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Laos — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

ChartThe estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Laos is

2017: 215,0001
2007: 71,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

ChartThe estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in Laos is

2017: 3.01
2007: 1.22

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Laos ranked at No. 1453

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Laos ranked at No. 1452

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Laos are reported to have 224,6904 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Laos are reported to have 21,0005 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Laos, annual homicides by any means total

2015: 4676
2012: 3927
2010: 502
2008: 2798

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

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

2015: 6.876
2012: 5.97
2010: 8.03
2008: 4.6
2004: 5.409
2002: 5.70

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

In Laos, annual male homicides by any means total

2010: 39910

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

In Laos, annual female homicides by any means total

2010: 10310

Suicides (any method)

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

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

2004: 5.409
2002: 5.70

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Laos, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence, but is not conducted in practice11

Home-made Guns

In Laos, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate12

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Laos, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law13

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

ChartThe annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Laos is reported by Customs to be US$

2015: 252,91014
2008: 18315

Firearm Imports

In Laos, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law13

Firearm Imports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms imported to Laos is reported to be

2017: 25616
2016: 542
2009: 10

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

ChartThe annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Laos is reported by Customs to be US$

2016: 338,48614
2015: 854,614
2014: 4,800
2013: 488,000
2012: 312,950
2011: 71,47515

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Laos, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law13

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Laos is categorised as restrictive17

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Laos includes the

Laos, 1990, No. 29/SPS: Criminal Law18

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Laos are regulated by the Ministry of Public Security19

Right to Possess Firearms

In Laos, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law20 21

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

Law Regulates Automatic Weapons

In Laos, civilian possession of automatic weapons is regulated by law22

Law Regulates Handguns

In Laos, civilian possession of handguns is regulated by law22

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Laos, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law22

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Laos, only licensed gun owners (for those of high social standing only)23 22 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Laos are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting24 25

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Laos must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, medical and domestic violence26 22 records

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Laos stipulates26 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Laos, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required26 for a firearm licence

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Laos include26 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Laos, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law22

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Laos, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm27 is six months to 10 years in prison28

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 not signed29 by Laos.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed30 by Laos

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 ratified31 by Laos

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Laos 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 Aspects32

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Laos has yet to submit a national report33 34 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

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

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Laos, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated35 34

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

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

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Laos has not 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, Laos has been a Member State of the United Nations since 195537

Wassenaar Arrangement

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

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

1.

Karp, Aaron.2018.‘Civilian Firearms Holdings, 2017.’ Estimating Global Civilian-Held Firearms Numbers.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,18 June. (Q13434)Full Citation

2.

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

3.

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

4.

Karp, Aaron.2018.‘Military Firearms Holdings, 2017.’ Estimating Global Military-Owned Firearms Numbers.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,18 June. (Q13436)Full Citation

5.

Karp, Aaron.2018.‘Law Enforcement Firearms Holdings, 2017.’ Estimating Global Law Enforcement Firearms Numbers.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,18 June. (Q13435)Full Citation

6.

UNODC.2017.‘Intentional Homicide Victims.’ Crime and Drugs Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,19 May. (Q13355)Full Citation

7.

UNODC.2014.‘Homicides in Laos.’ Global Study on Homicide 2013: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),10 April. (Q10265)Full Citation

8.

UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - Laos.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6307)Full Citation

9.

Petrini, Benjamin.2011.‘East Asia and the Pacific, 1995-2008, Total Recorded Intentional Homicide, Completed, Rate per 100,000 Population.’ World Bank Homicide Rate Dataset 1995-2008.Washington, DC:Social Development Department, World Bank,10 February. (Q3814)Full Citation

10.

UNODC.2017.‘Intentional Homicide Victims by Sex.’ Crime and Drugs Data.Vienna:UNODC,19 May. (Q13356)Full Citation

11.

Capie, David.2002.‘ASEAN country studies: Lao People's Democratic Republic.’ Small Arms Production and Transfers in South East Asia.Canberra:Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University,1 January. (Q1032)Full Citation

12.

Small Arms Survey.2001.‘Illicit Production - South East Asia.’ Small Arms Survey 2001: Profiling the Problem.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q1062)Full Citation

13.

IANSA.2006.‘Reviewing Action on Small Arms 2006: Assessing the first five years of the UN Programme of Action.’ Biting the Bullet 'Red Book' 2006.New York, NY:International Action Network on Small Arms and the Biting the Bullet project,26 June. (Q82)Full Citation

14.

