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Nicaragua — 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 Nicaragua is 450,0001 2

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Nicaragua is 7.81 2 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Nicaragua ranked at No. 933

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Nicaragua ranked at No. 772

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Nicaragua is reported to be

2010: 288,8874
2006: 90,1335 6
2002: 70,0004

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Nicaragua is

2010: 5.157
2006: 1.635 7
2002: 1.397

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Nicaragua are reported to have 425,0008 9 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Nicaragua are reported to have 8,5008 10 4 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2010: 23211
2002: 23212

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn Nicaragua, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2010: 4.147
2002: 4.61

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 44113 14
2011: 51213 14 15 16 17
2010: 52613 14 15 16
2009: 564
2008: 51213 14 15 16 18
2007: 486
2006: 499
2005: 497
2004: 432
2003: 423
2002: 337
2001: 360
2000: 291
1999: 56115
1998: 639
1997: 679
1996: 662
1995: 707

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

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

2012: 11.013 14
2011: 12.013 14 15 16 17
2010: 13.013 14 15 16
2009: 13.0
2008: 13.013 14 15 16 18 19
2007: 13.0
2006: 14.0
2005: 13.0
2004: 12.0
2003: 12.0
2002: 10.0
2001: 10.0
2000: 9.0
1999: 11.215 19
1998: 13.0
1997: 14.1
1996: 14.0
1995: 15.2

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual firearm homicides total

2012: 21313
2010: 40814
2009: 33820
2008: 33815 20
2007: 259
2002: 15712

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2012: 3.727
2010: 7.28
2009: 5.920
2008: 5.915 20
2007: 4.615 20 18
2002: 2.8712

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

ChartIn Nicaragua, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2012: 48%13
2011: 48%17
2010: 52%14
2008: 42.1%15
2007: 35.2%

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual suicides by any means total

2009: 64921
2008: 65721 22
2007: 632
2006: 641
2005: 63321
2004: 78621 22
2003: 803
2002: 75621
2001: 73521 22
2000: 765

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

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

2009: 11.321
2008: 11.621 7
2007: 11.3
2006: 11.6
2005: 11.621
2004: 14.621 7
2003: 15.1
2002: 14.421 12
2001: 14.221 7
2000: 15.0

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual firearm suicides total

2010: 1911
2002: 2512

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.347
2002: 0.4612

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2010: 911
2002: 5012

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.167
2002: 0.9112

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2010: 2611
2001: 112

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

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

2010: 0.467
2001: 0.0212

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Nicaragua, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence,23 24 25 26 27 28 29 but is not conducted in practice30 31

Home-made Guns

In Nicaragua, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be high32

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Nicaragua, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 31 43

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Nicaragua is reported by Customs to be US$4,00044 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Nicaragua, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law33 34 35 36 37 45 38 39 46 41 47 42 48 49 31 43

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Nicaragua is reported by Customs to be US$631,29944 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Nicaragua, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law50 51 52 53 54 55 56 31 43

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Nicaragua include57 35 37 58 40 46 59 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 Nicaragua is categorised as restrictive60

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Nicaragua includes the Firearms Act No. 510 of 200561 and its regulation, Decree No. 28 of 200562

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Nicaragua are regulated by the National Police, through the Office for the Registration and Control of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials (DAEM)63 64 65 66

Right to Possess Firearms

In Nicaragua, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law67 68

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Nicaragua, civilians are not allowed to possess weapons of mass destruction, as well as banned weapons covered by international conventions,69 any type of automatic firearms, firearms for the exclusive use of the Army and National Police, and firearms disguised as everyday objects70 71

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Nicaragua, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited71 72 17

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Nicaragua, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence71 72

Regulation of Handguns

In Nicaragua, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence71 72 17

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Nicaragua, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law71 72 17

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Nicaragua, only licensed gun owners73 74 23 75 76 77 78 79 31 17 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Nicaragua are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example self-defence, sports, hunting and collection71 23

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Nicaragua is 21 years80 81 with only narrow exemptions82 83

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Nicaragua must pass a background check which considers criminal, health, and mental80 81 75 84 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Nicaragua, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required84

Firearm Safety Training

In Nicaragua, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course may be required80 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Nicaragua, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every five years85

Licensing Records

In Nicaragua, authorities maintain a record73 75 86 53 87 88 89 31 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Nicaragua, the law requires89 65 86 87 90 91 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 Nicaragua, licensed firearm dealers are required92 93 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Nicaragua, licensed gun makers are required27 28 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Nicaragua, State agencies are required91 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 Nicaragua, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted75

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Nicaragua, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful94 23 95 96 97 31 98

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Nicaragua include99 100 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 Nicaragua include25 100 27 101 29 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Nicaragua include102 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Nicaragua include37 103 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Nicaragua, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law104 105 33 106 107 49 48 108 31

Firearm Tracing

In Nicaragua, state authorities carry out87 89 109 110 91 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Nicaragua, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law77 111 17

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Nicaragua, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited112

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Nicaragua, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit77 112

