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Latvia — 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 Latvia is 280,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Latvia is 19.01 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In Latvia, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 44,6572

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

There are reportedly 10,8832 handguns in civilian possession in Latvia

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Latvia ranked at No. 1053

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Latvia ranked at No. 321

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in Latvia is reported to be 57,5602

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Latvia is 2.484

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Latvia are reported to have 86,0645 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Latvia are reported to have 8,4626 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

In Latvia, annual deaths resulting from firearms total 2010: 327

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

In Latvia, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is 2010: 1.437

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Latvia, annual homicides by any means total

2010: 708
2009: 108
2008: 99
2007: 94
2006: 128
2005: 126
2004: 181
2003: 202
2002: 214
2001: 219
2000: 238
1999: 229
1998: 250
1997: 272
1996: 268
1995: 288

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

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

2010: 3.18
2009: 4.8
2008: 4.48 9
2007: 4.1
2006: 5.6
2005: 5.5
2004: 7.8
2003: 8.7
2002: 9.1
2001: 9.3
2000: 10.0
1999: 9.5
1998: 10.3
1997: 11.2
1996: 10.9
1995: 11.6

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Latvia, annual firearm homicides total

2010: 410
2009: 310 8
2008: 9
2007: 7
2006: 15
2005: 13
2004: 9
2003: 21
2002: 25
2001: 36
2000: 31
1999: 34
1998: 48
1997: 55
1996: 55
1995: 5611

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.1810
2009: 0.1310 8
2008: 0.4
2007: 0.31
2006: 0.66
2005: 0.57
2004: 0.39
2003: 0.9
2002: 1.07
2001: 1.53
2000: 1.31
1999: 1.4
1998: 1.96
1997: 2.23
1996: 2.21
1995: 2.2311

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn Latvia, annual handgun homicides total

2010: 110
2008: 1
2006: 4
2005: 1
2002: 1
2001: 7
2000: 3
1999: 2
1998: 1
1997: 2
1996: 29

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.0410
2008: 0.04
2006: 0.17
2005: 0.04
2002: 0.04
2001: 0.30
2000: 0.13
1999: 0.08
1998: 0.04
1997: 0.08
1996: 1.16

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn Latvia, annual long gun homicides total

2004: 110
2003: 2
2002: 2
2001: 1
2000: 3
1999: 4
1998: 3
1997: 11
1996: 5

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

2004: 0.0410
2003: 0.09
2002: 0.09
2001: 0.04
2000: 0.13
1999: 0.16
1998: 0.12
1997: 0.45
1996: 0.20

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn Latvia, annual gun homicides (other) total

2010: 310
2009: 3
2008: 8
2007: 7
2006: 11
2005: 12
2004: 8
2003: 19
2002: 22
2001: 28
2000: 25
1999: 28
1998: 44
1997: 42
1996: 21

Rate of Gun Homicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of gun homicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.1310
2009: 0.13
2008: 0.35
2007: 0.31
2006: 0.48
2005: 0.52
2004: 0.35
2003: 0.82
2002: 0.94
2001: 1.19
2000: 1.05
1999: 1.15
1998: 1.80
1997: 1.70
1996: 0.84

Suicides (any method)

In Latvia, annual suicides by any means total 1999: 76412

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

In Latvia, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is 1999: 33.1212

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Latvia, annual firearm suicides total

2010: 2113
2009: 31
2008: 27
2007: 33
2006: 33
2005: 22
2004: 29
2003: 30
2002: 37
2001: 29
2000: 32
1999: 47
1998: 46
1997: 52
1996: 56

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.9413
2009: 1.37
2008: 1.19
2007: 1.45
2006: 1.44
2005: 0.96
2004: 1.25
2003: 1.29
2002: 1.58
2001: 1.23
2000: 1.35
1999: 1.93
1998: 1.88
1997: 2.11
1996: 2.25

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn Latvia, annual handgun suicides total

2010: 413
2009: 3
2008: 7
2007: 5
2006: 6
2005: 1
2004: 2
2003: 3
2002: 3
2001: 4
2000: 6
1998: 4
1997: 1
1996: 9

