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Iceland — 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 Iceland is 90,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Iceland is 30.31 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Iceland ranked at No. 1412

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Iceland ranked at No. 151

Proportion of Households with Firearms

In Iceland, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2004/05: 23.5%3

Proportion of Households with Handguns

In Iceland, the percentage of households with one or more handguns is reported to be

2004/05: 1.4%3

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Iceland are reported to have 3754 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In Iceland, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm5

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Iceland are reported to have 1,0396 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Iceland, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2009: 47
2008: 48
2007: 69 8
2006: 8
2005: 5
2004: 48
2003: 5
2002: 3
2001: 6
2000: 89 8
1999: 38
1998: 3
1997: 7
1996: 79 8

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2009: 1.257
2008: 1.3110
2007: 1.99
2006: 2.67
2005: 1.68
2004: 1.36
2003: 1.72
2002: 1.04
2001: 2.11
2000: 2.85
1999: 1.08
1998: 1.09
1997: 2.58
1996: 2.60

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Iceland, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 111 12
2011: 311 13
2010: 2
2009: 1
2008: 0
2007: 2
2006: 0
2005: 3
2004: 311 14
2003: 0
2002: 411 15
2001: 1
2000: 511 16
1999: 216
1998: 013
1997: 2
1996: 1
1995: 0

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

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

2012: 0.311 12
2011: 0.911 13
2010: 0.6
2009: 0.3
2008: 0.0
2007: 0.7
2006: 0.0
2005: 1.0
2004: 1.011 14
2003: 0.0
2002: 1.411 15
2001: 0.4
2000: 1.811 16
1999: 0.7216
1998: 0.013
1997: 0.7
1996: 0.4
1995: 0.0

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Iceland, annual firearm homicides total

2012: 011
2011: 0
2010: 0
2009: 011 13
2008: 0
2007: 19 11 13
2006: 1
2005: 1
2004: 014
2003: 0
2000: 19
1996: 1

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2012: 0.0010
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.00
2009: 0.0010 13
2008: 0.00
2007: 0.329 10 13
2006: 0.33
2005: 0.34
2004: 0.0014
2003: 0.00
2000: 0.369
1996: 0.37

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2012: 0%11
2011: 0%
2010: 0%
2009: 0%
2008: 0%
2007: 50%
2006: 0%
2005: 0%
2004: 0.0%13
2003: 0.0%

Long Gun Homicides

In Iceland, annual long gun homicides total

1996: 19

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

In Iceland, the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

1996: 0.379

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn Iceland, annual gun homicides (other) total

2007: 19
2006: 1
2005: 1
2000: 1

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

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

2007: 0.329
2006: 0.33
2005: 0.34
2000: 0.36

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Iceland, annual firearm suicides total

2009: 48
2008: 4
2007: 5
2006: 7
2005: 4
2004: 4
2003: 5
2002: 3
2001: 6
2000: 7
1999: 3
1998: 3
1997: 7
1996: 6

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2009: 1.258
2008: 1.25
2007: 1.61
2006: 2.3
2005: 1.35
2004: 1.37
2003: 1.73
2002: 1.04
2001: 2.1
2000: 2.49
1999: 1.08
1998: 1.1
1997: 2.58
1996: 2.23

Handgun Suicides

In Iceland, annual handgun suicides total

1997: 18

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

In Iceland, the annual rate of handgun suicide per 100,000 population is

1997: 0.378

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn Iceland, the number of long gun suicides is

2009: 48
2008: 3
2007: 1
2006: 6
2005: 3
2004: 1
2003: 5
2002: 1
2001: 3
2000: 4
1999: 2
1997: 2
1996: 3

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2009: 1.258
2008: 0.94
2007: 0.32
2006: 1.97
2005: 1.01
2004: 0.34
2003: 1.73
2002: 0.35
2001: 1.05
2000: 1.42
1999: 0.72
1997: 0.74
1996: 1.12

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn Iceland, annual gun suicides (other) total

2008: 18
2007: 4
2006: 1
2005: 1
2004: 3
2002: 2
2001: 3
2000: 3
1999: 1
1998: 3
1997: 4
1996: 3

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

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

2008: 0.318
2007: 1.28
2006: 0.33
2005: 0.34
2004: 1.03
2002: 0.70
2001: 1.05
2000: 1.07
1999: 0.36
1998: 1.10
1997: 1.48
1996: 1.12

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Iceland is reported by Customs to be US$3,20717 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Iceland is reported by Customs to be US$1,987,80017 (2011)

MeasuresGun Regulation

Right to Possess Firearms

In Iceland, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law18 19

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

Law Regulates Automatic Weapons

In Iceland, civilian possession of automatic weapons is regulated by law12

Law Regulates Handguns

In Iceland, civilian possession of handguns is regulated by law12

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Iceland, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law12

