Find Gun Policy Facts

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

Somalia — 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 Somalia is 550,0001 to 750,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in Somalia is 9.12

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Somalia ranked at No. 583

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Somalia ranked at No. 662

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in Somalia is reported to be 14,0001

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Somalia is 0.154

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Somalia are reported to have 106,7505 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Somalia are reported to have 14,6726 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Somalia, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 8197
2008: 1388

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

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

2012: 8.07
2008: 1.58
2004: 3.309
2002: 33.10

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

In Somalia, the annual number of non-fatal firearm injuries is

2005: 33010

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Somalia, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence,11 but is not conducted in practice12

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Somalia, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law13 14 15

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Somalia is reported by Customs to be US$23116 (2003)

Firearm Imports

In Somalia, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law13 14 15

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Somalia is reported by Customs to be US$016 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Somalia is moderate17 18 19

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Somalia, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law20

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Somalia do not include13 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 Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Somalia includes the 1963 Public Order Law21 15

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Somalia are regulated by the Ministry of the Interior13

Right to Possess Firearms

In Somalia, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law22 23

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Somalia, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic rifles21

Regulation of Handguns

In Somalia, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence21

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Somalia, only licensed gun owners15 21 11 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Somalia, the law does not require24 25 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Somalia, State agencies are required26 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Somalia, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful11 15 13

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Somalia include26 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Somalia, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law24 27 25

Firearm Tracing

In Somalia, state authorities carry out28 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Small Arms Destroyed

In Somalia, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be

2015: 22129

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

League of Arab States

As a member of the League of Arab States, Somalia adopted the Arab Model Law on Weapons, Ammunitions, Explosives and Hazardous Material in January 200230

African Union

In June 2006, as a member of the African Union, Somalia 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 200631 32

Regional Centre on Small Arms

In March 2000, as a member of the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), Somalia 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, but not yet ratified33 34 by Somalia

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 signed35 by Somalia.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed36 by Somalia

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has not been signed37 by Somalia

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Somalia 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 Aspects38

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Somalia have submitted one or more national reports39 40 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Somalia, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated40

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Somalia, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated40 41

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Somalia submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was not apparent40

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated40 by Somalia to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided40 to Somalia by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Somalia has not declared42 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Somalia has been a Member State of the United Nations since 196043

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list44 Somalia as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

1.

Lynge, Karina.2009.‘High Presence of and Easy Access to Small Arms.’ Community Safety and Small Arms in Somaliland: Analysis and Recommendations.Somaliland:Danish Demining Group,1 September. (Q2099)Full Citation

2.

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

3.

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

4.

GunPolicy.org.2011.‘Calculated Rates - Somalia.’ Historical Population Data - USCB International Data Base.Suitland, MD:US Census Bureau Population Division,22 August. (Q4272)Full Citation

5.

Karp, Aaron.2006.‘Trickle and Torrent: State stockpiles.’ Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q6)Full Citation

6.

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

7.

UNODC.2014.‘Homicides in Somalia.’ Global Study on Homicide 2013: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),10 April. (Q9947)Full Citation

8.

UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - Somalia.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6412)Full Citation

9.

Petrini, Benjamin.2011.‘Sub-Saharan 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. (Q3812)Full Citation

10.

Medecins Sans Frontieres.2005.‘Violence Continues Unabated in Somalia.’ Medecins Sans Frontieres.Mogadishu:ReliefWeb,22 August. (Q5287)Full Citation

11.

Hashi Jama, Ibrahim.2011.‘Control and Licensing of Arms and Dangerous Substances.’ Public Order Law in Somaliland: Learning the Lessons of Democracy.Hargeisa:Somalilandlaw.com,30 June. (Q5286)Full Citation

12.

Somalia.2014.‘Manufacture.’ National Report of Somalia 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 NY:Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations,1 January. (Q12908)Full Citation

13.

Somalia.2016.‘International Transfers.’ National Report of Somalia 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 NY:Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations,6 January. (Q12900)Full Citation

14.

Somalia.2016.‘International Transfers - Record-keeping.’ National Report of Somalia 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 NY:Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations,6 January. (Q12902)Full Citation

15.

