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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) in Kenya is 1.23 to 1.583 2 firearms per 100 people

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

There are reportedly 1,8724 handguns in civilian possession in Kenya

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Kenya ranked at No. 615

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in Kenya is reported to be 5,0006

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Kenya is 0.023

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

2011: 2,64113 14
2010: 2,239
2009: 2,214
2008: 2,037
2007: 1,28114
2006: 1,28614 15
2005: 1,260
2004: 1,39514

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

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

2011: 6.303 14
2010: 5.48
2009: 5.58
2008: 5.293 14 16
2007: 3.414 16
2006: 3.514 15 16
2005: 3.5
2004: 4.014 16
2003: 4.1416
2002: 9.98
2001: 5.29
2000: 5.84
1999: 5.39
1998: 5.53
1997: 5.73
1996: 4.20
1995: 4.31

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Kenya, annual suicides by any means total

2010: 16217
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 reported, or estimated annual number of non-fatal firearm injuries is

2006: 12018
1994-99: 22519

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 government20 21 22 23 24

Home-made Guns

In Kenya the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be low25

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Kenya, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law26 27 28

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Kenya is reported by Customs to be US$340,94129 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Kenya, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law26 30 27 31

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Kenya is reported by Customs to be US$15,819,12429 (2011)

Firearm Imports (Number) - Customs

The annual number of firearms imported to Kenya is reported to be 51,50032 (2006-2010)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Kenya is high33 34 35

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Kenya, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law36

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Kenya includes37 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 restrictive38

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Kenya includes the Firearms Act, 195439

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Kenya are regulated by the chief licensing officer, appointed by the Commissioner of Police40

Right to Possess Firearms

In Kenya, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law41 42

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 Minister43 44 45 31 28 46

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Kenya, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited43 44

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Kenya, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited43 44

Regulation of Handguns

In Kenya, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence43 44

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Kenya, only licensed gun owners41 42 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 prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, personal protection42 47 48

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, and 14 years for other permitted firearms49 48

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Kenya must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental, and domestic violence42 50 51 48 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Kenya, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required52

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Kenya stipulates51 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 required52 53 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Kenya gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one year42

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Kenya are permitted to possess only the number of firearms indicated on their licence54

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Kenya are permitted to possess only the quantity of ammunition indicated on their licence54

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Kenya, the law requires55 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 required56 57 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 required58 20 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Kenya, State agencies are required58 59 60 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 permitted61 62

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Kenya, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful61 63 57

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

The number of licensed firearm dealers in Kenya is reported to be 1053

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Kenya, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined52

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Kenya, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated52 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Kenya include64 65 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 include64 66 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 include67 59 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Kenya include68 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 law69 70 71 72 60

Firearm Tracing

In Kenya, state authorities carry out71 60 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In Kenya, state authorities employ73 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Kenya, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited74 65

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Kenya, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited74 65

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Kenya, the maximum penalty for illicit firearm possession is 15 years prison for prohibited and specified firearms, and 10 years for non-prohibited firearms41 46

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Kenya are known to have75 76 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 and/or rounds of ammunition voluntarily surrendered for destruction in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be 1,65477 (2011) and 2,22678 (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 1979 (2008)

Small Arms Destroyed

In Kenya, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 20,13675 80 (2003-2008), 2,49876 (2009), 2,54578 81 (2010) and 4,27377 (2011)

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Kenya, it is state policy82 83 84 76 77 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 200685

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 ratified86 87 by Kenya

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

At the resumption of the most recent session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (UNCCPCJ), a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, Kenya was listed as an elected member for a three-year term of office88

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 200689 by Kenya.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed90 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 ratified91 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 Aspects92

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 reports93 94 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 designated95 94

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Kenya, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated95 94

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Kenya submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent95 94 96 97

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated94 by Kenya to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided94 to Kenya by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Kenya has not declared98 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 196399

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list100 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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4.

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5.

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

6.

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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

8.

Kenya.2010.‘Prosecution Witness 19, Sergeant Joseph Too.’ Criminal Case 9 of 2008: Republic of Kenya v Edward Kirui 2010.Nairobi:The High Court of Kenya at Nairobi (Nairobi Law Courts),21 June. (Q6681)Full Citation

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Mkutu, Kennedy and Gerald Wandera.2013.‘Table 3: KPRs and Weapons Per Location in Turkana South.’ Policing the Periphery: Opportunities and Challenges for Kenya Police Reserves.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark,1 March. (Q6683)Full Citation

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19.

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20.

Kenya.1954.‘Prohibition of Manufacture of Firearms and Ammunition.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 114.Nairobi:Republic of Kenya,1 January. (Q2217)Full Citation

21.

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23.

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26.

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27.

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31.

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Wepundi, Manasseh, Eliud Nthiga, Eliud Kabuu, Ryan Murray and Anna Alvazzi del Frate.2012.‘Historical and Regional Developments.’ Availability of Small Arms and Perceptions of Security in Kenya: An Assessment.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark,1 June. (Q6679)Full Citation

34.

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36.

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40.

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41.

Kenya.1954.‘Penalty for Purchasing, etc., Firearms or Ammunition Without Firearm Certificate.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 114.Nairobi:Republic of Kenya,1 January. (Q2214)Full Citation

42.

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43.

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44.

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45.

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46.

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49.

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