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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

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Panama is 12.91 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, Panama ranked at No. 663

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 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

2009: 126,9084
2006: 65,4365 6
2005: 96,6142
2001: 96,6144

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Panama is

2009: 3.787
2006: 1.995
2005: 3.067
2001: 3.27

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Panama are reported to have 29,0008 9 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Panama are reported to have 15,5008 10 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Panama, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2009: 69811
2002: 26912

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2009: 20.777
2002: 8.96

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Panama, annual homicides by any means total

2013: 66613
2012: 66513 14 15
2011: 75913 14 16
2010: 75913 14 16 17 18
2009: 818
2008: 654
2007: 444
2006: 363
2005: 364
2004: 308
2003: 338
2002: 380
2001: 306
2000: 299
1999: 28516
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

2013: 17.313
2012: 17.5613 14 15
2011: 20.3813 14 16
2010: 20.7313 14 16 17 18
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: 9.816
1998: 9.9
1997: 11.3
1996: 9.1
1995: 14.1

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Panama, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 51113
2012: 51013 14
2011: 585
2010: 58213 14 16 19
2009: 67114 16 19
2008: 517
2007: 289
2006: 252
2005: 215
2004: 18516
2002: 22212

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 14.367
2012: 14.53
2011: 16.91
2010: 17.067 16 19 18
2009: 19.97
2008: 15.62
2007: 8.87
2006: 7.86
2005: 6.81
2004: 5.816
2003: 6.4718
2002: 7.1212

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2013: 77%13
2012: 77%13 14 15
2011: 77%13 14
2010: 77%
2009: 82%14
2008: 79%
2007: 65%
2006: 68%
2005: 59%
2004: 60.1%16

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Panama, annual suicides by any means total

2009: 19020
2008: 201
2007: 191
2006: 20720 21
2005: 19620
2004: 232
2003: 231
2002: 19620 12
2001: 19520
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

2009: 5.520
2008: 5.9
2007: 5.7
2006: 6.320 21
2005: 6.1
2004: 7.3
2003: 7.4
2002: 6.420 12
2001: 6.520
2000: 5.8

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Panama, annual firearm suicides total

2009: 1911
2002: 3112

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2009: 0.577
2002: 0.9912

Unintentional Gun Deaths

In Panama, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2002: 212

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2002: 0.0612

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2009: 411
2002: 1412

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

2009: 0.127
2002: 0.4512

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 licence22 23 24 25 26 but is not conducted in practice27

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Panama, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law28 29 30 31 32

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Panama is reported by Customs to be US$195,49133 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Panama, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law34 35 29 36 28 37 30 38 31 32

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Panama is reported by Customs to be US$2,246,24333 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Panama, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law39 40

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Panama do not include30 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 restrictive41

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Panama includes the Firearms Act No. 57 of 201142 and its regulation (to be adopted)30

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Panama are regulated by the Ministry of Public Security, through the Institutional Directorate on Public Security Affairs (DIASP)43 28

Right to Possess Firearms

In Panama, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law44 45

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Panama, civilians are not allowed to possess weapons of war,42 46 automatic firearms, long guns with shortened barrels, home-made firearms, and armour-piercing, explosive, or expanding ammunition47

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Panama, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited47 15

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Panama, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence48

Regulation of Handguns

In Panama, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence48 15

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Panama, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law48 47 15

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Panama, only licensed gun owners49 50 51 52 53 48 28 54 55 15 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,50 hunting, and sports shooting48

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Panama is 18 years56, or 21 years for carrying57 and self-defence58

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Panama must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental, and addiction56 58 15 records

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Panama stipulates56 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 required58 57 28 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)59 and four years (for carrying)60

Licensing Records

In Panama, authorities maintain a record28 61 62 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Panama, the law requires63 61 62 64 65 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 required66 67 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 required24 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Panama, State agencies are required61 68 69 70 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 permitted71 72 54

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Panama, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful73 37 28 74 75 67

Background Checks for Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in Panama is obliged74 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Dealer

Firearm regulations in Panama include28 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 include68 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Panama include76 50 77 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 law61 36 38 65

Firearm Tracing

In Panama, state authorities carry out78 61 62 63 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Panama, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are78 63 61 58 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Panama, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law52 46 79 57 60 53 80 15

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Panama, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit81 79 57 60

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Panama, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm82 is a fine83 84 85

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Panama are known to have86 28 87 88 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 1,73089 (2012) and 55090 (2014)

Firearms Collected and Seized

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

2013: 1,77091
2012: 1,95591 92
2011: 3,011
2010: 1,93691
2006-08: 7,08393
2004: 1,57694
2002: 1,83595
2001: 1,704

Small Arms Destroyed

In Panama, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 98693 (2006-2008)89

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Panama, it is state policy69 96 97 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 Material98

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 ratified99 100 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 2007101 by Panama.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified102 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 ratified103 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 Aspects104

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. 32105 106 107 108 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 reports109 110 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 designated111 110

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Panama, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated111 110

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 apparent111

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated110 by Panama to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Panama has not declared112 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 1945113

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list114 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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22.

Panama.2011.‘Repair Facilities (Establecimientos de reparación).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10408)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Security Measures (Medidas de seguridad).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10409)Full Citation

24.

Panama.2011.‘Repair Requirements (Requisitos para la reparación).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10410)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Prohibited Modifications (Prohibición de modificación).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10411)Full Citation

26.

Panama.2011.‘Grounds for Denial of the Request - Repair Shops (Causales de denegación de la solicitud).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10412)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Functions of DIASP (Funciones de la DIASP).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10379)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Import Licence and Prohibited Re-export (Licencia de importación y prohibición de exportación).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10403)Full Citation

30.

Panama.2014.‘International Transfers (Transferencias internacionales).’ National Report of Panama 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 Panama to the United Nations,3 November. (Q10477)Full Citation

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Panama.2014.‘Record Keeping (Registro).’ National Report of Panama 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 Panama to the United Nations,3 November. (Q10479)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Advertising Restrictions (Restricción de publicidad).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10375)Full Citation

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Panama.2014.‘Marking at Import (Marcaje de importación).’ National Report of Panama 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 Panama to the United Nations,3 November. (Q10478)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Special Licence for Brokering (Licencia especial para actividades de intermediación).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10405)Full Citation

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Panama.2014.‘Brokering (Intermediación).’ National Report of Panama 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 Panama to the United Nations,3 November. (Q10480)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Object (Objectivo).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10370)Full Citation

43.

Panama.2011.‘Authority in Charge of the Implementation (Autoridad responsable de la aplicación).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10371)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Additional Prohibitions (Prohibiciones adicionales ).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10376)Full Citation

47.

Panama.2011.‘Prohibited Firearms and Ammunition (Armas de fuego y municiones prohibidas).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10373)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Classification of Firearms (Clasificación de las armas).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10377)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Possession (Tenencia).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10390)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Certificate of Possession (Certificado de tenencia).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10391)Full Citation

51.

Panama.2011.‘Firearm Possession Certificate (Certificado de tenencia de arma de fuego).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10394)Full Citation

52.

Panama.2011.‘Possession and Carrying (Tenencia y porte).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10372)Full Citation

53.

Panama.2011.‘Authorisation Granted by Licences (Autorización por licencia).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10399)Full Citation

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Panama.2011.‘Firearm Transfer (Cesión del arma de fuego).’ Act No. 57 on Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (Ley Nº 57 general de armas de fuego, municiones y materiales relacionados).Panama:National Assembly of the Republic of Panama,27 May. (Q10401)Full Citation

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