Hughes, Ed and Karina Lynge.2010.‘Trading, Manufacture and Conversion of Weapons.’ Community Safety and Small Arms in Somaliland.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and the Danish Demining Group,9 March. (Q5277)Full Citation

16.

Marsh, Nicholas.2014.‘Database of Authorised Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons.’ NISAT Small Arms Trade Database.Oslo:Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers,22 December. (Q16)Full Citation

17.

Hughes, Ed and Karina Lynge.2010.‘Import and Export of Weapons - A Transhipment Destination.’ Community Safety and Small Arms in Somaliland.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and the Danish Demining Group,9 March. (Q5283)Full Citation

18.

Farah, Ibrahim, Aisha Ahmad and Daud Omar.2006.‘Source of Small Arms and Light Weapons: Into Somalia.’ Controlling Small Arms in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region: Supporting Implementation of the Nairobi Declaration.Waterloo, ON:Africa Peace Forum / Project Ploughshares,1 January. (Q5288)Full Citation

19.

Amnesty International.2010.‘Background.’ Somalia: International Military and Policing Assistance Should Be Reviewed.London:Amnesty International,1 January. (Q5285)Full Citation

20.

Somalia.2016.‘Brokering.’ National Report of Somalia 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 NY:Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations,6 January. (Q12903)Full Citation

21.

Hughes, Ed and Karina Lynge.2010.‘SALW Ownership - Private Ownership and Registration.’ Community Safety and Small Arms in Somaliland.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and the Danish Demining Group,9 March. (Q5272)Full Citation

22.

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

23.

Zachary Elkins, Tom Ginsburg and James Melton. 2013. ‘U.S. Gun Rights Truly Are American Exceptionalism.’ Bloomberg (USA). 7 March. (N422) Full Citation

24.

Somalia.2016.‘Marking and Record Keeping.’ National Report of Somalia 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 NY:Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations,6 January. (Q12906)Full Citation

25.

Victor Karega. 2010. ‘Centre to Procure Software.’ Citizen (Dar es Salaam). 3 July. (N221) Full Citation

26.

Somalia.2016.‘Stockpile Management.’ National Report of Somalia 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 NY:Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations,6 January. (Q12904)Full Citation

27.

Somalia.2016.‘International Transfers - Marking at Import.’ National Report of Somalia 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 NY:Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations,6 January. (Q12901)Full Citation

28.

Somalia.2016.‘International Tracing.’ National Report of Somalia 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 NY:Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations,6 January. (Q12907)Full Citation

29.

Somalia.2016.‘Firearms Destroyed.’ National Report of Somalia 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 NY:Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations,6 January. (Q12905)Full Citation

30.

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, NY:Council of the League of Arab States / United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,1 January. (Q3215)Full Citation

31.

African Union / UNODA.2005.‘Windhoek Common Position.’ United Nations Programme of Action Implementation Support System: Regional Organisations.New York, NY:African Union / United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,14 December. (Q3216)Full Citation

32.

African Union.2015.‘Member States.’ African Union: A United and Strong Africa.Addis Ababa:African Union,10 August. (Q10548)Full Citation

33.

RECSA / UNODA.2004.‘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.’ United Nations Programme of Action Implementation Support System: Regional Organisations.New York, NY:Regional Centre on Small Arms / United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,21 April. (Q3218)Full Citation

34.

RECSA.2010.‘Ratified and Deposited Instruments of the Nairobi Protocol.’ Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons Website - Ratifications.Nairobi:Regional Centre on Small Arms,19 November. (Q3263)Full Citation

35.

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

36.

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

37.

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, NY:UN General Assembly,31 May. (Q17)Full Citation

38.

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, NY:UN General Assembly,20 July. (Q18)Full Citation

39.

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

40.

UNODA.2015.‘PoA-ISS Country Profiles.’ UN small arms Programme of Action (UNPoA) - Implementation Support System.New York, NY:United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs,11 September. (Q1309)Full Citation

41.

Somalia.2016.‘National Coordination Agency.’ National Report of Somalia 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 NY:Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations,6 January. (Q12899)Full Citation

42.

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

43.

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

44.

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