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Rwanda — 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 Rwanda is 58,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Rwanda 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, Rwanda ranked at No. 1512

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

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

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Rwanda are reported to have 9,8803 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Rwanda are reported to have 12,6864 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

In Rwanda, annual homicides by any means total 2008: 1,7085

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

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

2008: 17.15
2007: 4.5
2006: 5.6
2005: 4.3
2004: 4.85 6
2003: 4.25
2002: 20.006
1999: 45.08

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Rwanda, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is prohibited7 8 9 10

Home-made Guns

In Rwanda the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate11 12

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Rwanda, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law8 13 14

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Rwanda is reported by Customs to be US$21,77615 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Rwanda, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law7 16 8 13 14 10

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Rwanda is reported by Customs to be US$9,83015 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Rwanda is high17 18 19 20

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Rwanda, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law13 21

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Rwanda include8 14 22 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 Rwanda is categorised as restrictive23

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Rwanda includes the Law No 13/2000 of 14/06/2000 modifying the Decree, the Law No 12/79 of 7th May, 1979 Concerning Firearms and their Ammunitions,24 25 and Law No. 33/2009 of 18/11/2009 on the Arms System13

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Rwanda are regulated by the Rwanda National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons,26 the Minister in charge of National Police and the Ministry of Defence8 13

Right to Possess Firearms

In Rwanda, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law27 28

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Rwanda, civilians are not allowed to possess weapons of war29 and: rifle-sticks, folding rifles, rifles with a barrel or a butt that can be dismantled into several parts, firearms with silencers, firearms with toxic effects, and any offensive or secretive firearms30

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Rwanda, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited29 30

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Rwanda, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence29 30

Regulation of Handguns

In Rwanda, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence29 30

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Rwanda, only licensed gun owners27 31 32 9 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Rwanda are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm28

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Rwanda is 21 years28

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Rwanda must pass a background check which considers mental and criminal28 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Rwanda, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required33 34

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Rwanda does not stipulate33 34 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Rwanda, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required28 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Rwanda gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every year35

Licensing Records

In Rwanda, authorities maintain a record36 37 38 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Rwanda are permitted to possess the number of guns specified in the licence39 40

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Rwanda are permitted to possess the quantity of ammunition specified in the licence39 40

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Rwanda, the law requires36 41 37 38 42 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 Rwanda, licensed firearm dealers are required43 41 38 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Rwanda, State agencies are required36 44 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 Rwanda, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted32 9

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Rwanda, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful45 46

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In Rwanda, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to the number specified in the licence39 40

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Rwanda, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined33 34

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Rwanda, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated33 34 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Rwanda do not include33 34 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 Rwanda include46 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Rwanda include47 48 49 50 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Rwanda include16 22 48 49 50 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Rwanda, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law51 44 37 52 42

Firearm Tracing

In Rwanda, state authorities do not carry out51 44 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Rwanda, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit27 31 9 53 54 55

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Rwanda, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit27 31 9 53 54 55

Gun Free Zones

In Rwanda, private guns are prohibited in areas specified by the Minister in charge of the National Police56

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Rwanda, the maximum penalty for illicit firearm possession is 5 years prison and/or a fine57 58 59 60 61

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Rwanda are known to have62 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Small Arms Destroyed

In Rwanda, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 7,500 (2005/2006) and 30,26662 (up to December 2009)

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Rwanda, it is state policy10 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

African Union

In June 2006, as a member of the African Union, Rwanda adopted an African Common Position to take to the Conference to Review the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA), held in June 200663

Regional Centre on Small Arms

In March 2000, as a member of the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), Rwanda adopted the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa, then on 21 April 2004 adopted the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States, a legally-binding multilateral protocol of which the RECSA is depository. The Nairobi Protocol has since been signed, and ratified64 65 by Rwanda

United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa

In November 2010, as a member of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC), Rwanda adopted the Central Africa Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition, Parts and Components that can be used for their Manufacture, Repair and Assembly, known as the ‘Kinshasa Convention. A legally binding multilateral treaty for which UNSAC is depository, the Kinshasa Convention currently awaits signature, then ratification66 67 68 by Rwanda

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 200769 by Rwanda.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified70 by Rwanda

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 ratified71 by Rwanda

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Rwanda 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 Aspects72

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Rwanda has submitted one or more national reports73 74 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Rwanda, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated75 74

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Rwanda, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated76 77

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Rwanda submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent74

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated74 by Rwanda to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided74 to Rwanda by other UN Member States

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Rwanda has been a Member State of the United Nations since 196278

