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Armed violence prevention, gun control laws and the small arms trade:

Kenya — 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 Kenya is 530,000 to 680,0001 2

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in Kenya is 1.23 to 1.583 2

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In Kenya, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 1,1074

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In Kenya, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 2,2004

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In Kenya, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 1,8724

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Kenya ranked at No. 612

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

ChartThe number of licensed gun owners in Kenya is reported to be

2016: 6,5005
2002: 5,0006

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Kenya is

2016: 0.013
2002: 0.02

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in Kenya is reported to be 6,4814

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Kenya is 0.023

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Kenya are reported to have 45,8287 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In Kenya, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms8 9 10 11

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Kenya are reported to have 42,00012 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Kenya, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 2,76113
2011: 2,64114 13 15 16
2010: 2,23914 13 15
2009: 2,214
2008: 2,037
2007: 1,281 13 15
2006: 1,286 13 15 17
2005: 1,260
2004: 1,395 13 15

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

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

2012: 6.413
2011: 6.303 13 15 16
2010: 5.483 13 15
2009: 5.58
2008: 5.293 13 15 18
2007: 3.413 15 18
2006: 3.513 15 17 18
2005: 3.5
2004: 4.013 15 18
2003: 4.1418
2002: 9.98
2001: 5.29
2000: 5.84
1999: 5.39
1998: 5.53
1997: 5.73
1996: 4.20
1995: 4.31

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Kenya, annual male homicides by any means total

2015: 1,93319
2014: 2,053
2010: 1,715

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Kenya, annual female homicides by any means total

2015: 71519
2014: 596
2010: 524

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Kenya, annual suicides by any means total

2010: 16220
2009: 265

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

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

2010: 0.403
2009: 0.67

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

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

2006: 12021
1994-99: 22522

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Kenya, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence and if the manufacturing is on behalf of the government23 24 25 26 27

Home-made Guns

In Kenya, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be low28

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Kenya, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law29 30 31 32 33

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Kenya is reported by Customs to be US$340,94134 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Kenya, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law29 35 30 36 32 33

Firearm Imports (Number)

The annual number of firearms imported to Kenya is reported to be 51,50037 (2006-2010)

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Kenya is reported by Customs to be US$15,819,12434 (2011)38

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Kenya is high39 40 41

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Kenya, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law42

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Kenya includes43 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 Kenya is categorised as restrictive44

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Kenya includes the Firearms Act, 195445 and the Security Amendment Act of 201424 32

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Kenya are regulated by the chief licensing officer, appointed by the Commissioner of Police46

Right to Possess Firearms

In Kenya, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law47 48 49 50

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Kenya, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic and semi-automatic self-loading military assault rifles of 7.62mm or 5.56mm calibre, or of any other calibre from time to time specified by the Minister, or firearms fitted with sound suppressors, or AK-47, G3 and MP5 and other similar firearms as may be specified by the Minister51 52 53 36 31 54

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Kenya, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited51 52 16

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Kenya, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited51 52

Regulation of Handguns

In Kenya, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence51 52 16

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Kenya, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law16

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Kenya, only licensed gun owners49 50 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 Kenya are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example personal protection50 55 56

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Kenya is 12 years for miniature rifles and up to 20 gauge shotguns, or 14 years for other permitted firearms57 56

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Kenya must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, and domestic violence50 58 59 56 16 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Kenya, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required60

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Kenya stipulates59 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Kenya, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required60 61 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Kenya, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one year50

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Kenya are permitted to possess only the number of firearms indicated on their licence62

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Kenya are permitted to possess only the quantity of ammunition indicated on their licence62

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Kenya, the law requires63 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 Kenya, licensed firearm dealers are required65 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 Kenya, licensed gun makers are required24 64 23 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Kenya, State agencies are required67 68 64 69 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 Kenya, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without a permit70 71

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Kenya, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful70 72 66

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

The number of licensed firearm dealers in Kenya is reported to be 1061

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Kenya, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined60

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Kenya, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated60 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Kenya include73 74 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 Kenya include73 75 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Kenya include76 68 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Kenya include77 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Kenya, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law78 79 80 24 64 81 82 69

Firearm Tracing

In Kenya, state authorities carry out80 69 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Kenya, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition will be83 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Kenya, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited84 74 16

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Kenya, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited84 74 16

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Kenya, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm85 is 15 years in prison for prohibited and specified firearms, and 10 years for non-prohibited firearms49 54

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Kenya are known to have86 87 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 Kenya, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be 1,65488 (2011) and 2,22689 (2010)

Exchanged in Gun Buyback

In Kenya, the total number of firearms exchanged for monetary or in-kind compensation during recent gun buyback and disposal programmes is reported to be 1990 (2008)

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

In Kenya, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be 2,13491 (2010-2013) 92

Small Arms Destroyed

ChartIn Kenya, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be

2011: 4,27388
2010: 2,54589 93
2009: 2,49887
2003/13: 25,17992
2003/08: 20,13686 94

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Kenya, it is state policy95 96 97 87 88 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

African Union

In June 2006, as a member of the African Union, Kenya adopted an African Common Position to take to the Conference to Review the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA), held in June 200698 99

Regional Centre on Small Arms

In March 2000, as a member of the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), Kenya adopted the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa, then on 21 April 2004 adopted the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States, a legally-binding multilateral protocol of which the RECSA is depository. The Nairobi Protocol has since been signed, and ratified100 101 by Kenya

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The UNCCPCJ, a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, lists102 Kenya as an elected member

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 2006103 by Kenya.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed104 by Kenya

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 ratified105 by Kenya

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Kenya 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 Aspects106

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Kenya against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 101107 108 109 110 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Kenya has submitted one or more national reports111 112 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Kenya, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated113 112

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Kenya, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated113 112

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Kenya submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent113 112 114 115

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated112 by Kenya to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided112 to Kenya by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Kenya has not declared116 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Kenya has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1963117

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list118 Kenya as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

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29.

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30.

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31.

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36.

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