United Nations.2018.‘National Customs Data on Small Arms Exports and Imports - Laos.’ UN Comtrade International Trade Statistics Database.New York NY:United Nations Statistics Division,1 January. (Q13437)Full Citation

15.

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

16.

UN Register of Conventional Arms.2018.‘National Reports on Small Arms Exports and Imports - Laos.’ UNROCA - The Global Reported Arms Trade.New York, NY:United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,1 January. (Q13362)Full Citation

17.

Newton, George D and Franklin E Zimring.1969.‘Firearm Licensing: Permissive v Restrictive.’ Firearms & Violence in American Life: A staff report submitted to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence.Washington, DC:US Government Printing Office,1 January. (Q22)Full Citation

18.

Kramer, Katherine.2001.‘Guiding Policy - Laos.’ Legal Controls on Small Arms and Light Weapons in South East Asia.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and Nonviolence International South East Asia,1 July. (Q1504)Full Citation

19.

Roseanne Gerin. 2015. ‘Lao Authorities Require Gun Re-registrations to Reduce Illegal Firearms.’ Radio Free Asia. 3 March. (N724) Full Citation

20.

Sherman, Amy and Tom Ginsburg.2014.‘Gun Rights in National Constitutions.’ Marco Rubio Says Second Amendment Is Unique in Speech to NRA.Miami, FL:Miami Herald (PolitiFact Florida),29 April. (Q8507)Full Citation

21.

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

22.

Butchart, Alexander, Christopher Mikton and Etienne Krug.2014.‘Country Profile: Laos.’ 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. (Q9617)Full Citation

23.

Kramer, Katherine.2001.‘Firearm Licensing.’ Legal Controls on Small Arms and Light Weapons in South East Asia.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and Nonviolence International South East Asia,1 July. (Q1024)Full Citation

24.

Kramer, Katherine.2001.‘General Preconditions for Licence Applications.’ Legal Controls on Small Arms and Light Weapons in South East Asia.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and Nonviolence International South East Asia,1 July. (Q75)Full Citation

25.

Kramer, Katherine.2001.‘Categories of Arms Licensed for Private Possession.’ Legal Controls on Small Arms and Light Weapons in South East Asia.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and Nonviolence International South East Asia,1 July. (Q1025)Full Citation

26.

Kramer, Katherine.2001.‘Licensing Criteria.’ Legal Controls on Small Arms and Light Weapons in South East Asia.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and Nonviolence International South East Asia,1 July. (Q1932)Full Citation

27.

GunPolicy.org. 2015. ‘Penalty for Unlawful Firearm Possession.’ Definition and Selection Criteria.
Sydney School of Public Health, 22 January.
(G93) Full Citation

28.

Kramer, Katherine.2001.‘Penalty Comparison.’ Legal Controls on Small Arms and Light Weapons in South East Asia.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and Nonviolence International South East Asia,1 July. (Q83)Full Citation

29.

GDAV.2006.‘Geneva Declaration.’ Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development.Geneva:Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development Secretariat,7 June. (Q7162)Full Citation

30.

UNODA.2013.‘Towards Entry Into Force.’ Arms Trade Treaty.New York, NY:United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,2 April. (Q7226)Full Citation

31.

UNGA.2001.‘United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.’ UN General Assembly Resolution 55/255.New York, NY:UN General Assembly,31 May. (Q17)Full Citation

32.

UNGA.2001.‘Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.’ United Nations General Assembly.New York, NY:UN General Assembly,20 July. (Q18)Full Citation

33.

Cattaneo, Silvia and Sarah Parker.2008.‘Reporting, NPCs and NCAs, 2002 to 2008.’ Implementing the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons: Analysis of the National Reports submitted by States from 2002 to 2008.Geneva:United Nations Development Programme,1 November. (Q20)Full Citation

34.

UNODA.2018.‘PoA-ISS Country Profiles.’ UN small arms Programme of Action (UNPoA) - Implementation Support System.New York, NY:United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs,23 July. (Q1309)Full Citation

35.

IANSA.2006.‘Reviewing Action on Small Arms 2006: Assessing the first five years of the UN Programme of Action.’ Biting the Bullet 'Red Book' 2006.New York, NY:International Action Network on Small Arms and the Biting the Bullet project,26 June. (Q166)Full Citation

36.

UNODA.2011.‘National Reports on Small Arms Exports.’ United Nations Register of Conventional Arms - The Global Reported Arms Trade.New York, NY:United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,21 October. (Q14)Full Citation

37.

UN.2013.‘Member States of the United Nations.’ UN.org Web Site.New York, NY:United Nations General Assembly,7 April. (Q290)Full Citation

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