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Armed Violence and Guns in Micronesia

Of all the island groups in the South West Pacific, Micronesia is the least armed, and the least affected by gun violence. Of its seven states and territories only Kiribati,1 2 Guam,3 4 Marshall Islands,5 6 and the Northern Mariana Islands7 permit civilian possession of firearms. The nation of Kiribati reports just eight privately held guns,8 or one per 11,500 citizens.9 Nauru,10 Palau,11 and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)12 all prohibit the private ownership of firearms — at least in law.10

Generally, gun ownership in Micronesia is limited to .22 calibre hunting rifles and single-action shotguns needed to control pests and wild animals, such as pigs and sharks.13 10 2 Only Guam, a territory of the United States, permits civilian ownership of pistols and revolvers.4

Of Micronesia’s five UN member states, only the Marshall Islands is active in the United Nations small arms Programme of Action (UNPoA).14 15 16 17 In 2009, three of the five Micronesian nations with a seat at the UN — Marshall Islands, Micronesia (FSM) and Palau — voted to begin negotiations towards an international Arms Trade Treaty.18 Kiribati, Nauru, and Palau are the only three countries of this region to have signed, but not yet ratified, the Treaty.19

For information on armed violence and gun control laws in each country and territory of Micronesia, please use the search tools in the left hand column.

Short References

1.

Capie, David.2003.‘Legislation and enforcement: Good character.’ Under the Gun: The small arms challenge in the Pacific.Wellington:Victoria University Press,1 January. (Q319)Full Citation

2.

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford.2003.‘Pacific Small Arms Legislation: Civilian firearm ownership and prohibitions in the Pacific.’ Small Arms in the Pacific.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,31 March. (Q321)Full Citation

3.

Guam.2003.‘Identification Card - Possession.’ Public Law 27-61, Title 10, Chapter 60 - Firearms.Hagatna:Guam Legislature,22 December. (Q748)Full Citation

4.

Guam.2003.‘Ownership, Etc., Permitted.’ Public Law 27-61, Title 10, Chapter 60 - Firearms.Hagatna:Guam Legislature,22 December. (Q753)Full Citation

5.

Marshall Islands.1971.‘Licensing Regulations.’ Weapons Control Act (1971), Revised 2004.Majuro:Nitijela,1 January. (Q902)Full Citation

6.

Micronesia (FSM).1981.‘Surrender of Weapons.’ Weapons Prohibition Act (1981).Palikir:Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia,31 December. (Q1948)Full Citation

7.

CNMI.2003.‘Identification Cards.’ Division 2 Contraband Offences: Chapter 2 Weapons Control: Article 1 Weapons Control Act.Saipan:Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,5 December. (Q776)Full Citation

8.

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford.2003.‘Civilian Firearm Ownership in Pacific Nations, 2002.’ Small Arms in the Pacific.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,31 March. (Q316)Full Citation

9.

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford.2003.‘Civilian Firearm Ownership in Pacific Nations, 2002.’ Small Arms in the Pacific.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,31 March. (Q1920)Full Citation

10.

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford.2003.‘Pacific Small Arms Legislation: Domestic and regional issues.’ Small Arms in the Pacific.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,31 March. (Q291)Full Citation

11.

Palau.1979.‘Right to Bear Arms.’ Constitution of the Republic of Palau 1979.Koror:National Congress,2 April. (Q922)Full Citation

12.

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford.2003.‘Stockpiles and Trafficking in the Pacific.’ Small Arms in the Pacific.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,31 March. (Q314)Full Citation

13.

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford.2003.‘Genuine Reason: A Snapshot of Pacific Definitions - Kiribati.’ Small Arms in the Pacific.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,31 March. (Q1370)Full Citation

14.

Parker, Sarah and Katherine Green.2012.‘Findings - Table 3: Reporting States by Rank and Score.’ The Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (Phase 1): Assessing Reported Progress.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 August. (Q8752)Full Citation

15.

Parker, Sarah and Katherine Green.2012.‘What do the PoAIM Scores Represent? How Should the PoAIM Scores Be Interpreted?.’ The Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (Phase 1): Assessing Reported Progress.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 August. (Q8753)Full Citation

16.

Parker, Sarah and Katherine Green.2012.‘Point Allocation System.’ The Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (Phase 1): Assessing Reported Progress.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 August. (Q8754)Full Citation

17.

Parker, Sarah and Katherine Green.2012.‘Introduction.’ The Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (Phase 1): Assessing Reported Progress.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 August. (Q8755)Full Citation

18.

UNGA.2009.‘Towards an Arms Trade Treaty: Establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.’ UN Resolution A/RES/64/48.New York, NY:United Nations General Assembly,2 June. (Q1886)Full Citation

19.

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