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Estonia — 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 Estonia is 123,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Estonia is 9.21 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In Estonia, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 4,2002

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In Estonia, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 28,2002

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

There are reportedly 10,1002 handguns in civilian possession in Estonia

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Estonia ranked at No. 1313

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Estonia ranked at No. 651

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in Estonia is reported to be 31,0002

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Estonia is 2.234

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in Estonia is reported to be 47,0001

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Estonia is 3.534

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Estonia are reported to have 83,5505 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Estonia are reported to have 5,0006 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Estonia, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2012: 347 8 9
2011: 417 8 10 9
2010: 3411
2009: 387 8 9
2008: 267 8 10 9
2007: 247 8 9
2006: 297 8 10 9
2005: 387 8 9
2004: 36
2003: 427 8 10 9
2002: 487 8 9
2001: 45
2000: 627 8 10 9
1999: 71
1998: 827 8 10
1997: 797 8 10 9
1996: 1077 8 10
1995: 151
1994: 182

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2012: 2.674
2011: 3.20
2010: 2.5411
2009: 2.924
2008: 1.99
2007: 1.82
2006: 2.19
2005: 2.85
2004: 2.68
2003: 3.11
2002: 3.53
2001: 3.28
2000: 4.49
1999: 5.11
1998: 5.85
1997: 5.59
1996: 7.49
1995: 10.44
1994: 12.40

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Estonia, annual homicides by any means total

2011: 6512 13 14
2010: 7012 13
2009: 70
2008: 84
2007: 93
2006: 9112 15
2005: 113
2004: 9112 16
2003: 147
2002: 14212 13
2001: 137
2000: 14312 17
1999: 15717
1998: 196
1997: 17818
1996: 214
1995: 246

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

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

2011: 5.012 13 14
2010: 5.412 13
2009: 5.4
2008: 6.412 13 19
2007: 7.1
2006: 6.912 15 19
2005: 8.5
2004: 6.812 16 19
2003: 11.0
2002: 10.512 13 19
2001: 10.1
2000: 10.512 17 19
1999: 11.3217 19
1998: 13.94
1997: 12.2118 19
1996: 14.60
1995: 16.58
1994: 28.2120

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Estonia, annual firearm homicides total

2012: 27
2011: 9
2010: 4
2009: 7
2008: 37 13
2007: 57
2006: 9
2005: 5
2004: 5
2003: 14
2002: 21
2001: 18
2000: 23
1999: 31
1998: 40
1997: 31
1996: 55
1995: 91
1994: 121

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2012: 0.157
2011: 0.68
2010: 0.30
2009: 0.52
2008: 0.227 13
2007: 0.377
2006: 0.67
2005: 0.37
2004: 0.37
2003: 1.03
2002: 1.55
2001: 1.32
2000: 1.68
1999: 2.25
1998: 2.89
1997: 2.22
1996: 3.89
1995: 6.33
1994: 8.27

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

In Estonia, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be 2011: 6%14

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn Estonia, annual handgun homicides total

2012: 17
2011: 3
2009: 1
2007: 1
2006: 4
2005: 3
2003: 7
2002: 7
2001: 4
2000: 17
1999: 24
1998: 33
1997: 23

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.087
2011: 0.22
2009: 0.07
2007: 0.07
2006: 0.30
2005: 0.22
2003: 0.52
2002: 0.52
2001: 0.29
2000: 1.24
1999: 1.74
1998: 2.38
1997: 1.64

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn Estonia, annual long gun homicides total

2011: 37
2009: 1
2006: 1
2003: 2
2001: 3
2000: 2
1999: 4
1998: 5
1997: 6

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.227
2009: 0.07
2006: 0.07
2003: 0.15
2001: 0.22
2000: 0.15
1999: 0.29
1998: 0.36
1997: 0.43

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn Estonia, annual gun homicides (other) total

2012: 17
2011: 3
2010: 4
2009: 5
2008: 3
2007: 4
2006: 4
2005: 2
2004: 5
2003: 5
2002: 14
2001: 11
2000: 4
1999: 3
1998: 2
1997: 2

Rate of Gun Homicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of gun homicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.087
2011: 0.22
2010: 0.30
2009: 0.37
2008: 0.22
2007: 0.30
2006: 0.30
2005: 0.15
2004: 0.37
2003: 0.37
2002: 1.03
2001: 0.81
2000: 0.29
1999: 0.22
1998: 0.14
1997: 0.14

Suicides (any method)

In Estonia, annual suicides by any means total 1999: 46921

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

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

1999: 35.4521
1994: 40.9522

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Estonia, annual firearm suicides total

