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United Kingdom — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

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StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

ChartThe estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in the United Kingdom is

2017: 2,452,2781 2 3
2010: 2,373,186
2009: 2,361,668
2006: 2,250,085
2005: 2,256,1191 2 3 4

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

ChartThe estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in the United Kingdom is

2017: 3.795 6 3
2010: 3.78
2009: 3.80
2006: 3.70
2005: 3.745 6 3 4

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In the United Kingdom, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 524,4897 8 9

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In the United Kingdom, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 1,537,96710 11 8

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In the United Kingdom, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 14,5018 12

Proportion of Households with Firearms

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2005: 6.0%13
1999/2003: 3.0%
1995/98: 4.1%
1989: 5.2%

Proportion of Households with Handguns

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the percentage of households with one or more handguns is reported to be

2005: 0.4%13
1999/2003: 0.1%
1995/98: 0.4%
1989: 0.5%

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

ChartThe number of licensed gun owners in the United Kingdom is reported to be

2017: 710,21114 15 16
2010: 859,47717 7 18 9 19
2009: 852,035
2008: 816,562

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in the United Kingdom is

2017: 1.105
2010: 1.37
2009: 1.37
2008: 1.32

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in the United Kingdom is reported to be

2017: 2,229,344 20 11 16
2010: 2,157,44317 7 21 9 19
2009: 2,146,971
2006: 2,045,532
2005: 2,051,017

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in the United Kingdom is

2017: 3.445
2010: 3.44
2009: 3.45
2006: 3.36
2005: 3.40

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

ChartUnlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in the United Kingdom there are estimated to be

2017: 222,9341 22 3
2010: 215,743
2009: 214,697
2006: 204,553
2005: 205,102

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

ChartUnlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in the United Kingdom the rate of illicit firearms per 100 people is estimated to be

2017: 0.345
2010: 0.34
2009: 0.35
2006: 0.34
2005: 0.34

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of the United Kingdom are reported to have 900,00023 24 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In the United Kingdom, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm in England, Wales and Scotland, but carry one or more firearms in Northern Ireland25 26 27 28

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in the United Kingdom are reported to have 272,88429 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 14430 31 32 33 34
2012: 131
2011: 14635 36 37
2010: 16538 39 40 41
2009: 15042 43 44
2008: 17445 46 47
2007: 13048 49 50
2006: 21151 52 53
2005: 16254 55 56
2004: 15657 58 59
2003: 16360 61 62
2002: 16963 64 65
2001: 15666 67 68
2000: 23469 70 71
1999: 21272 73 74
1998: 19675 76 77
1997: 18778 79 80
1996: 24781 82 83

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.225
2012: 0.20
2011: 0.23
2010: 0.26
2009: 0.24
2008: 0.28
2007: 0.21
2006: 0.35
2005: 0.27
2004: 0.26
2003: 0.27
2002: 0.28
2001: 0.26
2000: 0.40
1999: 0.36
1998: 0.34
1997: 0.32
1996: 0.42

Total Number of Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 13784
2012: 120
2011: 126
2010: 147

Total Number of Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 784
2012: 3
2011: 11
2010: 8

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 65385 86 87 88 89
2011: 76590 86 87 88
2010: 712
2009: 765
2008: 879
2007: 85690 86 87 88 91
2006: 83290 86 87 88
2005: 958
2004: 914
2003: 1,11290 86 87 88 92
2002: 95890 86 93 88
2001: 919
1999: 82890 86 93 94

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

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

2012: 1.035 88 89
2011: 1.215 88
2010: 1.14
2009: 1.24
2008: 1.42
2007: 1.41
2006: 1.38
2005: 1.60
2004: 1.53
2003: 1.87
2002: 1.62
2001: 1.56
1999: 1.415

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male homicides by any means total

2014: 38795
2013: 11184
2012: 99
2011: 139
2010: 126

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female homicides by any means total

