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

Sri Lanka — 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 Sri Lanka is 300,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in Sri Lanka is 1.51

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Sri Lanka ranked at No. 1022

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Sri Lanka ranked at No. 1331

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in Sri Lanka is reported to be 30,5001

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Sri Lanka is 0.153

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Sri Lanka there are estimated to be 50,0004

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Sri Lanka are reported to have 297,3505 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Sri Lanka are reported to have 86,2406 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Sri Lanka, annual homicides by any means total

2011: 7077
2010: 7457 8
2009: 958
2008: 1,488
2007: 1,663
2006: 2,045
2005: 1,221
2004: 1,3777 9
2003: 1,310
1997: 1,85110
1996: 1,775
1995: 1,614

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

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

2011: 3.47
2010: 3.67 8
2009: 4.7
2008: 7.37 8 11
2007: 8.2
2006: 10.2
2005: 6.1
2004: 7.07 9
2003: 6.77 8 9
2002: 4.58
2001: 4.1
2000: 5.1
1999: 4.7
1998: 4.3
1997: 9.9810 8
1996: 9.7010
1995: 8.91

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Sri Lanka, annual firearm homicides total

2004: 2919
2003: 174
1997: 56210
1996: 516
1995: 449

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2004: 1.449
2003: 0.85
1997: 3.0310
1996: 2.82
1995: 2.48

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2004: 21.1%8
2003: 13.3%

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Sri Lanka is reported by Customs to be US$3,14812 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Sri Lanka, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law13

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Sri Lanka is reported by Customs to be US$104,79012 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Sri Lanka, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law13 14

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Sri Lanka includes the Firearms Ordinance No. 33 of 1916, last amended in August 199615

Right to Possess Firearms

In Sri Lanka, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law16 17

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Sri Lanka, only licensed gun owners18 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Licensing Records

In Sri Lanka, authorities maintain a record19 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Sri Lanka, the law requires20 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Sri Lanka, licensed gun makers are required21 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Sri Lanka, State agencies are required22 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Sri Lanka, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law22 18

Firearm Tracing

In Sri Lanka, state authorities carry out20 14 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Sri Lanka, it is state policy23 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

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 signed24 by Sri Lanka.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed25 by Sri Lanka

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 signed26 by Sri Lanka

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Sri Lanka 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 Aspects27

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Sri Lanka against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 7428 29 30 31 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Sri Lanka has submitted one or more national reports32 14 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Sri Lanka, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated33 14

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Sri Lanka, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated33 14

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Sri Lanka submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent33 14

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated14 by Sri Lanka to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided14 to Sri Lanka by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Sri Lanka has not declared34 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Sri Lanka has been a Member State of the United Nations since 195535

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list36 Sri Lanka as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

To see where Sri Lanka 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.

GunPolicy.org.2011.‘Calculated Rates - Sri Lanka.’ Historical Population Data - USCB International Data Base.Suitland, MD:US Census Bureau Population Division,22 August. (Q4282)Full Citation

4.

Jayampathy Jayasinghe. 2012. ‘Islandwide Crackdown on Illegal Firearms.’ Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka). 9 June. (N274) 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 Sri Lanka.’ Global Study on Homicide 2013: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),10 April. (Q10281)Full Citation

8.

UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - Sri Lanka.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6298)Full Citation

9.

UNODC.2006.‘Reported Overall Homicide Numbers and Rates per 100,000 Population for 64 Countries, 2003-04.’ Ninth United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (2003 - 2004).Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,10 December. (Q9)Full Citation

10.

UNODC.2001.‘Sri Lanka: Total Recorded Intentional Homicides (Completed) and Total Recorded Intentional Homicides Committed With a Firearm.’ Sixth United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 1995-1997.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,27 June. (Q1347)Full Citation

11.

Petrini, Benjamin.2011.‘South Asia, 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. (Q3815)Full Citation

12.

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

13.

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, NY:International Action Network on Small Arms and the Biting the Bullet project,26 June. (Q82)Full Citation

14.

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

15.

Jayampathy Jayasinghe. 2012. ‘Islandwide Crackdown on Illegal Firearms.’ Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka). 9 June. (N272) Full Citation

16.

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

17.

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

18.

Sri Lanka.2008.‘Marking of Guns.’ National Report of Sri Lanka 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 Sri Lanka to the United Nations,8 May. (Q4681)Full Citation

19.

Sri Lanka.2008.‘Register for Guns.’ National Report of Sri Lanka 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 Sri Lanka to the United Nations,8 May. (Q4682)Full Citation

20.

Sri Lanka.2008.‘Marking, Record Keeping and Tracing.’ National Report of Sri Lanka 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 Sri Lanka to the United Nations,8 May. (Q4683)Full Citation

21.

Sri Lanka.2008.‘Production.’ National Report of Sri Lanka 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 Sri Lanka to the United Nations,8 May. (Q4680)Full Citation

22.

Sri Lanka.2008.‘International Tracing Instrument (ITI).’ National Report of Sri Lanka 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 Sri Lanka to the United Nations,8 May. (Q4679)Full Citation

23.

UNDPI.2006.‘Major Review at United Nations to Assess Progress Made, Actions Needed to Further Stem Illegal Small Arms Trade.’ Department of Public Information, News and Media Division, Peace and Security Section.New York, NY:United Nations,20 June. (Q5075)Full Citation

24.

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

25.

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

26.

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

27.

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

28.

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, Geneva,1 August. (Q8752)Full Citation

29.

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, Geneva,1 August. (Q8753)Full Citation

30.

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, Geneva,1 August. (Q8754)Full Citation

31.

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, Geneva,1 August. (Q8755)Full Citation

32.

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

33.

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, NY:International Action Network on Small Arms and the Biting the Bullet project,26 June. (Q166)Full Citation

34.

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

35.

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

36.

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