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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: 16,55427 28 30
2010: 17,45927 28 30 31
2009: 17,71727 28 30 31 32 22
2008: 15,25027 28 30 31 32 22 33
2007: 16,318
2006: 16,270
2005: 17,32927 28 30 31 32 22 33 34 35
2004: 17,554
2003: 22,52628 30 31 32 22 33 34 35
2002: 28,38728 30 31 32 22 33 35
2001: 27,84028 30 23 31 32 22 35
2000: 26,54028 30 31 32 22 35
1999: 24,35830 36 22 35
1998: 23,09630 36
1997: 25,379
1996: 26,64230
1995: 25,398
1991: 28,28026

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: 35.9527 28 30
2010: 38.3627 28 30 31
2009: 39.3927 28 30 31 32
2008: 34.31
2007: 37.15
2006: 37.48
2005: 40.4
2004: 41.43
2003: 53.828 30 31 32
2002: 68.9
2001: 68.6
2000: 66.5
1999: 62.330 36
1998: 60.1
1997: 67.2
1996: 71.830
1995: 69.7
1991: 78.0026

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Colombia, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 10,94827
2012: 12,210
2011: 12,81927 28 20
2010: 13,54927 28 30 37
2009: 12,05428 30 22 36 37
2008: 10,58728 30 22 37 33
2007: 10,950
2006: 11,606
2005: 11,96028 30 22 37 33 34 35
2004: 16,97930 22 37 33 34 35
2003: 11,30922 37 33 34 35
2002: 24,34022 37 33 35
2001: 22,44322 23 37 35
2000: 21,89824 22 31 35
1999: 19,67824 22 35
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 30 37
2009: 31.71
2008: 24.54
2007: 25.718 30 37 32
2006: 27.608 30 37
2005: 28.83
2004: 40.130 37
2003: 28.038 37
2002: 61.15
2001: 57.09
2000: 51.7724 37
1999: 47.4224
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%27
2012: 78%27 29
2011: 77%28 27
2010: 78%28 27 38
2009: 78%28
2008: 70.9%33 28
2007: 71.3%
2006: 71.6%
2005: 69.5%33 28 35
2004: 77.0%33 35
2003: 83.0%
2002: 84.1%
2001: 85.34%35
2000: 85.08%
1999: 84.25%

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Colombia, annual suicides by any means total

2009: 1,84539
2008: 3,19640 39
2007: 3,105
2006: 3,016
2005: 2,84140 39 41
2004: 3,095
2003: 2,922
2002: 2,630
2001: 2,66940 23 39 41
2000: 2,58540 39 41
1999: 2,08939 41
1998: 2,04625

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: 4.1039
2008: 7.140 39
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: 5.2539
1998: 4.6325

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Colombia, annual firearm suicides total

2011: 40620
2009: 38239 21
2005: 41541
2004: 472
2003: 567
2002: 549
2001: 62723 41
2000: 62141
1999: 64125 41

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.920
2009: 0.878
2005: 1.00
2004: 1.15
2003: 1.40
2002: 1.38
2001: 1.59
2000: 1.60
1999: 1.4525 8

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Colombia, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2011: 3520
2009: 4621
2001: 7023
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: 0.088
2009: 0.11
2001: 0.18
1999: 0.1425

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2011: 32420
2009: 44921
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: 0.728
2009: 1.03
2001: 0.45
1999: 0.0325

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

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

2001: 6,79742

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 manufacturers43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, Colombia was ranked 'small'55

Home-made Guns

In Colombia, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be high56 57 58

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Colombia, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law44 59 60 61 62 54 63 64

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Colombia is reported by Customs to be US$7,848,24365 (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'66

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Colombia, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law43 44 59 60 61 62 54 63 52

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Colombia is reported by Customs to be US$53,773,86965 (2011)67 68 69 70

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Colombia is high71 72 57 53 73 74 75

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Colombia, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law76 77

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Colombia include60 78 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: 8.5079
2013: 8.7580

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Colombia is categorised as restrictive81

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Colombia includes the Constitution, Article 223,43 the Decree 2535 of 1993,82 the Decree 0006 of 1993,83 the Decree 356 of 1994,83 the Decree 1809 of 1994,84 the Decree 2685 of 1999,85 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 200686 the Decree 626 of 2001,83 the Decree 334 and Decree 1612 of 200283

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Colombia are regulated by the Arms Committee of the Ministry of National Defence,87 88 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 Force89

Right to Possess Firearms

In Colombia, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law90 91 43 92

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),93 84 94 and explosive, toxic, expanding and fragmenting ammunition 95

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Colombia, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited with only narrow exemptions93 96 97 98 29

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Colombia, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited with only narrow exemptions93 98

Regulation of Handguns

In Colombia, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence99 93 96 97 98 29

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Colombia, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law99 93 29

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Colombia, only licensed gun owners43 92 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 46 107 108 109 29 88 52 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, collection110 106 101 111 104 107 108 109

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Colombia is 18 years109

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Colombia must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, health and addiction106 112 109 29 records

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Colombia stipulates113 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)114 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),104 three years (for self-defence) and one year (for restricted weapons)115 116

Licensing Records

In Colombia, authorities maintain a record117 118 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 individuals105 97 and up to five firearms for legal persons and rural properties119 120 121

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Colombia, the law requires122 123 117 98 124 118 11 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 required48 125 122 123 52 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Colombia, State agencies are required122 123 117 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 members44 126 127 128

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Colombia, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful44 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 52 53

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

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

2006: 3454 53

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Colombia include133 108 134 135 116 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 include48 47 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 include135 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Colombia include102 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 law50 136 137 138 139 140 124 52

Firearm Tracing

In Colombia, state authorities carry out117 141 142 52 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 not138 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Colombia, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law43 92 143 115 105 116 29 9 52

Gun Free Zones

In Colombia, private guns are prohibited in political meetings, elections or public corporations' meetings43

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Colombia, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm144 is 12 years in prison145 146 116 147

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Colombia are known to have148 149 150 151 152 153 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: 250151
2005: 418,688154
2004: 743,688
2003-06: 18,051155
2003: 488154
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: 44,139156 157 158
2012: 75,213
2011: 42,062159 158
2010: 44,572158
2009: 47,941160 161 162
2008: 45,725160
2007: 56,682163 152 164
2006: 70,036163 165
2005: 20,967166
2004: 71,937167 166
2003: 54,756
2002: 18,409166
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: 41,073157
2012: 74,359
2011: 42,052168
2010: 9,487151
2009: 26,014150 6
2008: 27,864
2006/07: 28,103152 6
2005: 418,688154
2004: 743,688
2003: 488
2003/06: 141,719169
2002: 15,026153
1996/97: 2,688154

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Colombia, it is not state policy170 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, 2003171

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 ratified172 173 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, lists174 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 2008175 by Colombia.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified176 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 signed177 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 Aspects178

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. 36179 180 181 182 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 reports183 184 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 designated185 184

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Colombia, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated185

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 apparent186 185

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated184 by Colombia to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided184 to Colombia by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Colombia has declared187 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 1945188

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list189 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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