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Iceland, only licensed gun owners20 12 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Iceland must pass a background check which considers undefined12 records

Licensing Records

In Iceland, authorities maintain a record20 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Iceland, the law requires20 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 Iceland, licensed firearm dealers are required21 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Iceland, licensed gun makers are required21 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Iceland, State agencies are required22 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Iceland, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law23

Firearm Tracing

In Iceland, state authorities carry out24 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Iceland, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law12

MeasuresInternational Controls

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 200725 by Iceland.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified26 by Iceland

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, but not yet ratified27 by Iceland

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Iceland 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 Aspects28

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Iceland against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 7329 30 31 32 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Iceland has submitted one or more national reports33 34 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Iceland, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated35 34

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Iceland submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent34

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated34 by Iceland to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Iceland has declared36 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Iceland has been a Member State of the United Nations since 194637

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list38 Iceland as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

1.

Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms - Annexe online.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q5)Full Citation

2.

Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q4)Full Citation

3.

van Dijk, Jan, John van Kesteren and Paul Smit.2007.‘Ownership of Firearms and Handguns in Countries and Main Cities (percentages): 1989-2005 ICVS and 2005 EU ICS.’ Criminal Victimisation in International Perspective: Key findings from the 2004-2005 ICVS and EU ICS.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime / UNODC,1 January. (Q11804)Full Citation

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Karp, Aaron.2006.‘Trickle and Torrent: State stockpiles.’ Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q6)Full Citation

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Andrew Clarke. 2013. ‘Why is Violent Crime So Rare in Iceland?.’ BBC News. 16 May. (N289) Full Citation

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WHO.2011.‘Inter-country Comparison of Mortality for Selected Cause of Death - Total Firearm Death.’ European Detailed Mortality Database (DMDB).Copenhagen:World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe,15 September. (Q5684)Full Citation

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WHO.2014.‘Inter-country Comparison of Mortality for Selected Cause of Death - Gun Homicide in Iceland.’ European Detailed Mortality Database (DMDB).Copenhagen:World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe,30 April. (Q6076)Full Citation

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GunPolicy.org.2015.‘Calculated Rates - Iceland.’ Historical Population Data - USCB International Data Base.Suitland, MD:US Census Bureau Population Division,18 June. (Q8730)Full Citation

11.

UNODC.2014.‘Homicides and Gun Homicides in Iceland.’ Global Study on Homicide 2013: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),10 April. (Q10316)Full Citation

12.

Butchart, Alexander, Christopher Mikton and Etienne Krug.2014.‘Country Profile: Iceland.’ Global Status Report on Violence Prevention 2014.Geneva:World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),10 December. (Q9499)Full Citation

13.

UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - Iceland.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6272)Full Citation

14.

UNODC.2006.‘Reported Overall Homicide Numbers and Rates per 100,000 Population for 64 Countries, 2003-04.’ Ninth United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (2003 - 2004).Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,10 December. (Q9)Full Citation

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17.

Marsh, Nicholas.2014.‘Database of Authorised Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons.’ NISAT Small Arms Trade Database.Oslo:Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers,22 December. (Q16)Full Citation

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Zachary Elkins, Tom Ginsburg and James Melton. 2013. ‘U.S. Gun Rights Truly Are American Exceptionalism.’ Bloomberg (USA). 7 March. (N422) Full Citation

20.

Iceland.2008.‘Legislation, Regulations, Administrative Procedures - Licensing and Civilian Gun Registration.’ National Report of Iceland on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York, NY:Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations,7 April. (Q4792)Full Citation

21.

Iceland.2008.‘Legislation, Regulations, Administrative Procedures - Shop Owners and Manufacturers.’ National Report of Iceland on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York, NY:Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations,7 April. (Q4791)Full Citation

22.

Iceland.2008.‘Stockpile Management and Security.’ National Report of Iceland on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York, NY:Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations,7 April. (Q4793)Full Citation

23.

Iceland.2008.‘Marking, Record Keeping and Tracing - Marking.’ National Report of Iceland on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York, NY:Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations,7 April. (Q4794)Full Citation

24.

Iceland.2008.‘Marking, Record Keeping and Tracing - Tracing.’ National Report of Iceland on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York, NY:Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations,7 April. (Q4795)Full Citation

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27.

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28.

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29.

Parker, Sarah and Katherine Green.2012.‘Findings - Table 3: Reporting States by Rank and Score.’ The Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (Phase 1): Assessing Reported Progress.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 August. (Q8752)Full Citation

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Parker, Sarah and Katherine Green.2012.‘Point Allocation System.’ The Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (Phase 1): Assessing Reported Progress.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 August. (Q8754)Full Citation

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33.

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36.

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38.

Wassenaar Arrangement.1996.‘Introduction: Participating States.’ Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.Vienna:Wassenaar Secretariat,12 July. (Q19)Full Citation