2014: 20795
2013: 3484
2012: 48
2011: 52
2010: 54

Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 2330
2012: 12
2011: 3835 36 37 30
2010: 3338 39 40 30
2009: 2642 43 44 30
2008: 4045 46 47 30
2007: 1548 49 50 30
2006: 6151 52 53 30
2005: 3854 55 56 30
2004: 3657 58 59 30
2003: 2960 61 62 30
2002: 3963 64 65 30
2001: 3866 67 68 30
2000: 7169 70 71
1999: 4572 73 74 30
1998: 3375 76 77 30
1997: 4578 79 80
1996: 8481 82 83

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.0430
2012: 0.02
2011: 0.065 30
2010: 0.05
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.06
2007: 0.02
2006: 0.10
2005: 0.06
2004: 0.06
2003: 0.05
2002: 0.07
2001: 0.06
2000: 0.12
1999: 0.08
1998: 0.06
1997: 0.085
1996: 0.14

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

In the United Kingdom, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2012: 8%89

Male Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male firearm homicides total

2013: 1884
2012: 10
2011: 28
2010: 21

Female Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female firearm homicides total

2013: 584
2012: 2
2011: 4
2010: 6

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual handgun homicides total

2013: 130
2012: 1
2008: 445 46 30
2007: 249 30
2006: 351 52 30
2005: 355 30
2004: 258 30
2003: 361 30
2001: 167 30

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0030
2012: 0.00
2008: 0.015 30
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.00
2005: 0.00
2004: 0.00
2003: 0.01
2001: 0.00

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual long gun homicides total

2013: 630
2012: 4
2011: 1035
2010: 638 30
2009: 442 43 30
2008: 445 46 30
2007: 648 49 50 30
2006: 851 52 53 30
2005: 654 55 56 30
2004: 1157 58 59 30
2003: 660 62 30
2002: 863 65 30
2001: 866 67 30

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0130
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.025 30
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.01
2004: 0.02
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.01
2001: 0.01

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual gun homicides (other) total

2013: 1630
2012: 7
2011: 2835 36 37 30
2010: 2738 39 40 30
2009: 2242 43 44 30
2008: 3245 46 47 30
2007: 749 50 30
2006: 5051 52 53 30
2005: 2954 55 56 30
2004: 2357 58 59 30
2003: 2060 61 62 30
2002: 3163 64 65 30
2001: 2966 68 30

Rate of Gun Homicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of gun homicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0330
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.045 30
2010: 0.04
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.05
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.08
2005: 0.05
2004: 0.04
2003: 0.03
2002: 0.05
2001: 0.05

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual suicides by any means total

2011: 6,04596
2010: 5,608
2009: 5,675
2008: 5,706
2007: 5,377
2006: 5,554
2005: 5,671
2004: 5,850
2003: 5,731
2002: 5,826
2001: 5,932
2000: 6,124
1999: 6,255
1998: 6,354
1997: 5,816
1996: 5,877
1995: 6,083
1994: 6,045
1993: 6,212
1992: 6,378
1991: 6,317
1990: 6,437

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

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2011: 11.896
2010: 11.1
2009: 11.3
2008: 11.4
2007: 10.8
2006: 11.3
2005: 11.5
2004: 12.0
2003: 11.8
2002: 12.1
2001: 12.4
2000: 12.9
1999: 13.2
1998: 13.5
1997: 12.4
1996: 12.4
1995: 13.0
1994: 12.8
1993: 13.3
1992: 13.7
1991: 13.6
1990: 13.9

Male Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male suicides by any means total

2013: 3,82884
2012: 3,511
2011: 3,432
2010: 3,223

Female Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female suicides by any means total

2013: 99284
2012: 932
2011: 959
2010: 963

Gun Suicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual firearm suicides total

2013: 10631
2012: 92
2011: 9335 36 37 31
2010: 10938 39 40 31
2009: 10142 43 44 31
2008: 12045 46 47 31
2007: 10048 49 50 31
2006: 13051 52 53 31
2005: 11154 55 56 31
2004: 10257 58 59 31
2003: 11760 61 62 31
2002: 10863 64 65 31
2001: 10766 67 68 31
2000: 13469 70 71
1999: 14072 73 74 31
1998: 13675 76 77 31
1997: 13778 79 80
1996: 13381 82 83
1995: 18497 98 99