2012: 288
2011: 25
2010: 21
2009: 23
2008: 19
2007: 18
2006: 14
2005: 24
2004: 24
2003: 23
2002: 21
2001: 25
2000: 31
1999: 32
1998: 40
1997: 40
1996: 48
1995: 54
1994: 47

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2012: 2.118
2011: 1.87
2010: 1.57
2009: 1.72
2008: 1.42
2007: 1.34
2006: 1.04
2005: 1.78
2004: 1.78
2003: 1.7
2002: 1.55
2001: 1.83
2000: 2.26
1999: 2.33
1998: 2.89
1997: 2.86
1996: 3.39
1995: 3.76
1994: 3.21

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn Estonia, annual handgun suicides total

2012: 78
2011: 2
2010: 4
2009: 3
2008: 1
2007: 3
2006: 2
2005: 4
2004: 5
2003: 8
2002: 7
2001: 9
2000: 19
1999: 21
1998: 26
1997: 22

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of handgun suicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.538
2011: 0.15
2010: 0.30
2009: 0.22
2008: 0.07
2007: 0.22
2006: 0.15
2005: 0.30
2004: 0.37
2003: 0.59
2002: 0.52
2001: 0.66
2000: 1.39
1999: 1.53
1998: 1.88
1997: 1.57

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn Estonia, the number of long gun suicides is

2012: 78
2011: 7
2010: 7
2009: 3
2008: 3
2007: 7
2006: 5
2005: 6
2004: 11
2003: 7
2002: 7
2001: 7
2000: 6
1999: 8
1998: 9
1997: 8

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of long gun suicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.538
2011: 0.52
2010: 0.52
2009: 0.22
2008: 0.22
2007: 0.52
2006: 0.37
2005: 0.45
2004: 0.82
2003: 0.52
2002: 0.52
2001: 0.51
2000: 0.44
1999: 0.58
1998: 0.65
1997: 0.57

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn Estonia, annual gun suicides (other) total

2012: 148
2011: 16
2010: 10
2009: 17
2008: 15
2007: 8
2006: 7
2005: 14
2004: 8
2003: 8
2002: 7
2001: 9
2000: 6
1999: 3
1998: 5
1997: 10

Rate of Gun Suicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of gun suicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2012: 1.058
2011: 1.19
2010: 0.75
2009: 1.27
2008: 1.12
2007: 0.60
2006: 0.52
2005: 1.04
2004: 0.59
2003: 0.59
2002: 0.52
2001: 0.66
2000: 0.44
1999: 0.22
1998: 0.36
1997: 0.71

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Estonia, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2011: 210
2010: 1
2008: 1
2006: 1
2003: 1
2000: 1
1999: 1
1998: 2
1997: 2
1996: 4
1995: 6
1994: 14

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.1510
2010: 0.07
2008: 0.07
2006: 0.07
2003: 0.07
2000: 0.07
1999: 0.07
1998: 0.14
1997: 0.14
1996: 0.28
1995: 0.42
1994: 0.9610 23

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn Estonia, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2011: 110
2003: 1
1999: 1
1998: 1

Rate of Unintentional Handgun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by handgun per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.0710
2003: 0.07
1999: 0.07
1998: 0.07

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn Estonia, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2011: 110
2000: 1
1998: 1

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by long gun per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.0710
2000: 0.07
1998: 0.07

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

ChartIn Estonia, annual unintentional shooting deaths by firearm (other) total

2010: 110
2008: 1
2006: 1
1997: 2

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by firearm (other) per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.0710
2008: 0.07
2006: 0.07
1997: 0.14

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2012: 49
2011: 5
2010: 8
2009: 8
2008: 3
2007: 1
2006: 5
2005: 9
2004: 7
2003: 4
2002: 6
2001: 2
2000: 7
1999: 7
1997: 6

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

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

2012: 0.309
2011: 0.37
2010: 0.60
2009: 0.60
2008: 0.22
2007: 0.07
2006: 0.37
2005: 0.67
2004: 0.52
2003: 0.30
2002: 0.44
2001: 0.15
2000: 0.51
1999: 0.51
1997: 0.43
1994: 0.6724

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Estonia, annual deaths by handgun in which the cause remains undecided total

2010: 19
2009: 1
2006: 2
2005: 2
2004: 1
2002: 1
2000: 4
1999: 3
1997: 6

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

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of unknown-cause handgun deaths per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.079
2009: 0.07
2006: 0.15
2005: 0.15
2004: 0.07
2002: 0.07
2000: 0.29
1999: 0.22
1997: 0.43