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list79 Rwanda as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

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Rwanda.2009.‘Authority Competent for Issuing License for Importing, Bringing, Exporting and Transiting Arms Through Rwanda.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4710)Full Citation

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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

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Pézard, Stéphanie and Nicolas Florquin.2007.‘Tanzania.’ Small Arms in Burundi: Disarming the Civilian Population in Peacetime.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies / Ligue Iteka,1 August. (Q5084)Full Citation

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Pézard, Stéphanie and Nicolas Florquin.2007.‘Other Sources of Arms.’ Small Arms in Burundi: Disarming the Civilian Population in Peacetime.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies / Ligue Iteka,1 August. (Q5085)Full Citation

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22.

Rwanda.2009.‘Transit of Arms Through the Territory of the Republic of Rwanda.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4719)Full Citation

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25.

Rwanda.2008.‘Legislation, Regulations and Administrative Procedures.’ National Report of Rwanda 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).New York:Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the United Nations,27 March. (Q3856)Full Citation

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30.

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Rwanda.2000.‘Law Concerning Firearms and their Ammunition (Loi sur le Régime des Armes à Feu et de Leurs Munitions).’ Law No 13/2000 of 14 Jun 2000, Modifying the Decree-Law No 12/79 of 7 May 1979, Concerning Firearms and their Ammunition (Loi No 13/2000 du 14 Juin 2000 Modifiant le Décret-Loi No 12/79 du 7 Mai 1979 sur le Régime des Armes à Feu et de Leurs Munitions).Kigali:Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Rwanda,14 June. (Q4732)Full Citation

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Rwanda.2009.‘Serial Number and Other Identification Marks of an Arm.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4721)Full Citation

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Rwanda.2009.‘Modalities for Keeping Licence and Inventory Registers.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4724)Full Citation

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Rwanda.2009.‘Maximum Quantity of Arms and Ammunition Allowed for Sale by a Dealer.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4712)Full Citation

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Rwanda.2000.‘Article 11.’ Law No 13/2000 of 14 Jun 2000, Modifying the Decree-Law No 12/79 of 7 May 1979, Concerning Firearms and their Ammunition (Loi No 13/2000 du 14 Juin 2000 Modifiant le Décret-Loi No 12/79 du 7 Mai 1979 sur le Régime des Armes à Feu et de Leurs Munitions).Kigali:Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Rwanda,14 June. (Q4700)Full Citation

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Rwanda.2009.‘Display of Arms for Sale.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4711)Full Citation

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Rwanda.2010.‘Stockpile Management.’ National Report of Rwanda 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).New York:Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the United Nations,1 November. (Q3852)Full Citation

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Rwanda.2009.‘Storage of Arms Which Are Not Meant To Be Used in Rwanda.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4725)Full Citation

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Rwanda.2009.‘Structure of the Arsenal.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4726)Full Citation

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Rwanda.2009.‘Procedures for Forwarding of Arms to the Arsenal by the Customs Office.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4727)Full Citation

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Rwanda.2010.‘Arms Marking.’ National Report of Rwanda 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).New York:Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the United Nations,1 November. (Q3850)Full Citation

52.

Rwanda.2009.‘Restrictions Applicable to Unmarked Arm.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4722)Full Citation

53.

Rwanda.2000.‘Articles 17 and 18.’ Law No 13/2000 of 14 Jun 2000, Modifying the Decree-Law No 12/79 of 7 May 1979, Concerning Firearms and their Ammunition (Loi No 13/2000 du 14 Juin 2000 Modifiant le Décret-Loi No 12/79 du 7 Mai 1979 sur le Régime des Armes à Feu et de Leurs Munitions).Kigali:Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Rwanda,14 June. (Q4703)Full Citation

54.

Rwanda.2009.‘Carriage of Firearm Without Licence.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4716)Full Citation

55.

Rwanda.2009.‘Requirements on the Carriage of Firearms.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4720)Full Citation

56.

Rwanda.2009.‘Areas Where Arms Are Prohibited.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4718)Full Citation

57.

Rwanda.2008.‘Jurisdictions / Criminalisation.’ National Report of Rwanda 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).New York:Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the United Nations,27 March. (Q3859)Full Citation

58.

Rwanda.2009.‘Criminal Acts.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4730)Full Citation

59.

Rwanda.2009.‘Penalties Applicable to a Person who Illegally Uses a Firearm.’ Official Gazette No 52 bis of December 28, 2009, Law No 33/2009 of November 18, 2009, Relating to Arms.Kigali:Parliament of the Republic of Rwanda,18 November. (Q4731)Full Citation

60.

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