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.1731
2012: 0.14
2011: 0.155 31
2010: 0.17
2009: 0.16
2008: 0.19
2007: 0.16
2006: 0.21
2005: 0.18
2004: 0.17
2003: 0.20
2002: 0.18
2001: 0.18
2000: 0.235
1999: 0.245 31
1998: 0.23
1997: 0.235
1996: 0.23
1995: 0.32

Male Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male firearm suicides total

2013: 10484
2012: 91
2011: 88
2010: 107

Female Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female firearm suicides total

2013: 284
2012: 1
2011: 5
2010: 2

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual handgun suicides total

2013: 231
2012: 1
2011: 136 31
2010: 140 31
2008: 445 46 31
2007: 148 31
2006: 251 52 31
2005: 155 31
2003: 460 61 31
2002: 363 64 31
2001: 266 68 31

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of handgun suicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0031
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.005 31
2010: 0.00
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.00
2005: 0.00
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.01
2001: 0.00

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the number of long gun suicides is

2013: 5431
2012: 40
2011: 4335 36 37 31
2010: 5938 39 40 31
2009: 5542 43 44 31
2008: 6445 46 47 31
2007: 5248 49 50 31
2006: 7351 52 53 31
2005: 5654 55 56 31
2004: 5057 58 59 31
2003: 5960 61 62 31
2002: 5263 64 65 31
2001: 5966 67 68 31

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of long gun suicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0831
2012: 0.06
2011: 0.075 31
2010: 0.09
2009: 0.09
2008: 0.10
2007: 0.08
2006: 0.12
2005: 0.09
2004: 0.08
2003: 0.10
2002: 0.09
2001: 0.10

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual gun suicides (other) total

2013: 5031
2012: 51
2011: 4935 36 37 31
2010: 4938 39 40 31
2009: 4642 43 44 31
2008: 5245 46 47 31
2007: 4748 49 50 31
2006: 5551 52 53 31
2005: 5454 55 56 31
2004: 5257 58 59 31
2003: 5460 61 62 31
2002: 5363 64 65 31
2001: 4666 67 68 31

Rate of Gun Suicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of gun suicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0831
2012: 0.08
2011: 0.085 31
2010: 0.08
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.08
2007: 0.08
2006: 0.09
2005: 0.09
2004: 0.09
2003: 0.09
2002: 0.09
2001: 0.08

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2013: 532
2012: 6
2011: 235 37 32
2010: 838 32
2009: 1142 32
2008: 545 32
2007: 348 50 32
2006: 551 52 53 32
2005: 154 32
2004: 357 59 32
2003: 460 61 32
2002: 263 65 32
2001: 366 67 32
2000: 1269 70
1999: 672 32
1998: 732
1996: 282
1995: 1497 98

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0132
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.005 32
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.02
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.00
2004: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.00
2001: 0.01
2000: 0.025
1999: 0.015 32
1998: 0.0132
1996: 0.005
1995: 0.02

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2013: 584
2012: 6
2011: 1
2010: 8

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2013: 084
2012: 0
2011: 1
2010: 0

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2013: 132
2006: 151 32
2000: 269

Rate of Unintentional Handgun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by handgun per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0032
2006: 0.005
2000: 0.00

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2013: 232
2012: 3
2011: 137 32
2010: 338 32
2009: 542 32
2008: 345 32
2007: 150 32
2006: 252 53 32
2005: 154 32
2003: 260 61 32
2002: 263 65 32
2001: 166 32

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by long gun per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0032
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.005 32
2010: 0.00
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.00
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.00
2005: 0.00
2003: 0.00
2002: 0.00
2001: 0.00

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional shooting deaths by firearm (other) total

2013: 232
2012: 3
2011: 135 32
2010: 538 32
2009: 642 32
2008: 245 32
2007: 248 32
2006: 251 32
2005: 232
2004: 357 59 32
2003: 260 32
2002: 132
2001: 266 67 32

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by firearm (other) per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0032
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.005 32
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.00
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.00
2005: 0.00
2004: 0.01
2003: 0.00
2002: 0.00
2001: 0.00

