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Northern Ireland — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

For combined British figures and legislation, see 'United Kingdom'

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Northern Ireland is 380,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Northern Ireland is 21.91 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In Northern Ireland, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 18,2502

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In Northern Ireland, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 80,2582

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In Northern Ireland, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 13,9352

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Northern Ireland ranked at No. 943

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Northern Ireland ranked at No. 251

Proportion of Households with Firearms

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2004/05: 12.7%4
1989: 9.4%

Proportion of Households with Handguns

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the percentage of households with one or more handguns is reported to be

2004/05: 2.1%4
1989: 1.5%

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in Northern Ireland is reported to be 61,5655 6

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Northern Ireland is 3.417

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in Northern Ireland is reported to be 141,3938 6

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Northern Ireland is 7.837

Government Guns

Routine Arming of Police

In Northern Ireland, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms9 10 11

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Northern Ireland are reported to have 7,01812 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2011: 913
2010: 1514
2009: 1315
2008: 3016
2007: 1917
2006: 2018
2005: 2319
2004: 2420
2003: 1921
2002: 1822
2001: 1023
2000: 5224
1999: 2825
1998: 2926
1997: 3327
1996: 5228
1995: 11829

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.507
2010: 0.83
2009: 0.72
2008: 1.69
2007: 1.08
2006: 1.15
2005: 1.33
2004: 1.40
2003: 1.11
2002: 1.06
2001: 0.59
2000: 3.08
1999: 1.66
1998: 1.73
1997: 1.97
1996: 3.11
1995: 7.10

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual homicides by any means total

2011/12: 2330 31
2010/11: 28
2009/10: 22
2008/09: 26
2007/08: 30
2006/07: 24
2005/06: 29
2004/05: 41
2003/04: 33
2002/03: 45
2001/02: 52
2000/01: 48
1999/00: 3430 32 31
1998/99: 75
1997: 4932 31
1996: 39
1995: 24

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

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

2011: 1.277 31
2010: 1.55
2009: 1.23
2008: 1.46
2007: 1.70
2006: 1.38
2005: 1.68
2004: 2.39
2003: 1.94
2002: 2.65
2001: 3.08
2000: 2.84
1999: 2.02
1998: 4.47
1997: 2.92
1996: 2.33
1995: 1.44
1994: 6.0933

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual firearm homicides total

2011: 413
2010: 214
2009: 515 31
2008: 1216 31
2007: 817 31
2006: 818 31
2005: 1119 31
2004: 1220 31
2003: 921 31
2002: 322 34
2001: 223
2000: 3824
1999: 1525
1998: 1526
1997: 1227
1996: 3328
1995: 9429

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.2213
2010: 0.1114
2009: 0.2815 31
2008: 0.6716 31
2007: 0.4517 31
2006: 0.4618 31
2005: 0.6419 31
2004: 0.7020 31
2003: 0.5321 31
2002: 0.1822 34
2001: 0.1223
2000: 2.2524
1999: 0.8925
1998: 0.8926
1997: 0.7227
1996: 1.9728
1995: 5.6629
1994: 5.2435

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2011: 22%36
2010: 13%
2009: 17%
2008: 4%
2007: 14%
2006: 0%
2005: 23%
2004: 14.6%31
2003: 36.4%

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual handgun homicides total

2008: 316
2007: 217
2006: 218
2005: 319
2004: 220
2003: 321
2001: 123

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2008: 0.1716
2007: 0.1117
2006: 0.1118
2005: 0.1719
2004: 0.1220
2003: 0.1821
2001: 0.0623

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual long gun homicides total

2009: 215
2008: 116
2007: 117
2006: 118
2005: 219
2004: 320
2001: 123

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2009: 0.1115
2008: 0.0616
2007: 0.0617
2006: 0.0618
2005: 0.1219
2004: 0.1820
2001: 0.0623

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual gun homicides (other) total

2011: 413
2010: 214
2009: 315
2008: 816
2007: 517
2006: 518
2005: 619
2004: 720
2003: 621
2002: 322

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

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

2011: 0.2213
2010: 0.1114
2009: 0.1715
2008: 0.4516
2007: 0.2817
2006: 0.2918
2005: 0.3519
2004: 0.4120
2003: 0.3521
2002: 0.1822

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual suicides by any means total

2012: 27837
2011: 289
2010: 313
2009: 260
2008: 282
2007: 242
2006: 291
2005: 213
2004: 146
2003: 144
2002: 183
2001: 158
2000: 185
1999: 154
1998: 150
1997: 138
1996: 143
1995: 146

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

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

2012: 15.247
2011: 15.93
2010: 17.34
2009: 14.50
2008: 15.85
2007: 13.74
2006: 16.69
2005: 12.33
2004: 8.52
2003: 8.45
2002: 10.78
2001: 9.36
2000: 10.95
1999: 9.15
1998: 8.93
1997: 8.23
1996: 8.56
1995: 8.79
1994: 8.4138

