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Guatemala — 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 Guatemala is 1,200,0001 2

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Guatemala is 11.11 2 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Guatemala ranked at No. 413

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Guatemala ranked at No. 492

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in Guatemala is reported to be 123,0004

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Guatemala is 1.135

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Guatemala is reported to be

2011: 400,4836
2009: 393,9967
2006: 253,5148 9
2000: 170,00010

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Guatemala is

2011: 2.905
2009: 2.97
2006: 1.958
2000: 1.535

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Guatemala there are estimated to be 800,0006 4 to 1,600,00010

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Guatemala there are estimated to be 6.57 to 14.435 illicit firearms per 100 people

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Guatemala are reported to have 112,00011 12 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Guatemala are reported to have 44,00011 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

In Guatemala, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2009: 5,56613

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

In Guatemala, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2009: 41.925

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Guatemala, annual homicides by any means total

2013: 5,25514
2012: 5,23714 15 16
2011: 5,68114 15 17
2010: 5,96014 15 17 18 19
2009: 6,498
2008: 6,292
2007: 5,781
2006: 5,885
2005: 5,33814 15 17 18 19 20
2004: 4,507
2003: 4,236
2002: 3,630
2001: 3,230
2000: 2,90414 15 17 18 19
1999: 2,65517
1998: 3,310
1997: 3,998
1996: 3,619
1995: 3,260

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

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

2013: 34.0414
2012: 34.7414 15 16
2011: 38.6114 15 17
2010: 41.514 15 17 18 19
2009: 46.36
2008: 46.0
2007: 43.32
2006: 45.2
2005: 42.03
2004: 36.37
2003: 35.05
2002: 30.79
2001: 28.08
2000: 25.87
1999: 24.217 21
1998: 30.9
1997: 38.1
1996: 35.3
1995: 32.5

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Guatemala, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 4,25714
2012: 4,303
2011: 4,675
2010: 5,00214 17 22
2009: 5,39315 17 22
2008: 5,222
2007: 4,798
2006: 4,590
2005: 4,21715 17 22 20
2004: 3,64317 22 20
2003: 3,451
2002: 2,743
2001: 2,419
2000: 2,10923 22
1999: 1,83923
1998: 2,392

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 29.625
2012: 30.52
2011: 33.82
2010: 36.915 17 22
2009: 40.625 17 22 19
2008: 40.16
2007: 37.70
2006: 36.85
2005: 34.625 17 22 19
2004: 29.417 22 19 5
2003: 28.5
2002: 23.2
2001: 21.0
2000: 18.5023 22
1999: 16.5723
1998: 22.15

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2013: 81%14
2012: 81%14 16
2011: 82%14
2010: 84%
2009: 83%15 24
2008: 83%
2007: 83%
2006: 78%
2005: 79%
2004: 80.8%17
2003: 81.4%
2002: 75.5%
2001: 74.9%
2000: 72.6%
1999: 69.3%
1998: 72.3%

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Guatemala, annual suicides by any means total

2009: 53325
2008: 547
2007: 361
2006: 30025 26
2005: 24125
2004: 260
2003: 266
2002: 271
2001: 207
2000: 191

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

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

2009: 3.825
2008: 4.0
2007: 2.7
2006: 2.325 26
2005: 1.9
2004: 2.125
2003: 2.2
2002: 2.3
2001: 1.8
2000: 1.7

Gun Suicides

In Guatemala, annual firearm suicides total

2009: 4513

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

In Guatemala, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2009: 0.345

Unintentional Gun Deaths

In Guatemala, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2009: 17613

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

In Guatemala, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2009: 1.335

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

In Guatemala, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2009: 37313

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

In Guatemala, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2009: 2.815

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

ChartIn Guatemala, the annual number of non-fatal firearm injuries is

2004: 4,00027
2001: 3,21128 29
2000: 3,056
1999: 2,456
1998: 2,616

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

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

2004: 33.505
2001: 28.46
2000: 27.57
1999: 22.53
1998: 24.43

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Guatemala, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence,30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 but is not conducted in practice43