Gun Free Zones

In Nicaragua, private guns are prohibited in recreational centres, sports centres or facilities not intended for shooting practice, religious temples, theatres, cinemas, bars, restaurants, parks, fairs and similar sites, state and municipal facilities, public or private hospitals, educational establishments, universities, public or private demonstrations, acts, assemblies, gatherings, or meetings, socio-cultural activities, popular festivals and celebrations of any kind111

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Nicaragua, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm113 is 6 to 12 months prison and a fine114 97

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Nicaragua are known to have115 116 117 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Surrendered in Gun Amnesty

In Nicaragua, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be

1989/2002 (with Honduras): 17,883118

Firearms Collected and Seized

ChartIn Nicaragua, firearms voluntarily surrendered for destruction, collected or seized in routine policing are reported to number

2012: 5,031115 119
2008-13: 19,000120
2006-08: 40,402116
2004: 434117
1990-2000: 64,000121

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2006-08: 12,996116

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Nicaragua, it is state policy122 123 124 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Central American Integration System

As a member of the Central American Integration System (SICA), Nicaragua is party to the 2007 Central American Programme on Small Arms Control and the Code of Conduct of Central American States on the Transfer of Arms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Material125

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Nicaragua adopted the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives, Ammunition and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), a legally binding multilateral treaty of which the OAS is depository. The CIFTA Convention has since been signed and ratified126 127 by Nicaragua

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 2009128 by Nicaragua.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed129 by Nicaragua

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 ratified130 by Nicaragua

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Nicaragua 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 Aspects131

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Nicaragua against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 13132 133 134 135 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Nicaragua has submitted one or more national reports136 137 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Nicaragua, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated138 137

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Nicaragua, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated138 137

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Nicaragua submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was not apparent138 137

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated137 by Nicaragua to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided137 to Nicaragua by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Nicaragua has not declared139 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Nicaragua has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945140

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list141 Nicaragua as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

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Nicaragua.2004.‘Armouries and their Function (Armerías y su funcionamiento).’ Act No. 510 on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Ley Nº 510 sobre el Control y Regulación de Armas de Fuego, Municiones, Explosivos y Otros Materiales Relacionados).Managua:National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua,18 November. (Q10736)Full Citation

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Nicaragua.2004.‘Identification of Batches of Firearms and Ammunition (Identificación de lotes de armas y municiones).’ Act No. 510 on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Ley Nº 510 sobre el Control y Regulación de Armas de Fuego, Municiones, Explosivos y Otros Materiales Relacionados).Managua:National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua,18 November. (Q10745)Full Citation

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Nicaragua.2004.‘Transit of Firearm and Ammunition Batches (Tránsito de lotes de armas y municiones).’ Act No. 510 on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Ley Nº 510 sobre el Control y Regulación de Armas de Fuego, Municiones, Explosivos y Otros Materiales Relacionados).Managua:National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua,18 November. (Q10746)Full Citation

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Nicaragua.2005.‘Special Certificate for Firearm Stocks (Certificado Especial para Lotes de Armas).’ Decree No. 28-2005, Regulation to the Special Act on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials.Managua:Official Gazette of the Republic of Nicaragua,21 April. (Q10870)Full Citation

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Nicaragua.2005.‘Mandatory Inspection of Firearms and Explosives (Inspección Obligatoria de Armas y Explosivos).’ Decree No. 28-2005, Regulation to the Special Act on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials.Managua:Official Gazette of the Republic of Nicaragua,21 April. (Q10878)Full Citation

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Nicaragua.2012.‘International Transfers - Record Keeping.’ National Report of Nicaragua on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI).New York, NY:Permanent Mission of Nicaragua to the United Nations,1 January. (Q11059)Full Citation

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Nicaragua.2004.‘Firearms for Civil Use (Armas de uso civil).’ Act No. 510 on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Ley Nº 510 sobre el Control y Regulación de Armas de Fuego, Municiones, Explosivos y Otros Materiales Relacionados).Managua:National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua,18 November. (Q10716)Full Citation

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Nicaragua.2004.‘Classification of Firearms for Self Defence and Protection Objectives (Clasificación de armas de defensa personal y protección de objetivos).’ Act No. 510 on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Ley Nº 510 sobre el Control y Regulación de Armas de Fuego, Municiones, Explosivos y Otros Materiales Relacionados).Managua:National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua,18 November. (Q10717)Full Citation

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Nicaragua.2004.‘Prevention to Acquire, Possess or Carry Firearms for Civilian Use (Imposibilitados para adquirir, tener o portar armas de fuego de uso civil).’ Act No. 510 on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Ley Nº 510 sobre el Control y Regulación de Armas de Fuego, Municiones, Explosivos y Otros Materiales Relacionados).Managua:National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua,18 November. (Q10721)Full Citation

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Nicaragua.2004.‘Duration and Renewal (Vigencia y renovación).’ Act No. 510 on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Ley Nº 510 sobre el Control y Regulación de Armas de Fuego, Municiones, Explosivos y Otros Materiales Relacionados).Managua:National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua,18 November. (Q10728)Full Citation

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