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North Korea — 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 North Korea is 130,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in North Korea is 0.61 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, North Korea ranked at No. 1292

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, North Korea ranked at No. 1641

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of North Korea are reported to have 6,200,0003 4 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in North Korea are reported to have 245,0005 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

In North Korea, annual homicides by any means total 2008: 3,6586

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

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

2008: 15.26
2004: 18.907
2002: 19.50

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from North Korea is reported by Customs to be US$1598 (2011)9

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, North Korea is categorized as 'unknown'10

Regulation of Firearm Imports

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to North Korea is reported by Customs to be US$6008 (2011)

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, North Korea was ranked at No. 5211

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in North Korea includes the Firearms Control Act of 200912

Right to Possess Firearms

In North Korea, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law13

Gun Ownership and Possession

In North Korea, no civilians12 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

MeasuresInternational Controls

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 200814 by North Korea.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed15 by North Korea

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has not been signed16 by North Korea

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, North Korea 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 Aspects17

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, North Korea has yet to submit a national report18 19 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided19 to North Korea by other UN Member States

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, North Korea has been a Member State of the United Nations since 199120

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list21 North Korea as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

1.

Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms - Annexe online.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q5)Full Citation

2.

Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q4)Full Citation

3.

Karp, Aaron.2013.‘Table 4: Twenty Largest Military Small Arms Inventories.’ Armed Actors - Data Sources and the Estimation of Military-Owned Small Arms.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 September. (Q8186)Full Citation

4.

Karp, Aaron.2006.‘Trickle and Torrent: State stockpiles.’ Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q6)Full Citation

5.

Karp, Aaron.2012.‘Table 1 - Estimated Law Enforcement Firearms in 20 Selected Countries.’ Armed Actors - Estimating Law Enforcement Firearms.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 December. (Q6544)Full Citation

6.

UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - North Korea.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6320)Full Citation

7.

Petrini, Benjamin.2011.‘East Asia and the Pacific, 1995-2008, Total Recorded Intentional Homicide, Completed, Rate per 100,000 Population.’ World Bank Homicide Rate Dataset 1995-2008.Washington DC:Social Development Department, World Bank,10 February. (Q3814)Full Citation

8.

Marsh, Nicholas.2013.‘Database of Authorised Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons.’ NISAT Small Arms Trade Database.Oslo:Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers,14 February. (Q16)Full Citation

9.

Pavesi, Irene and Christelle Rigual.2013.‘Annexes 8.1: Major Exporters.’ Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,2 July. (Q8485)Full Citation

10.

Small Arms Survey.2001.‘60 Known Legal Small Arms Exporting Countries, 2001.’ Small Arms Survey 2001: Profiling the Problem.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q867)Full Citation

11.

Pavesi, Irene and Christelle Rigual.2013.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2013.’ Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,2 July. (Q6871)Full Citation

12.

Korea Times / Yonhap. 2012. ‘N. Korea Enacts Rules on Regulating Firearms.’ 6 August. (N335) Full Citation

13.

Sherman, Amy and Tom Ginsburg.2014.‘Gun Rights in National Constitutions.’ Marco Rubio Says Second Amendment Is Unique in Speech to NRA.Miami FL:Miami Herald (PolitiFact Florida),29 April. (Q8507)Full Citation

14.

GDAV.2006.‘Geneva Declaration.’ Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development.Geneva:Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development Secretariat,7 June. (Q7162)Full Citation

15.

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

16.

UNGA.2001.‘United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.’ UN General Assembly Resolution 55/255.New York:UN General Assembly,31 May. (Q17)Full Citation

17.

UNGA.2001.‘Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.’ United Nations General Assembly.New York:UN General Assembly,20 July. (Q18)Full Citation

18.

Cattaneo, Silvia and Sarah Parker.2008.‘Reporting, NPCs and NCAs, 2002 to 2008.’ Implementing the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons: Analysis of the National Reports submitted by States from 2002 to 2008.Geneva:United Nations Development Programme,1 November. (Q20)Full Citation

19.

UNODA.2009.‘PoA-ISS Country Profiles.’ UN small arms Programme of Action (UNPoA) – Implementation Support System.New York:United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs,29 October. (Q1309)Full Citation

20.

UN.2013.‘Member States of the United Nations.’ UN.org Web Site.New York:United Nations General Assembly,7 April. (Q290)Full Citation

21.

Wassenaar Arrangement.1996.‘Introduction: Participating States.’ Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.Vienna:Wassenaar Secretariat,12 July. (Q19)Full Citation