Home-made Guns

In Guatemala, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate44 39

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Guatemala, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law34 35 45 46 47 42 41 48

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Guatemala is reported by Customs to be US$18049 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Guatemala, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law50 51 52 53 54 47 41 42 55 48

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Guatemala is reported by Customs to be US$5,928,53749 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Guatemala is moderate4 6

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Guatemala, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law56 57 58 48

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Guatemala include34 35 52 46 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 Guatemala is categorised as restrictive59

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Guatemala includes the Firearm and Ammunition Law, Decree 15, 200960 41 and its regulation of 201161

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Guatemala are regulated by the Directorate General for Control of Arms and Ammunition (DIGECAM)62 63 64

Right to Possess Firearms

In Guatemala, the right to private gun ownership is conditionally guaranteed by the Constitution,65 66 67 as limited by statute law68

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Guatemala, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic firearms, military firearms, or weapons of war69 70 71 72

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Guatemala, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited69 70 71 73 16

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Guatemala, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence69 74 73

Regulation of Handguns

In Guatemala, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence69 74 73 16

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Guatemala, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law69 74 73 16

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Guatemala, only licensed gun owners75 76 77 78 79 16 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Guatemala are not required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, but gun ownership for personal security reasons requires government approval, and firearm collection is permitted80 81 82 83

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Guatemala is undefined,83 but is 25 years for a permit to carry,84 with exceptions for younger competitive sports shooters85

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Guatemala must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental and Army or Police service78 79 81 86 87 16 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Guatemala, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required83

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Guatemala does not stipulate88 87 89 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Guatemala, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required90 81 91 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Guatemala, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one to three years78 92 80

Licensing Records

In Guatemala, authorities maintain a record63 77 75 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Guatemala are permitted to possess any number of firearms93

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Guatemala are permitted to possess only 250 rounds of ammunition of a calibre for which a carrying licence is held and only 200 rounds of ammunition of a calibre for which a possession licence is held94 95

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Guatemala, the law requires63 75 77 78 64 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 Guatemala, licensed firearm dealers are required96 97 98 63 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

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

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Guatemala, State agencies are required101 102 103 104 105 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 Guatemala, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted106 107

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Guatemala, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful108 109 96 110 97 63 107

Background Checks for Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in Guatemala is obliged86 110 96 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Guatemala, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined83

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Guatemala include some82 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 Guatemala include96 111 98 36 37 42 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Guatemala include102 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Guatemala include112 55 113 85 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Guatemala, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law114 115 53 116 51 117 76 118 41 64 103

Firearm Tracing

In Guatemala, state authorities carry out119 120 64 121 122 75 97 76 63 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Guatemala, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are122 75 51 123 76 64 105 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Guatemala, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law124 16

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Guatemala, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited125

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Guatemala, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit125 78 79 81 77

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Guatemala, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm126 is 8 to 10 years prison, and up to 15 years for possession of prohibited firearms127 128 54 45 107 38 39 40 129 130 118

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Guatemala are known to have131 132 133 134 135 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 Guatemala, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be 1,818136 (1996-98)

Firearms Collected and Seized

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

2013: 4,408137
2012: 4,375
2011: 4,069
2010: 4,580
2004: 2,988135

Small Arms Destroyed

In Guatemala, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 501131 (2006), 3,000132 (2007), 1,500133 (2009) and 6,200138 (2010) 134

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Guatemala, it is not state policy139 140 102 141 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), Guatemala 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 Material142

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Guatemala 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 ratified143 144 by Guatemala

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 2006145 by Guatemala.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified146 by Guatemala

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 ratified147 by Guatemala

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Guatemala 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 Aspects148

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Guatemala against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 84149 150 151 152 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Guatemala has submitted one or more national reports153 154 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Guatemala, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated155 154

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Guatemala, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated155 154

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Guatemala submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent156 155 154

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated154 by Guatemala to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided154 to Guatemala by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Guatemala has not declared157 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Guatemala has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945158

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list159 Guatemala as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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