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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 1,600,0001 2 3 4

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Guatemala is 11.575 2 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. 416

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 123,0007

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

2014: 1,035,5144
2011: 400,4838
2009: 393,9969
2006: 253,51410 11
2000: 170,00012

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Guatemala is

2014: 7.075
2011: 2.90
2009: 2.97
2006: 1.9510
2000: 1.535

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Guatemala there are estimated to be 800,0008 7 4 to 1,600,00012

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 112,00013 14 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Guatemala are reported to have 44,00013 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

In Guatemala, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2009: 5,56615

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: 5,25516
2012: 5,23716 17 18
2011: 5,68116 17 19
2010: 5,96016 17 19 20 21
2009: 6,498
2008: 6,292
2007: 5,781
2006: 5,885
2005: 5,33816 17 19 20 21 22
2004: 4,507
2003: 4,236
2002: 3,630
2001: 3,230
2000: 2,90416 17 19 20 21
1999: 2,65519
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: 34.0416
2012: 34.7416 17 18
2011: 38.6116 17 19
2010: 41.516 17 19 20 21
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: 24.219 23
1998: 30.9
1997: 38.1
1996: 35.3
1995: 32.5

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Guatemala, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 4,25716
2012: 4,303
2011: 4,675
2010: 5,00216 19 24
2009: 5,39317 19 24
2008: 5,222
2007: 4,798
2006: 4,590
2005: 4,21717 19 24 22
2004: 3,64319 24 22
2003: 3,451
2002: 2,743
2001: 2,419
2000: 2,10925 24
1999: 1,83925
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 19 24
2009: 40.625 19 24 21
2008: 40.16
2007: 37.70
2006: 36.85
2005: 34.625 19 24 21
2004: 29.419 24 21 5
2003: 28.5
2002: 23.2
2001: 21.0
2000: 18.5025 24
1999: 16.5725
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%16
2012: 81%16 18
2011: 82%16
2010: 84%
2009: 83%17 26
2008: 83%
2007: 83%
2006: 78%
2005: 79%
2004: 80.8%19
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: 53327
2008: 547
2007: 361
2006: 30027 28
2005: 24127
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: 3.827
2008: 4.0
2007: 2.7
2006: 2.327 28
2005: 1.9
2004: 2.127
2003: 2.2
2002: 2.3
2001: 1.8
2000: 1.7

Gun Suicides

In Guatemala, annual firearm suicides total

2009: 4515

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: 17615

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: 37315

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: 4,00029
2001: 3,21130 31
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,32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 but is not conducted in practice45

Home-made Guns

In Guatemala, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate46 41

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Guatemala, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law36 37 47 48 49 44 43 50

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Guatemala is reported by Customs to be US$18051 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Guatemala, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law52 53 54 55 56 49 43 44 57 50

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Guatemala is reported by Customs to be US$5,928,53751 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Guatemala is moderate8 58

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Guatemala, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law59 60 61 50

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Guatemala include36 37 54 48 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 restrictive62

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Guatemala includes the Firearm and Ammunition Law, Decree 15, 200963 43 and its regulation of 201164

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Guatemala are regulated by the Directorate General for Control of Arms and Ammunition (DIGECAM)65 66 67

Right to Possess Firearms

In Guatemala, the right to private gun ownership is conditionally guaranteed by the Constitution,68 69 70 as limited by statute law71

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Guatemala, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic firearms, military firearms, or weapons of war72 73 74 75

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Guatemala, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited72 73 74 76 18

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Guatemala, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence72 77 76

Regulation of Handguns

In Guatemala, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence72 77 76 18

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Guatemala, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law72 77 76 18

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Guatemala, only licensed gun owners78 79 80 81 82 18 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 permitted83 84 85 86

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Guatemala is undefined,86 but is 25 years for a permit to carry,87 with exceptions for younger competitive sports shooters88

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Guatemala must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health and Army or Police service81 82 84 89 90 18 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

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

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Guatemala does not stipulate91 90 92 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 required93 84 94 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 years81 95 83

Licensing Records

In Guatemala, authorities maintain a record66 80 78 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 firearms96

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 held97 98

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Guatemala, the law requires66 78 80 81 67 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 required99 100 101 66 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 required102 103 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Guatemala, State agencies are required104 105 106 107 108 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 permitted109 110

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Guatemala, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful111 112 99 113 100 66 110

Background Checks for Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in Guatemala is obliged89 113 99 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 undetermined86

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Guatemala include some85 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 include99 114 101 38 39 44 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 include105 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Guatemala include115 57 116 88 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 law117 118 55 119 53 120 79 121 43 67 106

Firearm Tracing

In Guatemala, state authorities carry out122 123 67 124 125 78 100 79 66 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Guatemala, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are125 78 53 126 79 67 108 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Guatemala, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law127 18

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Guatemala, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited128

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Guatemala, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit128 81 82 84 80

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Guatemala, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm129 is eight to 10 years in prison, and up to 15 years for possession of prohibited firearms130 131 56 47 110 40 41 42 132 133 121

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Guatemala are known to have134 135 136 137 138 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 1,818139 (1996-98)

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

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

2013: 4,408140
2012: 4,375
2011: 4,069140 141 142
2010: 4,580140 142
2004: 2,988138

Small Arms Destroyed

In Guatemala, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 501134 (2006), 3,000135 (2007), 1,500136 (2009) and 6,200143 (2010) 137

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Guatemala, it is not state policy144 145 105 146 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 Material147

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 ratified148 149 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 2006150 by Guatemala.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified151 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 ratified152 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 Aspects153

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. 84154 155 156 157 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 reports158 159 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 designated160 159

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Guatemala, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated160 159

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 apparent161 160 159

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated159 by Guatemala to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided159 to Guatemala by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Guatemala has not declared162 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 1945163

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list164 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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