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El Salvador — 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 El Salvador is 450,0001 2 3 4 5

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in El Salvador is 9.71 3

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, El Salvador ranked at No. 896

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, El Salvador ranked at No. 923

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in El Salvador is reported to be

2016: 344,5877
2009: 215,0008 9 4
2006: 149,71910 5
2005: 175,0003
2000: 156,3259

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in El Salvador is

2016: 5.6011
2009: 3.498 11
2006: 2.5111
2005: 2.94
2000: 2.67

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in El Salvador there are estimated to be 128,0004 to 280,00012 5 13 14 15

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in El Salvador the rate of illicit firearms per 100 people is estimated to be 2.1111 to 4.70

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of El Salvador are reported to have 102,00016 17 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in El Salvador are reported to have 18,50016 18 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2011: 2,77119
2009: 3,04220
1999: 1,86321

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2011: 45.619
2009: 50.4411
1999: 32.19

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual homicides by any means total

2015: 6,60014
2013: 2,51322
2012: 2,24622 23
2011: 4,36622 23 24 25 26
2010: 4,00422 23 24 25 27
2009: 4,382
2008: 3,179
2007: 3,497
2006: 3,928
2005: 3,812
2004: 2,77323 24 25 27
2003: 2,197
2002: 2,224
2001: 2,207
2000: 2,341
1999: 3,84524
1998: 5,584
1997: 6,573
1996: 6,792
1995: 7,977

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

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

2015: 107.4711
2013: 39.6122
2012: 35.7122 23
2011: 69.9822 23 24 25 26
2010: 64.6522 23 24 25 27
2009: 71.21
2008: 51.94
2007: 57.35
2006: 64.67
2005: 63.01
2004: 45.823 24 25 27
2003: 36.4
2002: 37.0
2001: 36.9
2000: 39.323 24 25 27 28
1999: 65.024 28
1998: 95.024
1997: 112.6
1996: 117.3
1995: 139.1

Gun Homicides

ChartIn El Salvador, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 1,61822
2012: 1,41122 23 14
2011: 3,04822 23 19 14
2010: 2,96222 23 14
2009: 3,33023 29 14
2008: 2,13023 24 29
2007: 2,79823 29
2006: 3,06423 24 29
2005: 2,909
2004: 2,29429
2003: 1,595
2002: 1,44124 29
2001: 1,640
2000: 1,90229
1999: 1,83721

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 26.4911
2012: 23.17
2011: 50.2011 19
2010: 48.9411
2009: 55.2211 29
2008: 35.4611 24 29
2007: 46.7811 29 27
2006: 51.3211 24 29 27
2005: 48.84
2004: 38.029
2003: 26.5
2002: 24.124 29
2001: 27.5
2000: 32.029
1999: 28.2021

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2014: 76.8%14
2013: 67%22
2012: 63%22 23
2011: 70%22 23 26
2010: 74%22 23
2009: 76%23
2008: 67%
2007: 80%
2006: 78%
2005: 77%
2002: 50.8%24
2001: 45.7%
1999: 75%30
1995: 55%

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual suicides by any means total

2009: 65331
2008: 699
2007: 666
2006: 51731 32
2005: 57631
2004: 628
2003: 758
2002: 666
2001: 699
2000: 642
1999: 82133

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

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

2009: 10.631
2008: 11.4
2007: 10.9
2006: 8.531 32
2005: 9.5
2004: 10.431
2003: 12.6
2002: 11.1
2001: 11.7
2000: 10.8
1999: 7.9021

Gun Suicides

ChartIn El Salvador, annual firearm suicides total

2011: 219
2009: 820
1999: 1621

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.019
2009: 0.1311
1999: 0.221 33

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2011: 419
1999: 1021

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.0711
1999: 0.1521

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

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

ChartIn El Salvador, the annual rate of non-fatal firearm injury per 100,000 population is

2001: 57.0034
2000: 65.00

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In El Salvador, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence,35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 but is not conducted in practice44

Home-made Guns

In El Salvador, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate45

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In El Salvador, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law36 46 47 48 49 50 51

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from El Salvador is reported by Customs to be US$60052 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In El Salvador, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law36 46 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 47 48 49 51

