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Netherlands — 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 the Netherlands is 510,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in the Netherlands is 3.91 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, the Netherlands ranked at No. 782

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, the Netherlands ranked at No. 1121

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in the Netherlands is reported to be 330,0002

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in the Netherlands is 2.013

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of the Netherlands are reported to have 691,0854 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in the Netherlands are reported to have 59,1175 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

In the Netherlands, annual deaths resulting from firearms total 2010: 766

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

In the Netherlands, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is 2010: 0.466

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual homicides by any means total

2010: 1447
2009: 154
2008: 150
2007: 143
2006: 128
2005: 174
2004: 191
2003: 202
2002: 195
2001: 202
2000: 180
1999: 203
1998: 176
1997: 2087 8
1996: 211
1995: 299

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

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

2010: 0.97
2009: 0.9
2008: 0.9
2007: 0.9
2006: 0.8
2005: 1.1
2004: 1.2
2003: 1.2
2002: 1.2
2001: 1.3
2000: 1.1
1999: 1.3
1998: 1.1
1997: 1.37 8
1996: 1.4
1995: 1.9

Gun Homicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual firearm homicides total

2010: 339
2009: 557 9
2008: 52
2007: 47
2006: 43
2005: 64
2004: 67
2003: 569
2002: 63
2001: 69
2000: 66
1999: 75
1998: 58
1997: 63
1996: 71

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.29
2009: 0.37 9
2008: 0.3
2007: 0.3
2006: 0.3
2005: 0.4
2004: 0.4
2003: 0.359
2002: 0.39
2001: 0.43
2000: 0.41
1999: 0.47
1998: 0.37
1997: 0.4
1996: 0.46
1994: 0.3610

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual handgun homicides total

2010: 19
2009: 2
2008: 1
2007: 2
2006: 1
2005: 5
2004: 4
2003: 5
2002: 3
2001: 1
2000: 1
1999: 2
1998: 3
1997: 4
1996: 3

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.019
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.03
2004: 0.02
2003: 0.03
2002: 0.02
2001: 0.01
2000: 0.01
1999: 0.01
1998: 0.02
1997: 0.03
1996: 0.02

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual long gun homicides total

2010: 19
2009: 1
2008: 1
2003: 2
2002: 1
2000: 1
1998: 1
1997: 1

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.019
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.01
2000: 0.01
1998: 0.01
1997: 0.01

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual gun homicides (other) total

2010: 319
2009: 38
2008: 35
2007: 37
2006: 30
2005: 49
2004: 49
2003: 49
2002: 59
2001: 68
2000: 64
1999: 73
1998: 54
1997: 58
1996: 68

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

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

2010: 0.199
2009: 0.23
2008: 0.21
2007: 0.23
2006: 0.18
2005: 0.30
2004: 0.30
2003: 0.30
2002: 0.37
2001: 0.42
2000: 0.40
1999: 0.46
1998: 0.34
1997: 0.37
1996: 0.44

Suicides (any method)

In the Netherlands, annual suicides by any means total 1999: 1,51711

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

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

1999: 9.3911
1994: 10.3012

Gun Suicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual firearm suicides total

2010: 4013
2009: 52
2008: 40
2007: 42
2006: 50
2005: 49
2004: 45
2003: 46
2002: 39
2001: 43
2000: 47
1999: 51
1998: 53
1997: 50
1996: 55

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.2413
2009: 0.32
2008: 0.24
2007: 0.26
2006: 0.31
2005: 0.3
2004: 0.28
2003: 0.28
2002: 0.24
2001: 0.27
2000: 0.3
1999: 0.32
1998: 0.34
1997: 0.32
1996: 0.35
1994: 0.3114

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual handgun suicides total

2010: 113
2009: 7
2008: 6
2007: 3
2006: 9
2005: 19
2004: 11
2003: 8
2002: 11
2001: 6
2000: 12
1999: 6
1998: 9
1997: 15
1996: 8

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.0113
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.04
2007: 0.02
2006: 0.06
2005: 0.12
2004: 0.07
2003: 0.05
2002: 0.07
2001: 0.04
2000: 0.08
1999: 0.04
1998: 0.06
1997: 0.10
1996: 0.05

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, the number of long gun suicides is

2010: 313
2009: 6
2008: 3
2007: 3
2006: 5
2005: 6
2004: 6
2003: 9
2002: 3
2000: 1
1999: 5
1998: 3
1997: 2
1996: 7

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.0213
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.02
2006: 0.03
2005: 0.04
2004: 0.04
2003: 0.06
2002: 0.02
2000: 0.01
1999: 0.03
1998: 0.02
1997: 0.01
1996: 0.05

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual gun suicides (other) total

2010: 3613
2009: 39
2008: 31
2007: 36
2006: 36
2005: 24
2004: 28
2003: 29
2002: 25
2001: 37
2000: 34
1999: 40
1998: 41
1997: 33
1996: 40

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

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

2010: 0.2213
2009: 0.24
2008: 0.19
2007: 0.22
2006: 0.22
2005: 0.15
2004: 0.17
2003: 0.18
2002: 0.15
2001: 0.23
2000: 0.21
1999: 0.25
1998: 0.26
1997: 0.21
1996: 0.26

