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Saudi Arabia — 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 Saudi Arabia is 6,000,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Saudi Arabia is 35.01 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Saudi Arabia ranked at No. 162

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Saudi Arabia ranked at No. 71

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Saudi Arabia are reported to have 324,0003 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Saudi Arabia are reported to have 90,4494 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Saudi Arabia, annual homicides by any means total

2007: 2655
2006: 255
2005: 297
2004: 301
2003: 250
2002: 2855 6
2001: 229
2000: 1735 7
1999: 184
1998: 927

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

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

2008: 2.75
2007: 1.05 8
2006: 1.05
2005: 1.25 8
2004: 1.3
2003: 1.1
2002: 1.3
2001: 1.1
2000: 0.9
1999: 0.9
1998: 0.478
1997: 0.82
1995: 0.83

ProductionGun Industry

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, Saudi Arabia is ranked 'small'9

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Saudi Arabia is reported by Customs to be US$58,92810 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Saudi Arabia is reported by Customs to be US$31,418,32510 (2011)11 12 and US$906,545,41613 (2012)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Saudi Arabia is moderate13

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, Saudi Arabia was ranked at No. 5214

MeasuresGun Regulation

Right to Possess Firearms

In Saudi Arabia, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law15

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Saudi Arabia, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law16

Firearm Tracing

In Saudi Arabia, state authorities carry out16 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Saudi Arabia are known to have13 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

League of Arab States

As a member of the League of Arab States, Saudi Arabia adopted the Arab Model Law on Weapons, Ammunitions, Explosives and Hazardous Material in January 200217

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

At the resumption of the most recent session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (UNCCPCJ), a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, Saudi Arabia was listed as an elected member for a three-year term of office18

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 not signed19 by Saudi Arabia.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed20 by Saudi Arabia

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 ratified21 by Saudi Arabia

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Saudi Arabia 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 Aspects22

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Saudi Arabia against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 12023 24 25 26 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Saudi Arabia has submitted one or more national reports27 16 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Saudi Arabia, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated28 16

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Saudi Arabia, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated28 16

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Saudi Arabia submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent16

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated16 by Saudi Arabia to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Saudi Arabia has not declared29 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Saudi Arabia has been a Member State of the United Nations since 194530

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list31 Saudi Arabia as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

To see where Saudi Arabia 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.2006.‘Trickle and Torrent: State stockpiles.’ Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q6)Full Citation

4.

Karp, Aaron.2006.‘Trickle and Torrent: State stockpiles.’ Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q7)Full Citation

5.

UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - Saudi Arabia.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6286)Full Citation

6.

UNODC.2005.‘Recorded Homicide and Firearm Homicide in 53 Countries, Completed or Attempted.’ Eighth United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (2001-2002).Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,15 April. (Q1077)Full Citation

7.

UNODC.2004.‘Recorded Intentional Homicide, Completed.’ Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (1998-2000).Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,19 March. (Q91)Full Citation

8.

Petrini, Benjamin.2011.‘Middle East and North Africa, 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. (Q3813)Full Citation

9.

Small Arms Survey.2001.‘Ranking of World's Small Arms Producers (By Sales).’ Small Arms Survey 2001: Profiling the Problem.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q103)Full Citation

10.

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

11.

Berman, Eric.2011.‘Small Arms Transfers: Importing States.’ Weapons and Markets.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,11 November. (Q5997)Full Citation

12.

Pavesi, Irene and Christelle Rigual.2013.‘Annexes 8.2: Major Importers.’ 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. (Q8486)Full Citation

13.

Arab News (Jeddah). 2013. ‘SR3.4 Billion Worth of Arms Imported Legally.’ 5 October. (N309) Full Citation

14.

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

15.

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

16.

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

17.

League of Arab States / UNODA.2002.‘Arab Model Law on Weapons, Ammunitions, Explosives and Hazardous Material.’ United Nations Programme of Action Implementation Support System: Regional Organisations.New York:Council of the League of Arab States / United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,1 January. (Q3215)Full Citation

18.

UNCCPCJ / UNODC.1991.‘Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.’ United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.Vienna:United Nations Economic and Social Council / United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,1 January. (Q3222)Full Citation

19.

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

20.

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

21.

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

22.

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

23.

Parker, Sarah and Katherine Green.2012.‘Findings - Table 3: Reporting States by Rank and Score.’ The Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (Phase 1): Assessing Reported Progress.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 August. (Q8752)Full Citation

24.

Parker, Sarah and Katherine Green.2012.‘What do the PoAIM Scores Represent? How Should the PoAIM Scores Be Interpreted?.’ The Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (Phase 1): Assessing Reported Progress.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 August. (Q8753)Full Citation

25.

Parker, Sarah and Katherine Green.2012.‘Point Allocation System.’ The Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (Phase 1): Assessing Reported Progress.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 August. (Q8754)Full Citation

26.

Parker, Sarah and Katherine Green.2012.‘Introduction.’ The Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (Phase 1): Assessing Reported Progress.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 August. (Q8755)Full Citation

27.

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

28.

IANSA.2006.‘Reviewing Action on Small Arms 2006: Assessing the first five years of the UN Programme of Action.’ Biting the Bullet 'Red Book' 2006.New York:International Action Network on Small Arms and the Biting the Bullet project,26 June. (Q166)Full Citation

29.

UNODA.2011.‘National Reports on Small Arms Exports.’ United Nations Register of Conventional Arms - The Global Reported Arms Trade.New York:United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,21 October. (Q14)Full Citation

30.

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

31.

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