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

Laos — 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 Laos is 71,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in Laos is 1.21

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. 1452

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. 1451

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Laos are reported to have 104,6903 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Laos are reported to have 16,0894 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Laos, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 3925
2008: 2796

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

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

2012: 5.95
2010: 0.56
2008: 4.6
2004: 5.407
2002: 5.70

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: 5.407
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 practice8

Home-made Guns

In Laos, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate9

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Laos, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law10

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Laos is reported by Customs to be US$18311 (2008)

Firearm Imports

In Laos, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law10

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Laos is reported by Customs to be US$71,47511 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Laos, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law10

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Laos is categorised as restrictive12

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Laos includes the

Laos, 1990, No. 29/SPS: Criminal Law13

Right to Possess Firearms

In Laos, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law14 15

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

Law Regulates Automatic Weapons

In Laos, civilian possession of automatic weapons is regulated by law16

Law Regulates Handguns

In Laos, civilian possession of handguns is regulated by law16

Law Regulates Long Guns

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

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Laos, only licensed gun owners (for those of high social standing only)17 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 Laos are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting18 19

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 violence20 16 records

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Laos stipulates20 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 required20 for a firearm licence

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Laos include20 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 law16

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Laos, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm21 is six months to 10 years in prison22

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 signed23 by Laos.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed24 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 ratified25 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 Aspects26

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 report27 28 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 designated29 28

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Laos, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated29 28

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated28 by Laos to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Laos has not declared30 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 195531

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list32 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

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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.

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

4.

Karp, Aaron.2006.‘Trickle and Torrent: State stockpiles.’ Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q7)Full Citation

5.

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

6.

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

7.

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

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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

10.

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

11.

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

12.

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

13.

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

14.

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

15.

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

16.

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

17.

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

18.

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

19.

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

20.

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

21.

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

22.

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

23.

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

24.

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

25.

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

26.

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

27.

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

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UNODA.2015.‘PoA-ISS Country Profiles.’ UN small arms Programme of Action (UNPoA) - Implementation Support System.New York, NY:United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs,11 September. (Q1309)Full Citation

29.

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

30.

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

31.

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

32.

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