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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 3

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. 934

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

2014: 250,1333
2010: 288,8875
2006: 90,1336 7
2002: 70,0005

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Nicaragua is

2014: 4.288
2010: 5.15
2006: 1.636 8
2002: 1.398

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Nicaragua there are estimated to be

2014: 160,0003

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Nicaragua there are estimated to be

2014: 2.748 illicit firearms per 100 people

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Nicaragua are reported to have 425,0009 10 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Nicaragua are reported to have 8,5009 11 5 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2010: 23212
2002: 23213

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2010: 4.148
2002: 4.61

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 44114 15
2011: 51214 15 16 17 18
2010: 52614 15 16 17
2009: 564
2008: 51214 15 16 17 19
2007: 486
2006: 499
2005: 497
2004: 432
2003: 423
2002: 337
2001: 360
2000: 291
1999: 56116
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: 11.014 15
2011: 12.014 15 16 17 18
2010: 13.014 15 16 17
2009: 13.0
2008: 13.014 15 16 17 19 20
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: 11.216 20
1998: 13.0
1997: 14.1
1996: 14.0
1995: 15.2

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual firearm homicides total

2012: 21314
2010: 40815
2009: 33821
2008: 33816 21
2007: 259
2002: 15713

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2012: 3.728
2010: 7.28
2009: 5.921
2008: 5.916 21
2007: 4.616 21 19
2002: 2.8713

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2012: 48%14
2011: 48%18
2010: 52%15
2008: 42.1%16
2007: 35.2%

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual suicides by any means total

2009: 64922
2008: 65722 23
2007: 632
2006: 641
2005: 63322
2004: 78622 23
2003: 803
2002: 75622
2001: 73522 23
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: 11.322
2008: 11.622 8
2007: 11.3
2006: 11.6
2005: 11.622
2004: 14.622 8
2003: 15.1
2002: 14.422 13
2001: 14.222 8
2000: 15.0

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual firearm suicides total

2010: 1912
2002: 2513

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.348
2002: 0.4613

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Nicaragua, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2010: 912
2002: 5013

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2010: 0.168
2002: 0.9113

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2010: 2612
2001: 113

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: 0.468
2001: 0.0213

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,24 25 26 27 28 29 30 but is not conducted in practice31 32

Home-made Guns

In Nicaragua, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be high33

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Nicaragua, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 32 44

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Nicaragua is reported by Customs to be US$4,00045 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Nicaragua, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law34 35 36 37 38 46 39 40 47 42 48 43 49 50 32 44

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Nicaragua is reported by Customs to be US$631,29945 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Nicaragua is high51

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Nicaragua, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law52 53 54 55 56 57 58 32 44

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Nicaragua include59 36 38 60 41 47 61 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 restrictive62

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Nicaragua includes the Firearms Act No. 510 of 200563 and its regulation, Decree No. 28 of 200564

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)65 66 67 68

Right to Possess Firearms

In Nicaragua, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law69 70

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,71 any type of automatic firearms, firearms for the exclusive use of the Army and National Police, and firearms disguised as everyday objects72 73

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Nicaragua, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited73 74 18

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Nicaragua, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence73 74

Regulation of Handguns

In Nicaragua, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence73 74 18

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Nicaragua, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law73 74 18

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Nicaragua, only licensed gun owners75 76 24 77 78 79 80 81 32 18 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 collection73 24

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Nicaragua is 21 years82 83 with only narrow exemptions84 85

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Nicaragua must pass a background check which considers criminal, health and mental health82 83 77 86 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Nicaragua, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required86

Firearm Safety Training

In Nicaragua, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course may be required82 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Nicaragua, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every five years87

Licensing Records

In Nicaragua, authorities maintain a record75 77 88 55 89 90 91 32 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Nicaragua, the law requires91 67 88 89 92 93 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 required94 95 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 required28 29 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Nicaragua, State agencies are required93 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 permitted77

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Nicaragua, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful96 24 97 98 99 32 100

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Nicaragua include101 102 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 include26 102 28 103 30 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 include104 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Nicaragua include38 105 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 law106 107 34 108 109 50 49 110 32

Firearm Tracing

In Nicaragua, state authorities carry out89 91 111 112 93 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 law79 113 18

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Nicaragua, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited114

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Nicaragua, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit79 114

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 kind113

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Nicaragua, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm115 is six to 12 months in prison and a fine116 99

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Nicaragua are known to have117 118 119 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): 17,883120

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

ChartIn Nicaragua, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2012: 5,031117 121
2008-13: 19,000122 123
2006-08: 40,402118
2004: 434119
1990-2000: 64,000124

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2006/08: 12,996118 123
1991/93: 142,000125

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Nicaragua, it is state policy126 127 128 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 Material129

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 ratified130 131 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 2009132 by Nicaragua.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed133 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 ratified134 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 Aspects135

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. 13136 137 138 139 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 reports140 141 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 designated142 141

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Nicaragua, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated142 141

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 apparent142 141

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated141 by Nicaragua to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided141 to Nicaragua by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Nicaragua has not declared143 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 1945144

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list145 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


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Nicaragua.2004.‘Export and Import Licence (Licencia de exportación e importación).’ 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. (Q10741)Full Citation

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Nicaragua.2004.‘Authorisation Certificate (Certificado de autorización).’ 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. (Q10744)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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