70,036146 148
2004: 71,937149
2003: 54,756

Small Arms Destroyed

In Colombia, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 15,026137 (2002), 28,103136 (2006/2007), 27,864 (2008), 26,014134 (2009),6 9,487135 (2010 in Bogotá only), 42,052 (2011),150 74,359 (2012) and 41,073 (2013)140

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Colombia, it is not state policy151 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, 2003152

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 ratified153 154 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, lists155 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 2008156 by Colombia.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified157 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 signed158 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 Aspects159

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. 36160 161 162 163 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 reports164 165 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 designated166 165

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Colombia, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated166

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 apparent167 166

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated165 by Colombia to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided165 to Colombia by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Colombia has declared168 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 1945169

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list170 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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