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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) 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

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

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Kenya, annual suicides by any means total

2010: 16219
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: 12020
1994-99: 22521

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 government22 23 24 25 26

Home-made Guns

In Kenya, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be low27

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Kenya, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law28 29 30 31 32

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Kenya is reported by Customs to be US$340,94133 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Kenya, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law28 34 29 35 31 32

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Kenya is reported by Customs to be US$15,819,12433 (2011)36

Firearm Imports (Number) - Customs

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

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Kenya is high38 39 40

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Kenya, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law41

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Kenya includes42 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 restrictive43

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Kenya includes the Firearms Act, 195444 and the Security Amendment Act of 201423 31

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Kenya are regulated by the chief licensing officer, appointed by the Commissioner of Police45

Right to Possess Firearms

In Kenya, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law46 47 48 49

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 Minister50 51 52 35 30 53

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Kenya, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited50 51 16

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Kenya, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited50 51

Regulation of Handguns

In Kenya, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence50 51 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 owners48 49 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 protection49 54 55

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 firearms56 55

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Kenya must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, and domestic violence49 57 58 55 16 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Kenya, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required59

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Kenya stipulates58 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 required59 60 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Kenya, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one year49

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Kenya are permitted to possess only the number of firearms indicated on their licence61

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Kenya are permitted to possess only the quantity of ammunition indicated on their licence61

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Kenya, the law requires62 63 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 required64 65 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 required23 63 22 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Kenya, State agencies are required66 67 63 68 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 permit69 70

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Kenya, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful69 71 65

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

The number of licensed firearm dealers in Kenya is reported to be 1060

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Kenya, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined59

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Kenya, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated59 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Kenya include72 73 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 include72 74 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 include75 67 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Kenya include76 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 law77 78 79 23 63 80 81 68

Firearm Tracing

In Kenya, state authorities carry out79 68 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 be82 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Kenya, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited83 73 16

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Kenya, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited83 73 16

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Kenya, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm84 is 15 years in prison for prohibited and specified firearms, and 10 years for non-prohibited firearms48 53

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Kenya are known to have85 86 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 1,65487 (2011) and 2,22688 (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 1989 (2008)

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

In Kenya, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be 2,13490 (2010-2013) 91

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2011: 4,27387
2010: 2,54588 92
2009: 2,49886
2003/13: 25,17991
2003/08: 20,13685 93

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Kenya, it is state policy94 95 96 86 87 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 200697 98

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 ratified99 100 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, lists101 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 2006102 by Kenya.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed103 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 ratified104 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 Aspects105

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. 101106 107 108 109 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 reports110 111 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 designated112 111

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Kenya, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated112 111

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 apparent112 111 113 114

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated111 by Kenya to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided111 to Kenya by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Kenya has not declared115 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 1963116

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list117 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.

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6.

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8.

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11.

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21.

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22.

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23.

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25.

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28.

Kenya.1954.‘Importation and Exportation of Firearms and Ammunition.’ Firearms Act, Chapter 114.Nairobi:Republic of Kenya,1 January. (Q2224)Full Citation

29.

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30.

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31.

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33.

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34.

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35.

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36.

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41.

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48.

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49.

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50.

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51.

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52.

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