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Armed violence prevention, gun control laws and the small arms trade:

Panama — 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 Panama is 450,0001 2 3

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in Panama is 12.91 2

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Panama ranked at No. 664

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Panama ranked at No. 262

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Panama is reported to be

2016: 180,0005
2010: 107,6346
2009: 126,9087
2006: 65,4368 9 3
2005: 96,6142
2001: 96,6147

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Panama is

2016: 4.8610
2010: 3.16
2009: 3.78
2006: 1.998
2005: 3.0610
2001: 3.27

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Panama there are estimated to be 130,0003

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Panama the rate of illicit firearms per 100 people is estimated to be 4.0510

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Panama are reported to have 29,00011 12 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Panama are reported to have 15,50011 13 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Panama, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2014: 47514
2013: 535
2012: 546
2011: 61315
2010: 591
2009: 69816
2002: 26917

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2014: 13.1614
2013: 15.03
2012: 15.56
2011: 17.71
2010: 17.33
2009: 20.7710
2002: 8.96

Total Number of Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn Panama, annual male deaths resulting from firearms total

2014: 45714
2013: 508
2012: 523
2011: 583
2010: 563

Total Number of Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn Panama, annual female deaths resulting from firearms total

2014: 1814
2013: 27
2012: 23
2011: 30
2010: 28

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Panama, annual homicides by any means total

2015: 44718
2014: 62714
2013: 676
2012: 712
2011: 750
2010: 760
2009: 818
2008: 654
2007: 444
2006: 363
2005: 364
2004: 308
2003: 338
2002: 380
2001: 306
2000: 299
1999: 28519
1998: 281
1997: 315
1996: 248
1995: 377

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

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

2015: 11.3818
2014: 13.1614
2013: 15.03
2012: 15.56
2011: 17.71
2010: 17.33
2009: 23.71
2008: 19.26
2007: 12.29
2006: 11.05
2005: 11.28
2004: 9.71
2003: 10.85
2002: 12.42
2001: 10.19
2000: 10.14
1999: 9.819
1998: 9.9
1997: 11.3
1996: 9.1
1995: 14.1

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Panama, annual male homicides by any means total

2015: 39820
2014: 58714
2013: 627
2012: 671
2011: 698
2010: 711

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Panama, annual female homicides by any means total

2015: 4920
2014: 4014
2013: 49
2012: 41
2011: 52
2010: 49

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Panama, annual firearm homicides total

2014: 46114
2013: 527
2012: 542
2011: 596
2010: 573
2009: 67121 19 22
2008: 517
2007: 289
2006: 252
2005: 215
2004: 18519
2002: 22217

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2014: 12.7814
2013: 14.81
2012: 15.44
2011: 17.22
2010: 16.80
2009: 19.97
2008: 15.62
2007: 8.87
2006: 7.86
2005: 6.81
2004: 5.819
2003: 6.4723
2002: 7.1217

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2013: 77%24
2012: 77%24 21 25
2011: 77%24 21
2010: 77%
2009: 82%21
2008: 79%
2007: 65%
2006: 68%
2005: 59%
2004: 60.1%19

Male Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn Panama, annual male firearm homicides total

2015: 44314
2014: 443
2013: 500
2012: 519
2011: 567
2010: 547

Female Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn Panama, annual female firearm homicides total

2015: 1814
2014: 18
2013: 27
2012: 23
2011: 29
2010: 26

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Panama, annual suicides by any means total

2014: 14714
2013: 130
2012: 135
2011: 144
2010: 152
2009: 19026
2008: 201
2007: 191
2006: 20726 27
2005: 19626
2004: 232
2003: 231
2002: 19626 17
2001: 19526
2000: 171

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

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

2014: 4.0714
2013: 3.65
2012: 3.85
2011: 4.16
2010: 4.46
2009: 5.526
2008: 5.9
2007: 5.7
2006: 6.326 27
2005: 6.1
2004: 7.3
2003: 7.4
2002: 6.426 17
2001: 6.526
2000: 5.8

Male Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Panama, annual male suicides by any means total

2014: 12714
2013: 117
2012: 117
2011: 125
2010: 131

Female Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Panama, annual female suicides by any means total

2014: 2014
2013: 13
2012: 18
2011: 19
2010: 21

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Panama, annual firearm suicides total

2014: 514
2013: 3
2012: 3
2011: 715
2010: 5
2009: 1916
2002: 3117

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2014: 0.1414
2013: 0.08
2012: 0.09
2011: 0.20
2010: 0.15
2009: 0.5710
2002: 0.9917

Male Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn Panama, annual male firearm suicides total