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of handgun suicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.1813
2009: 0.13
2008: 0.31
2007: 0.22
2006: 0.26
2005: 0.04
2004: 0.09
2003: 0.13
2002: 0.13
2001: 0.17
2000: 0.25
1998: 0.16
1997: 0.04
1996: 0.36

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn Latvia, the number of long gun suicides is

2010: 613
2009: 5
2008: 4
2007: 10
2006: 8
2005: 2
2004: 4
2003: 6
2002: 9
2001: 6
2000: 7
1999: 4
1998: 11
1997: 14
1996: 20

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of long gun suicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.2713
2009: 0.22
2008: 0.18
2007: 0.44
2006: 0.35
2005: 0.09
2004: 0.17
2003: 0.26
2002: 0.38
2001: 0.25
2000: 0.30
1999: 0.16
1998: 0.45
1997: 0.57
1996: 0.80

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn Latvia, annual gun suicides (other) total

2010: 1113
2009: 2
2008: 16
2007: 18
2006: 19
2005: 19
2004: 23
2003: 21
2002: 25
2001: 19
2000: 19
1999: 43
1998: 31
1997: 37
1996: 27

Rate of Gun Suicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of gun suicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.4913
2009: 1.02
2008: 0.71
2007: 0.79
2006: 0.83
2005: 0.83
2004: 0.99
2003: 0.90
2002: 1.07
2001: 0.81
2000: 0.80
1999: 1.77
1998: 1.27
1997: 1.50
1996: 1.08

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Latvia, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2010: 114
2009: 4
2008: 1
2007: 4
2005: 3
2004: 2
2003: 1
2002: 4
2001: 2
2000: 3
1999: 5
1998: 2
1997: 3
1996: 9

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.0414
2009: 0.18
2008: 0.04
2007: 0.18
2005: 0.13
2004: 0.09
2003: 0.04
2002: 0.17
2001: 0.09
2000: 0.13
1999: 0.21
1998: 0.08
1997: 0.12
1996: 0.36

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn Latvia, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2007: 114
2005: 1
2002: 1
1996: 3

Rate of Unintentional Handgun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by handgun per 100,000 population is

2007: 0.0414
2005: 0.04
2002: 0.04
1996: 0.12

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn Latvia, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2010: 114
2009: 3
2008: 1
2005: 2
2004: 2
2002: 1
2001: 1
2000: 1
1999: 2
1998: 2
1997: 1
1996: 3

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by long gun per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.0414
2009: 0.13
2008: 0.04
2005: 0.09
2004: 0.09
2002: 0.04
2001: 0.04
2000: 0.04
1999: 0.08
1998: 0.08
1997: 0.04
1996: 0.12

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

ChartIn Latvia, annual unintentional shooting deaths by firearm (other) total

2009: 114
2007: 3
2003: 1
2002: 2
2001: 1
2000: 2
1999: 3
1997: 2
1996: 3

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by firearm (other) per 100,000 population is

2009: 0.0414
2007: 0.13
2003: 0.04
2002: 0.09
2001: 0.04
2000: 0.08
1999: 0.12
1997: 0.08
1996: 0.12

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Latvia, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2010: 615
2009: 5
2008: 10
2007: 4
2006: 4
2005: 5
2004: 7
2003: 6
2002: 3
2001: 5
2000: 3
1999: 6
1998: 7
1997: 10
1996: 6

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.2715
2009: 0.22
2008: 0.44
2007: 0.18
2006: 0.17
2005: 0.22
2004: 0.30
2003: 0.26
2002: 0.13
2001: 0.21
2000: 0.13
1999: 0.25
1998: 0.29
1997: 0.41
1996: 0.24

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Latvia, annual deaths by handgun in which the cause remains undecided total

2001: 115
1999: 2
1997: 1

Rate of Handgun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of unknown-cause handgun deaths per 100,000 population is

2001: 0.0415
1999: 0.08
1997: 0.04

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Latvia, annual deaths by long gun in which the cause remains undecided total

2008: 115
2007: 2
2005: 2
2001: 1
1998: 1
1997: 2
1996: 1

Rate of Long Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of unknown-cause long gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2008: 0.0415
2007: 0.09
2005: 0.09
2001: 0.04
1998: 0.04
1997: 0.08
1996: 0.04