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to El Salvador is reported by Customs to be US$2,667,24552 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in El Salvador is high60 61 62

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In El Salvador, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law63

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in El Salvador include46 64 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in El Salvador is categorised as restrictive65

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in El Salvador includes the Act No. 655 of 1999 on the Control and Regulation of Arms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials,66 the Decree No. 25 of 2000, Regulation of the Act on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials67 and the Act on Levies Relative to the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunitions, Explosives and Related Materials of 200468

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in El Salvador are regulated by the Ministry of National Defence, the National Civil Police69 36 50 51 and the Logistics Division7

Right to Possess Firearms

In El Salvador, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law70 71

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In El Salvador, civilians are not allowed to possess weapons of war, automatic firearms,72 73 74 armour-piercing, incendiary and explosive ammunition75 76

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In El Salvador, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited72 74 50 26

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In El Salvador, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence77 35 78

Regulation of Handguns

In El Salvador, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence77 35 78 26

Law Regulates Long Guns

In El Salvador, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law77 35 78 26

Gun Ownership and Possession

In El Salvador, only licensed gun owners35 78 36 79 80 81 82 83 84 51 26 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in El Salvador is 21 years to possess37 and 24 years to carry79 80

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in El Salvador must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health37 79 80 50 26 and health85 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In El Salvador, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required86

Partner to be Advised or Interviewed

In El Salvador, licensing authorities are not required86 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 El Salvador does not stipulate86 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In El Salvador, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required37 87 88 85 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In El Salvador, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every three years37 89 84

Licensing Records

In El Salvador, authorities maintain a record90 91 92 93 84 51 4 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in El Salvador are permitted to possess any number of firearms86

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in El Salvador are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition86

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In El Salvador, the law requires94 79 92 95 93 84 4 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 El Salvador, licensed firearm dealers are required96 97 98 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In El Salvador, licensed gun makers are required99 100 101 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In El Salvador, State agencies are required95 102 103 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 El Salvador, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited104

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In El Salvador, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful35 36 105 106 94 37 43

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In El Salvador, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to one firearm every two years, with exceptions107

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In El Salvador, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined86

Regulation of Gun Shows

In El Salvador, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated86 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in El Salvador do not include86 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 El Salvador include38 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in El Salvador include59 102 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in El Salvador do not include86 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In El Salvador, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law108 95 109 110

Firearm Tracing

In El Salvador, state authorities carry out111 110 112 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In El Salvador, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are79 108 46 113 51 84 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In El Salvador, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law78 26 114

Gun Free Zones

In El Salvador, private guns are prohibited in public institutions, social centres, cultural and educational sites, restaurants, hotels, pensions, bars, shows, places where alcoholic beverages are served, beer bars, billiard saloons, public places, gas stations, amusement and natural parks, as well as during public events, parades, demonstrations or strikes, civic, religious or sporting reunions, and in public transportation115 116

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In El Salvador, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm117 is suspension of the licence or registration certificate and a fine118 119 120 121

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in El Salvador are known to have122 123 124 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 El Salvador, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be

1991/96: 10,200122

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

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

2015: 3,2297 125
2013: 3,424126
2012: 7,726127 128
2011: 4,456127 4 129 128
2010: 4,770130 127
2009: 2,826131
2006-08: 30,053123
2004: 7,345124

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2015: 1,544132
2006/08: 28,036123
2003: 30,000133

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In El Salvador, it is state policy134 135 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Central American Integration System

As a member of the Central American Integration System (SICA), El Salvador is party to the 2007 Central American Programme on Small Arms Control and the Code of Conduct of Central American States on the Transfer of Arms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Material136

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), El Salvador 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 ratified137 138 by El Salvador

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, lists139 El Salvador 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 2006140 by El Salvador.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified141 by El Salvador

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 and ratified142 by El Salvador

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, El Salvador 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 Aspects143

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored El Salvador against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 90144 145 146 147 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, El Salvador has submitted one or more national reports148 149 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In El Salvador, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated150 149

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In El Salvador, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated150 149

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of El Salvador submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent150

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated149 by El Salvador to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided149 to El Salvador by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, El Salvador has not declared151 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, El Salvador has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945152

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list153 El Salvador as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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