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 1033
2012: 13
2011: 1035 37 33
2010: 1138 40 33
2009: 842 33
2008: 745 33
2007: 1148 50 33
2006: 1351 53 33
2005: 1154 56 33
2004: 1557 59 33
2003: 1360 61 62 33
2002: 2063 65 33
2001: 866 68 33
2000: 1769 71
1999: 2172 73 74
1998: 2775 76 77
1997: 580
1996: 2881 82 83
1995: 3297 98

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0233
2012: 0.02
2011: 0.025 33
2010: 0.02
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.02
2006: 0.02
2005: 0.02
2004: 0.03
2003: 0.02
2002: 0.03
2001: 0.01
2000: 0.035
1999: 0.04
1998: 0.05
1997: 0.01
1996: 0.05
1995: 0.06

Male Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 1084
2012: 13
2011: 9
2010: 11

Female Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 084
2012: 0
2011: 1
2010: 0

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual deaths by handgun in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 133
2004: 1
2003: 160 33
2002: 163
2001: 133

Rate of Handgun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unknown-cause handgun deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0033
2004: 0.00
2003: 0.005 33
2002: 0.005
2001: 0.0033

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual deaths by long gun in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 333
2012: 6
2011: 635 37 33
2010: 638 40 33
2009: 442 33
2008: 345 33
2007: 248 50 33
2006: 451 53 33
2005: 754 56 33
2004: 857 59 33
2003: 560 62 33
2002: 1463 65 33
2001: 766 68 33

Rate of Long Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unknown-cause long gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0033
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.015 33
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.00
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.01
2004: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.02
2001: 0.01

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual deaths by firearm (other) in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 633
2012: 7
2011: 435 37 33
2010: 538 40 33
2009: 442 33
2008: 445 33
2007: 948 50 33
2006: 951 33
2005: 454 33
2004: 757 33
2003: 760 61 62 33
2002: 563 33
2001: 166 33

Rate of Gun Death (Other) from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unknown-cause gun deaths (other) per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0133
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.015 33
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.01
2004: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.01
2001: 0.00

Legal Intervention Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual legal-intervention gun homicides total

2013: 034
2012: 8
2011: 335 36
2010: 438
2009: 442 43
2008: 245
2007: 149
2006: 251
2005: 154

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In the United Kingdom, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence100 101 102

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, the United Kingdom was ranked 'medium'103

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In the United Kingdom, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law104 105 106 107 108

Firearm Exports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms exported from the United Kingdom is reported by manufacturers to be

2017: 54,531109
2016: 36,071
2015: 101,546
2014: 87,652
2013: 98,511
2012: 131,894
2011: 27,513
2010: 67,029
2009: 59,969
2008: 277,551
2007: 255,847
2006: 358,904

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from the United Kingdom is reported by Customs to be US$112,052,237 (2011)110 111 112 113

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, the United Kingdom was categorized as 'major'114 115 116

Firearm Imports

In the United Kingdom, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law106 117 118 108

Firearm Imports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms imported to the United Kingdom is reported to be

2017: 4,081109
2016: 4,467
2015: 1,104
2014: 2,666
2013: 30,061
2012: 4,246
2011: 3,573
2010: 7,734
2009: 39,211
2008: 26,791
2007: 59,436
2006: 519

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to the United Kingdom is reported by Customs to be US$121,643,569 (2011)110 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in the United Kingdom is moderate127 128

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In the United Kingdom, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law129 130 131 132

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in the United Kingdom include107 133 105 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

Transparency of Small Arms Transfers

ChartIn its annual Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, the Small Arms Survey compares public reporting among major arms exporting nations on a scale from strong to weak (25 to zero). In recent years, the United Kingdom scored

2017: 19.25134
2016: 19.75135
2014: 19.50136
2013: 19.25137
2012: 19.75138
2011: 20.00139
2010: 18.75140
2009: 19.00141
2008: 19.25142
2007: 16.00143
2006: 13.75144
2005: 16.50145
2004: 15.00146

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in the United Kingdom is categorised as restrictive147