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Latvia, annual deaths by firearm (other) in which the cause remains undecided total

2010: 615
2009: 5
2008: 9
2007: 2
2006: 4
2005: 3
2004: 7
2003: 6
2002: 3
2001: 3
2000: 3
1999: 4
1998: 6
1997: 7
1996: 5

Rate of Gun Death (Other) from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn Latvia, the annual rate of unknown-cause gun deaths (other) per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.2715
2009: 0.22
2008: 0.40
2007: 0.09
2006: 0.17
2005: 0.13
2004: 0.30
2003: 0.26
2002: 0.13
2001: 0.13
2000: 0.13
1999: 0.16
1998: 0.25
1997: 0.28
1996: 0.20

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Latvia, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence (but not conducted in practise)16 17 18

Home-made Guns

In Latvia the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate19

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Latvia, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Latvia is reported by Customs to be US$230,41029 (2011)

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, Latvia is categorized as 'minor'30

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Latvia, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law20 21 31 24 25 26 27

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Latvia is reported by Customs to be US$5,664,54129 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Latvia is moderate19

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Latvia, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law21 32 32 33 34 35

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Latvia include22 23 36 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 Latvia is categorised as restrictive37

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Latvia includes the Law on the Handling of Weapons, the Cabinet of Ministers Regulations No. 159 of March 1, 2005, the Cabinet of Ministers Regulations No. 1665 of December 28, 2009,38 39 31 the Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons,40 41 the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012 and the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 200342

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Latvia are regulated by the Cabinet43 and the Office for Control of Weaponry of the Department of Security Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,44 and the European Commission41

Right to Possess Firearms

In Latvia, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law45

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Latvia, civilians are not allowed to possess imitation, sawn-off firearms, automatic category A firearms, military smooth-bore firearms, short-barrelled category B firearms46 47 48 49

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Latvia, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited50 48 49

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Latvia, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence50 47 51 52 49

Regulation of Handguns

In Latvia, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence, up to 9mm50 31 48 51 52 49

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Latvia, only licensed gun owners31 53 54 2 55 48 51 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Latvia are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, self-defence, hunting, sport, work or performance of duties, as well as collection31 56 57 58 50 2 59

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Latvia is 18 years56 59

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Latvia must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental, addiction, medical and prohibited military60 59 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Latvia, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required45

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Latvia does not stipulate45 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Latvia, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required57 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Latvia gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one to five years53

Licensing Records

In Latvia, authorities maintain a record61 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Latvia are permitted to possess 10 firearms57

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Latvia are permitted to possess only 500 cartridges of same calibre57 62

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Latvia, the law requires58 63 61 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 Latvia, licensed firearm dealers are required20 61 64 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Latvia, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited16

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Latvia, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful16 20 31 65 52

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Latvia, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined45

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Latvia, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated45 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Latvia do not include45 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 Latvia include66 67 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Latvia include66 67 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Latvia include53 31 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Latvia, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law46 32 18 68

Firearm Tracing

In Latvia, state authorities carry out63 68 64 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In Latvia, state authorities employ63 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Latvia, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit69 50 53

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Latvia, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited46

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Latvia, the maximum penalty for illicit firearm possession is 10 years prison70

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Latvia, it is state policy71 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

European Union

As a member of the European Union, Latvia is bound by the provisions of the ‘EU Firearms Directive’ – the 2007 Legislative Resolution on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons of the European Parliament72 73

European Union Export Reporting

Under the European Union Common Position on Arms Exports, Latvia is bound to declare its transfers of military technology and equipment. Independent monitoring provides detailed comparisons of arms export reporting compliance across EU member states, and records that Latvia has yet to submit a national report74 on its arms transfers

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 signed75 by Latvia.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified76 by Latvia

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 ratified77 by Latvia

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Latvia 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 Aspects78

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Latvia has submitted one or more national reports79 32 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Latvia, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated80 32

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Latvia, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated80

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated32 by Latvia to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Latvia has declared81 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Latvia has been a Member State of the United Nations since 199182

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists83 Latvia as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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