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Estonia, annual deaths by long gun in which the cause remains undecided total

2012: 19
2010: 2
2007: 1
2004: 2
2003: 1
2002: 1
2001: 1
2000: 2
1999: 3

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

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of unknown-cause long gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.089
2010: 0.15
2007: 0.07
2004: 0.15
2003: 0.07
2002: 0.07
2001: 0.07
2000: 0.15
1999: 0.22

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Estonia, annual deaths by firearm (other) in which the cause remains undecided total

2012: 39
2011: 5
2010: 5
2009: 7
2008: 3
2006: 3
2005: 7
2004: 4
2003: 3
2002: 4
2001: 1
2000: 1
1999: 1

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

ChartIn Estonia, the annual rate of unknown-cause gun deaths (other) per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.239
2011: 0.37
2010: 0.37
2009: 0.52
2008: 0.22
2006: 0.22
2005: 0.52
2004: 0.30
2003: 0.22
2002: 0.29
2001: 0.07
2000: 0.07
1999: 0.07

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Estonia, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence, but not conducted in practice25 26 27 2

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Estonia, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Estonia is reported by Customs to be US$718,49938 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Estonia, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law28 29 30 31 39 33 34 35 36

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Estonia is reported by Customs to be US$12,053,67538 (2011)40

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Estonia is moderate2

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Estonia, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law41 42

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Estonia do not include43 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 Estonia is categorised as restrictive44

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Estonia includes the Weapons Act 2001,45 the Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons,46 47 the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012 and the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 200348

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Estonia are regulated by the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Minister of Internal Affairs, and the Police,49 50 51 and the European Commission47

Right to Possess Firearms

In Estonia, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law52 43

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Estonia, civilians are not allowed to possess smoothbore guns with an overall length of less than 840mm, automatic firearms, military weapons, armour-piercing, explosive, incendiary, or hollow-pointed ammunition, and silencers, laser or night sight devices53 54 55 56 57 58

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Estonia, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited53 54 57 58 14

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Estonia, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence53 59 60 58

Regulation of Handguns

In Estonia, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence61 54 57 59 60 58 14

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Estonia, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law53 61 14

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Estonia, only licensed gun owners62 63 64 65 66 67 68 57 59 14 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Estonia are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting, target shooting, collection, personal protection, security, and during filming or performance69 63 70 66 71 72 73

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Estonia is 18 years for sporting and hunting firearms, shotguns, gas and air-powered firearms, and 21 for all other firearms74 66 73

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Estonia must pass a background check which considers criminal, medical, mental, addiction, and military75 76 66 77 78 51 73 14 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Estonia, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required43

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Estonia does not stipulate43 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Estonia, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required51 79 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Estonia, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every five years62 80 81

Licensing Records

In Estonia, authorities maintain a record64 54 82 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Estonia are permitted to possess a limited quantity of ammunition62 83 84

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Estonia, the law requires85 64 86 54 82 56 87 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 Estonia, licensed firearm dealers are required88 86 54 82 64 87 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Estonia, licensed gun makers are required88 85 89 86 82 56 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Estonia, State agencies are required50 86 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 Estonia, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted90 91

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Estonia, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful26 27 92 93 60

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Estonia include94 95 80 96 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 Estonia include94 25 92 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Estonia include97 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Estonia include98 99 100 39 32 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Estonia, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law101 102

Firearm Tracing

In Estonia, state authorities carry out102 87 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Estonia, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not43 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Estonia, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited103 80 14

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Estonia, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit103 80 14

Gun Free Zones

In Estonia, private guns are prohibited in public events104

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Estonia, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm105 is up to 3 years prison or a fine80

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Estonia, it is not state policy106 107 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

European Union

As a member of the European Union, Estonia is bound by the provisions of the ‘EU Firearms Directive’ – the 2007 Legislative Resolution on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons of the European Parliament108 109

European Union Export Reporting

Under the European Union Common Position on Arms Exports, Estonia is bound to declare its transfers of military technology and equipment. Independent monitoring provides detailed comparisons of arms export reporting compliance across EU member states, and records that Estonia has submitted one or more national reports110 on its arms transfers

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 not signed111 by Estonia.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified112 by Estonia

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 ratified113 by Estonia

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Estonia 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 Aspects114

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Estonia against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 10115 116 117 118 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Estonia has submitted one or more national reports119 120 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Estonia, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated121 120

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Estonia, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated121 120

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Estonia submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is not apparent121 120

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated120 by Estonia to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Estonia has not declared122 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Estonia has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1991123

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists124 Estonia as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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