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2010: 115
2004: 2
2003: 1
2002: 3
2001: 1
2000: 2
1999: 5
1998: 3
1997: 3
1996: 1

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.0115
2004: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.02
2001: 0.01
2000: 0.01
1999: 0.03
1998: 0.02
1997: 0.02
1996: 0.01
1994: 0.0116

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2002: 215
2001: 1
1999: 1
1997: 1
1996: 1

Rate of Unintentional Handgun Death per 100,000 People

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

2002: 0.0115
2001: 0.01
1999: 0.01
1997: 0.01
1996: 0.01

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2010: 115
2002: 1

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.0115
2002: 0.01

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

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

2004: 215
2003: 1
2000: 2
1999: 4
1998: 3
1997: 2

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

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

2004: 0.0115
2003: 0.01
2000: 0.01
1999: 0.03
1998: 0.02
1997: 0.01

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2010: 217
2008: 1
2007: 1
2006: 1
2005: 1
2003: 1
2001: 1
1999: 011
1998: 117
1997: 2
1996: 1

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

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

2010: 0.0117
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2001: 0.01
1999: 0.0011
1998: 0.0117
1997: 0.01
1996: 0.01
1994: 0.0318

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2010: 117
2006: 1
1997: 1

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

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

2010: 0.0117
2006: 0.01
1997: 0.01

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

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

2010: 117
2008: 1
2007: 1
2005: 1
2003: 1
2001: 1
1998: 1
1997: 1
1996: 1

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

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

2010: 0.0117
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2005: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2001: 0.01
1998: 0.01
1997: 0.01
1996: 0.01

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In the Netherlands, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is prohibited19 20

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, the Netherlands is ranked 'small'21

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In the Netherlands, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from the Netherlands is reported by Customs to be US$2,094,12231 (2011)

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, the Netherlands is categorized as 'minor'32

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In the Netherlands, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law33 23 24 26 27 28 29

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to the Netherlands is reported by Customs to be US$55,279,28531 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in the Netherlands is moderate34

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In the Netherlands, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law35 36 37

Transparency of Small Arms Transfers

In the most recent survey of state transparency in declaring firearm and ammunition exports among major small arms exporting nations, the Netherlands was ranked at No. 538

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in the Netherlands is categorised as restrictive39

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in the Netherlands includes the Wet Wapens en Munitie 1997 [Arms and Ammunition Act],40 41 the Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons,42 43 the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012 and the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 200344

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in the Netherlands are regulated by the Ministry of Justice and the local Commissioner of Police,45 and the European Commission43

Right to Possess Firearms

In the Netherlands, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law46

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In the Netherlands, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic and 'Category II' firearms, incendiary and armour-piercing ammunition47 48 49 50 51

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In the Netherlands, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited48 47 52 50 51

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In the Netherlands, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited48 47 52 53 54 51

Regulation of Handguns

In the Netherlands, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence48 50 53 54 51

Gun Ownership and Possession

In the Netherlands, only licensed gun owners47 55 56 50 53 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in the Netherlands are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, hunting, sports shooting, collection55 57 47 58

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in the Netherlands is 18 years55 47 58

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in the Netherlands must pass a background check which considers criminal55 58 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In the Netherlands, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required46

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in the Netherlands does not stipulate46 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In the Netherlands, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required46 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In the Netherlands gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one year55

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in the Netherlands are permitted to possess any number of firearms46

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in the Netherlands are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition46 59

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In the Netherlands, the law requires60 61 62 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 the Netherlands, licensed firearm dealers are required62 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In the Netherlands, State agencies are required61 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 the Netherlands, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited20

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In the Netherlands, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful20 63 64 54

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In the Netherlands, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined46

Regulation of Gun Shows

In the Netherlands, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated46 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in the Netherlands do not include46 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 the Netherlands do not include46 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in the Netherlands include65 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in the Netherlands include66 67 65 24 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In the Netherlands, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law68 69 70

Firearm Tracing

In the Netherlands, state authorities carry out71 70 62 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In the Netherlands, state authorities do not employ46 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In the Netherlands, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited72

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In the Netherlands, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited72

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In the Netherlands, the maximum penalty for illicit firearm possession is no more than 9 months prison or a fine73

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in the Netherlands are known to have74 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Small Arms Destroyed

In the Netherlands, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 143,63274

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In the Netherlands, it is state policy75 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, the Netherlands are 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 Parliament76 77

European Union Export Reporting

Under the European Union Common Position on Arms Exports, the Netherlands 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 the Netherlands have submitted one or more national reports78 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 signed in 200679 by the Netherlands.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified80 by the Netherlands

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 ratified81 by the Netherlands

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, the Netherlands 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 Aspects82

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, the Netherlands have submitted one or more national reports83 84 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In the Netherlands, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated85 84

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In the Netherlands, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated85

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of the Netherlands submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent85 86 84

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated84 by the Netherlands to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, the Netherlands have declared87 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, the Netherlands have been a Member State of the United Nations since 194588

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists89 the Netherlands as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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