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in the United Kingdom includes the Firearms Act 1968,148 the Export Control Act 2002,104 the Export Control Order 2008,149 the Import, Export and Customs Powers (Defence) Act 1939,106 the Import of Goods (Control) Order 1954,117 the European Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons,150 151 the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012, the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 2003,152 and the Convention of 1 July 1969 on Reciprocal Recognition of Proofmarks on Small Arms153

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in the United Kingdom are regulated by the Chief Officer of the Police154 and the European Commission151

Right to Possess Firearms

In the United Kingdom, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law155 156 154

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In the United Kingdom, civilians are not allowed to possess semi automatic and automatic firearms, handguns and armour piercing ammunition157 158 159 160

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In the United Kingdom, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited157 158 159 160 89

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In the United Kingdom, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited157 158 161 162 160

Regulation of Handguns

In the United Kingdom, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is prohibited157 158 159 161 162 160 89

Law Regulates Long Guns

In the United Kingdom, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law163 157 89

Gun Ownership and Possession

In the United Kingdom, only licensed gun owners164 154 165 159 161 166 89 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in the United Kingdom are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting, target shooting or collection154 163 167 168 169

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in the United Kingdom is 14 years for licence, 17 years for purchase, or 21 years to purchase shotguns170 169

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in the United Kingdom must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health and addiction171 172 173 169 89 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In the United Kingdom, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required174 173

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in the United Kingdom stipulates175 176 177 178 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In the United Kingdom, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required179 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In the United Kingdom, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every five years180 173 166

Licensing Records

In the United Kingdom, authorities maintain a record17 7 18 9 19 158 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in the United Kingdom are permitted to possess only an approved number of firearms154

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in the United Kingdom are permitted to possess only approved quantities of ammunition154 181

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In the United Kingdom, the law requires182 17 7 21 9 19 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 the United Kingdom, licensed firearm dealers are required183 158 184 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In the United Kingdom, licensed gun makers are required183 102 158 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In the United Kingdom, State agencies are required185 182 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 the United Kingdom, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without a permit to acquire100 186

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In the United Kingdom, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful100 187 188 162

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in the United Kingdom is obliged172 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Background Checks for Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in the United Kingdom is obliged172 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in the United Kingdom include189 190 173 191 192 193 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 the United Kingdom do not include179 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in the United Kingdom include185 194 195 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in the United Kingdom include196 190 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In the United Kingdom, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law102 118 182

Firearm Tracing

In the United Kingdom, state authorities carry out197 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In the United Kingdom, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are198 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In the United Kingdom, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited199 89

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In the United Kingdom, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited199 89

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In the United Kingdom, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm200 is five to 10 years in prison, depending on gun type201 192 193

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in the United Kingdom are known to have202 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Surrendered in Gun Amnesty

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be

2016: 850203
2003: 43,908204
1996: 23,000205

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

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

2016: 3,988203
2013: 406206
2009/14: 3,348207

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2017: 3,668208
2016: 2,063
2015: 9,837185
2013: 1,383209
2012: 2,167210
1997/99: 185,000211
1992/2007: 543,000202
1992-2001: 540,000211

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In the United Kingdom, it is state policy212 185 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

European Union

As a member of the European Union, the United Kingdom is bound by the provisions of the ‘EU Firearms Directive’ – the 2007 Legislative Resolution on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons of the European Parliament213 214

European Union Export Reporting

Under the European Union Common Position on Arms Exports, the United Kingdom is bound to declare its transfers of military technology and equipment. Independent monitoring provides detailed comparisons of arms export reporting compliance across EU member states, and records that the United Kingdom has submitted one or more national reports215 on its arms transfers

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The UNCCPCJ, a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, lists216 the United Kingdom as an elected member

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 2006217 by the United Kingdom.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified218 by the United Kingdom

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, but not yet ratified219 by the United Kingdom

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, the United Kingdom 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 Aspects220

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored the United Kingdom against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 35221 222 223 224 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, the United Kingdom has submitted one or more national reports225 226 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In the United Kingdom, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated227 226

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In the United Kingdom, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated226

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of the United Kingdom submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent228 227 226

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated226 by the United Kingdom to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, the United Kingdom has declared229 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, the United Kingdom has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945230

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists231 the United Kingdom as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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