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual firearm suicides total

2011: 413
2010: 1314
2009: 715
2008: 1816
2007: 1017
2006: 1118
2005: 1219
2004: 1220
2003: 821
2002: 1522
2001: 723
2000: 1324
1999: 1125
1998: 1226
1997: 2127
1996: 1528
1995: 1629
1990: 2339
1985: 19
1980: 10

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.2213
2010: 0.7214
2009: 0.3915
2008: 1.0116
2007: 0.5717
2006: 0.6318
2005: 0.6919
2004: 0.7020
2003: 0.4721
2002: 0.8822
2001: 0.4123
2000: 0.7724
1999: 0.6525
1998: 0.7126
1997: 1.2527
1996: 0.9028
1995: 0.9629
1994: 1.3440
1990: 1.437
1985: 1.21
1980: 0.65

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual handgun suicides total

2011: 113
2008: 116
2006: 118
2005: 119
2003: 121
2002: 222

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.0613
2008: 0.0616
2006: 0.0618
2005: 0.0619
2003: 0.0621
2002: 0.1222

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the number of long gun suicides is

2011: 113
2010: 914
2009: 515
2008: 1116
2007: 517
2006: 618
2005: 819
2004: 520
2003: 421
2002: 622
2001: 423

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2011: 0.0613
2010: 0.5014
2009: 0.2815
2008: 0.6216
2007: 0.2817
2006: 0.3418
2005: 0.4619
2004: 0.2920
2003: 0.2321
2002: 0.3522
2001: 0.2423

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual gun suicides (other) total

2011: 213
2010: 414
2009: 215
2008: 616
2007: 517
2006: 418
2005: 319
2004: 720
2003: 321
2002: 722
2001: 323

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

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

2011: 0.1113
2010: 0.2214
2009: 0.1115
2008: 0.3416
2007: 0.2817
2006: 0.2318
2005: 0.1719
2004: 0.4120
2003: 0.1821
2002: 0.4122
2001: 0.1823

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2006: 118
2003: 121
2001: 123
2000: 124
1999: 041
1996: 228
1995: 429

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2006: 0.0618
2003: 0.0621
2001: 0.0623
2000: 0.0624
1999: 0.0041
1996: 0.1228
1995: 0.2429
1994: 0.1242

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2006: 118
2003: 121

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2006: 0.0618
2003: 0.0621

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

In Northern Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by firearm (other) total

2001: 123

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

In Northern Ireland, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by firearm (other) per 100,000 population is

2001: 0.0623

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2003: 121
1999: 225 41
1998: 226
1996: 228
1995: 429

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

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

2003: 0.0621
1999: 0.1225 41
1998: 0.1226
1996: 0.1228
1995: 0.2429
1994: 0.1243

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

In Northern Ireland, annual deaths by firearm (other) in which the cause remains undecided total

2003: 121

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

In Northern Ireland, the annual rate of unknown-cause gun deaths (other) per 100,000 population is

2003: 0.0621

Justifiable Gun Homicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual legal-intervention gun homicides total

2011: 113
2009: 115
2007: 117

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Northern Ireland, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence44 45

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Northern Ireland, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law46 47

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Northern Ireland, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law48

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Northern Ireland is categorised as restrictive49

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Northern Ireland includes the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 200450

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Northern Ireland are regulated by the Chief Constable51

Right to Possess Firearms

In Northern Ireland, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law52 53 54

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Northern Ireland, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic firearms or semi-automatic firearms other than semi-automatic rifles chambered for .22 rimfire cartridges55 56 57

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Northern Ireland, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited55 56 57

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Northern Ireland, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence only when chambered for .22 rimfire cartridges55 56 57

Regulation of Handguns

In Northern Ireland, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence only in rare circumstances55 56 57

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Northern Ireland, only licensed gun owners58 51 54 59 60 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Northern Ireland are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm54 61

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Northern Ireland is 18 years54 62

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Northern Ireland must pass a background check which considers various51 54 63 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Northern Ireland, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required51

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Northern Ireland stipulates64 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Northern Ireland, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every five years65 59 60

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Northern Ireland are permitted to possess any number of firearms65

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Northern Ireland are permitted to possess the quantity of ammunition described in the firearm certificate65

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Northern Ireland, the law requires66 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 Northern Ireland, licensed firearm dealers are required67 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Northern Ireland, licensed gun makers are required67 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Northern Ireland, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted68 66

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Northern Ireland, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful44 45 66

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

The number of licensed firearm dealers in Northern Ireland is reported to be

2011: 11269

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Northern Ireland include70 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 Northern Ireland include71 72 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Northern Ireland include73 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Northern Ireland, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law66

Firearm Tracing

In Northern Ireland, state authorities carry out74 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Northern Ireland, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not75 76 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Northern Ireland, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit77

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Northern Ireland, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm78 is 10 years in prison and/or a fine79

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Northern Ireland are known to have80 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 Northern Ireland, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be 2,44581 (2005)82

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Northern Ireland, it is state policy83 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The UNCCPCJ, a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, lists84 Northern Ireland as an elected member

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified85 by Northern Ireland

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, but not yet ratified86 by Northern Ireland


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