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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 3

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Guatemala is 11.11 3 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. 414

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. 493

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in Guatemala is reported to be 123,0005

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Guatemala is 1.136

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Guatemala is reported to be

2011: 400,4832
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: 2.906
2009: 2.97
2006: 1,958
2000: 1.536

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Guatemala there are estimated to be 500,0005 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 4.59 to 14.436 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

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Guatemala, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 6,02513 14
2011: 5,68113 15
2010: 5,96013 15 16 17
2009: 6,498
2008: 6,292
2007: 5,781
2006: 5,885
2005: 5,33813 15 16 17 18
2004: 4,507
2003: 4,237
2002: 3,631
2001: 3,230
2000: 2,90413 15 16 17
1999: 2,65515
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

2012: 39.913 14
2011: 38.613 15
2010: 41.613 15 16 17
2009: 46.5
2008: 46.1
2007: 43.4
2006: 45.3
2005: 42.1
2004: 36.4
2003: 35.1
2002: 30.9
2001: 28.1
2000: 25.9
1999: 24.215 19
1998: 30.9
1997: 38.1
1996: 35.3
1995: 32.5

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Guatemala, annual firearm homicides total

2010: 5,00915 20
2009: 5,39313 15 20
2008: 5,222
2007: 4,798
2006: 4,590
2005: 4,21713 15 20 18
2004: 3,64315 20 18
2003: 3,451
2002: 2,743
2001: 2,419
2000: 2,10921 20
1999: 1,83921
1998: 2,392

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 34.815 20
2009: 40.626 15 20 17
2008: 40.16
2007: 37.70
2006: 36.85
2005: 34.626 15 20 17
2004: 29.415 20 17 6
2003: 28.5
2002: 23.2
2001: 21.0
2000: 18.5021 20
1999: 16.5721
1998: 22.15

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2012: 82%14
2009: 83%13 22
2008: 83%
2007: 83%
2006: 78%
2005: 79%

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Guatemala, annual suicides by any means total

2009: 53323
2008: 547
2007: 361
2006: 30023 24
2005: 24123
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: 3.823
2008: 4.0
2007: 2.7
2006: 2.323 24
2005: 1.9
2004: 2.123
2003: 2.2
2002: 2.3
2001: 1.8
2000: 1.7

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

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

2001: 3,21125 26
2000: 3,056
1999: 2,456
1998: 2,61627

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 licence28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41

Home-made Guns

In Guatemala, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate42 37

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Guatemala, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law32 33 43 44 41 40 45 46

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Guatemala is reported by Customs to be US$18047 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Guatemala, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law48 49 50 51 52 44 40 41 53 45

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Guatemala is reported by Customs to be US$5,928,53747 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Guatemala is moderate5 2

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Guatemala, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law54 55 45 56

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Guatemala include32 33 50 43 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 restrictive57

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Guatemala includes the Firearm and Ammunition Law, Decree 15, 200958 40 and its regulation of 201159

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Guatemala are regulated by the Directorate General for Control of Arms and Ammunition (DIGECAM)60 61 62

Right to Possess Firearms

In Guatemala, the right to private gun ownership is conditionally guaranteed by the Constitution,63 64 as limited by statute law65

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Guatemala, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic firearms, military firearms, or weapons of war66 67 68 69

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Guatemala, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited66 67 68 70 14

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Guatemala, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence66 71 70

Regulation of Handguns

In Guatemala, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence66 71 70 14

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Guatemala, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law66 71 70 14

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Guatemala, only licensed gun owners72 73 74 75 76 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 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 permitted77 78 79

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Guatemala is 25 years for a permit to carry80 81

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 service74 75 82 83 84 14 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Guatemala, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required79

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Guatemala does not stipulate85 84 86 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 required87 82 88 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 years74 89

Licensing Records

In Guatemala, authorities maintain a record76 72 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 firearms90

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 held91 92

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Guatemala, the law requires62 76 74 72 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 required93 61 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 required94 95 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Guatemala, State agencies are required96 97 98 99 100 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 permitted101 102

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Guatemala, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful93 103 104 105 106 61 102

Background Checks for Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in Guatemala is obliged83 93 105 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 undetermined79

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Guatemala include some78 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 include93 107 108 34 35 41 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 include97 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Guatemala include109 53 110 81 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 law111 112 51 113 49 114 73 115 40 62 98

Firearm Tracing

In Guatemala, state authorities carry out116 62 117 118 72 106 73 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Guatemala, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are118 72 49 119 73 62 100 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Guatemala, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law120 14

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Guatemala, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited121

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Guatemala, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit121 74 75 82 76

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Guatemala, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm122 is 8 to 10 years prison, and up to 15 years for possession of prohibited firearms123 124 52 46 102 36 37 38 125 126 115

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Guatemala are known to have127 128 129 130 131 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 1,818132 (1996-98)

Small Arms Destroyed

In Guatemala, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 501127 (2006), 3,000128 (2007), 1,500129 (2009) and 6,000130 (2010)

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Guatemala, it is not state policy133 134 97 135 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), 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 Material136

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 ratified137 138 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 2006139 by Guatemala.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified140 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 ratified141 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 Aspects142

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. 84143 144 145 146 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 reports147 148 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 designated149 148

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Guatemala, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated149 148

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Guatemala submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent150 149

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated148 by Guatemala to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided148 to Guatemala by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Guatemala 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, Guatemala 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 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


Short References

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