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Tanzania — 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 Tanzania is 550,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Tanzania is 1.41 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In Tanzania, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 18,0502

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In Tanzania, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 47,4202

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In Tanzania, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 4,3702

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Tanzania ranked at No. 753

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Tanzania ranked at No. 1371

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in Tanzania is reported to be 69,8402

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Tanzania is 0.214

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in Tanzania is reported to be 93,50005

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Tanzania is 0.234

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Tanzania there are estimated to be 100,0006

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Tanzania are reported to have 203,3007 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Tanzania are reported to have 50,4008 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Tanzania, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 6,0719 10
2008: 10,35711
1997: 2,35512
1996: 2,283
1995: 2,110

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

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

2012: 12.79 10
2008: 24.511
2004: 16.9513 11
2003: 7.50
2002: 24.0013
2000: 7.95
1998: 6.15
1997: 7.5212
1996: 7.49
1995: 7.12

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Tanzania, annual firearm homicides total

1997: 17512
1996: 228
1995: 268

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

1997: 0.5612
1996: 0.75
1995: 0.90

Suicides (any method)

In Tanzania, annual suicides by any means total

1995: 26314

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

In Tanzania, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

1995: 0.7114

Unintentional Gun Deaths

In Tanzania, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

1995: 514

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

1995: 0.0114

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Tanzania, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is prohibée, except at arsenals established by the Government15 16 17

Home-made Guns

In Tanzania, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate18 19

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Tanzania, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law20 21 22

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Tanzania is reported by Customs to be US$3,55823 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Tanzania, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law24 25 26 21 22

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Tanzania is reported by Customs to be US$374,33623 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Tanzania is moderate27

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Tanzania, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law28 29 30

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Tanzania include21 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 Tanzania is categorised as permissive31

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Tanzania includes the Arms and Ammunition Act, 200732 17

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Tanzania are regulated by the Arms Authority, appointed by Minister of Home Affairs33

Right to Possess Firearms

In Tanzania, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law34 35 29

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Tanzania, civilians are not allowed to possess

military firearms including: machine guns, rifles, small firearms such as handguns and pistols, and breech-loading weapons of all kinds36

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Tanzania, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited36 10

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Tanzania, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited36

Regulation of Handguns

In Tanzania, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is prohibited36 10

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Tanzania, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law36 10

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Tanzania, only licensed gun owners33 37 38 10 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Tanzania are not required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm29

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Tanzania is 18 years29

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Tanzania must pass a background check which considers undefined29 10 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Tanzania, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required29

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Tanzania does not stipulate29 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Tanzania, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required29 for a firearm licence

Licensing Records

In Tanzania, authorities maintain a record39 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Tanzania are permitted to possess only those firearms specified on the owner's firearms licence33

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Tanzania are permitted to possess only ammunition suitable for the firearm specified on the owner's firearms licence33

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Tanzania, the law requires40 41 5 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 Tanzania, licensed firearm dealers are required42 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Tanzania, licensed gun makers are required17 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Tanzania, State agencies are, in some cases, required5 43 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 Tanzania, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited unless with a permit signed by an authorised officer44

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Tanzania, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful44

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In Tanzania, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to only those firearms specified on the owner's firearms licence33

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Tanzania, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined29

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Tanzania, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated29 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Tanzania include45 46 42 47 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 Tanzania include45 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Tanzania include43 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Tanzania do not include29 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Tanzania, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law48 40 41 17 49 50

Firearm Tracing

In Tanzania, state authorities carry out51 30 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Tanzania, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit33 37 10

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Tanzania, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit33 37 10

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Tanzania, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm52 is 15 years in prison and a fine53 54

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Tanzania are known to have55 56 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

ChartIn Tanzania, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2013: 1,22557
2011: 4,60458
2008: 2,77255

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2013: 3,19343
2010: 10,98759
2009: 5,66059 56
2006: 2,77259
2004: 3,84755
2003/10: 14,52560 56 55 16
2003: 1,92155
2003/11: 17,41959

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Tanzania, it is not state policy43 36 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, Tanzania 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 200661 62

Southern African Development Community

As a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Tanzania signed the SADC Declaration Concerning Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials in March 2001. This laid the ground for the August, 2001 adoption of the legally binding SADC Protocol on Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials63

Regional Centre on Small Arms

In March 2000, as a member of the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), Tanzania 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 ratified64 65 by Tanzania

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 signed66 by Tanzania.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified67 by Tanzania

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 ratified68 by Tanzania

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Tanzania 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 Aspects69

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Tanzania against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 2570 71 72 73 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Tanzania has submitted one or more national reports74 30 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Tanzania, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated75 30

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Tanzania, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated75 30

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Tanzania submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent75 30

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated30 by Tanzania to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided30 to Tanzania by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Tanzania has not declared76 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Tanzania has been a Member State of the United Nations since 196177

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list78 Tanzania as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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