2014: 514
2013: 3
2012: 3
2011: 7
2010: 5

Female Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn Panama, annual female firearm suicides total

2014: 014
2013: 0
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Panama, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2014: 214
2013: 4
2012: 1
2011: 815
2010: 2
2002: 217

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2014: 0.1914
2013: 0.03
2012: 0.03
2011: 0.06
2010: 0.32
2002: 0.0617

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn Panama, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2014: 214
2013: 4
2012: 1
2011: 7
2010: 2

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn Panama, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2014: 014
2013: 0
2012: 0
2011: 1
2010: 0

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2014: 714
2013: 1
2012: 0
2011: 215
2010: 11
2009: 416
2002: 1417

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

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

2011: 0.0610
2009: 0.12
2002: 0.4517

Male Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2014: 714
2013: 1
2012: 0
2011: 2
2010: 9

Female Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2014: 014
2013: 0
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 2

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Panama, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence28 29 30 31 32 but is not conducted in practice33

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Panama, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law34 35 36 37 38

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Panama is reported by Customs to be US$195,49139 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Panama, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law40 41 35 42 34 43 36 44 37 38

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Panama is reported by Customs to be US$2,246,24339 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Panama is high45

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Panama, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law46 47

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Panama do not include36 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 Panama is categorised as restrictive48

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Panama includes the Firearms Act No. 57 of 201149 and its regulation (to be adopted)36

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Panama are regulated by the Ministry of Public Security, through the Institutional Directorate on Public Security Affairs (DIASP)50 34

Right to Possess Firearms

In Panama, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law51 52

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Panama, civilians are not allowed to possess weapons of war,49 53 automatic firearms, long guns with shortened barrels, home-made firearms, and armour-piercing, explosive, or expanding ammunition54

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Panama, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited54 25

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Panama, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence55

Regulation of Handguns

In Panama, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence55 25

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Panama, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law55 54 25

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Panama, only licensed gun owners56 57 58 59 60 55 34 61 62 25 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Panama are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example personal protection,57 hunting, and sports shooting55

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Panama is 18 years63, or 21 years for carrying64 and self-defence65

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Panama must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, and addiction63 65 25 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Panama, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required66

Partner to be Advised or Interviewed

In Panama, licensing authorities are not required66 to conduct interviews with, or to advise an applicant's spouse, partner, or next of kin before issuing a gun licence

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Panama stipulates63 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Panama, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required65 64 34 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Panama, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every ten years (for possession)67 and four years (for carrying)68

Licensing Records

In Panama, authorities maintain a record34 69 70 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Panama are permitted to possess any number of firearms66

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Panama are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition66

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Panama, the law requires71 69 70 72 73 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 Panama, licensed firearm dealers are required74 75 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Panama, licensed gun makers are required30 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Panama, State agencies are required69 76 77 78 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 Panama, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited unless conducted and registered by the Institutional Directorate on Public Security Affairs79 80 61

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Panama, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful81 43 34 82 83 75

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in Panama is obliged65 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Background Checks for Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in Panama is obliged82 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Panama, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined66

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Panama, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated66 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Panama do not include66 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 Panama include34 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Panama include76 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Panama include84 57 85 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Panama, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law69 42 44 73

Firearm Tracing

In Panama, state authorities carry out86 69 70 71 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Panama, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are86 71 69 65 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Panama, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law59 53 87 64 68 60 88 25

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Panama, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit89 87 64 68

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Panama, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm90 is a fine91 92 93

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Panama are known to have94 34 95 96 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Exchanged in Gun Buyback

In Panama, the total number of firearms exchanged for monetary or in-kind compensation during recent gun buyback and disposal programmes is reported to be 1,73097 (2012) and 55098 (2014)

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

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

2016: 3225
2013: 1,86899 100
2012: 1,955100 101 102
2011: 3,011
2010: 2,063103 100
2009: 2,033104
2006-08: 7,083105
2004: 1,576106
2002: 1,835107
2001: 1,704

Small Arms Destroyed

In Panama, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 986105 (2006-2008)97

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Panama, it is state policy77 108 109 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), Panama 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 Material110

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Panama 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 ratified111 112 by Panama

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 2007113 by Panama.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified114 by Panama

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 ratified115 by Panama

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Panama 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 Aspects116

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Panama against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 32117 118 119 120 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Panama has submitted one or more national reports121 122 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Panama, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated123 122

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Panama, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated123 122

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Panama submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent123

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated122 by Panama to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Panama has not declared124 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Panama has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945125

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list126 Panama as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

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