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

Uruguay — 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 Uruguay is 1,100,0001 2 3 4

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in Uruguay is 32.61 4

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Uruguay ranked at No. 465

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Uruguay ranked at No. 94

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

ChartThe number of licensed gun owners in Uruguay is reported to be

2010: 1,1866
2009: 4,727
2008: 4,435

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Uruguay is

2010: 0.047
2009: 0.14
2008: 0.13

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Uruguay is reported to be

2015: 604,6328
2014: 580,0009
2010: 450,00010 11
2005: 593,02312 3 13

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Uruguay is

2015: 18.097
2014: 17.40
2010: 13.3510
2005: 18.167

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Uruguay there are estimated to be 500,0003 12

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Uruguay the rate of illicit firearms per 100 people is estimated to be 15.317

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Uruguay are reported to have 77,00014 3 15 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Uruguay are reported to have 11,00014 3 16 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Uruguay, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2010: 31317
2009: 30918
2000: 44519 20

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

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

2010: 9.517
2009: 9.387
2000: 13.82

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Uruguay, annual homicides by any means total

2013: 26021
2012: 26721 22
2011: 19921 22 19 23
2010: 20521 22 19 23 24
2009: 226
2008: 221
2007: 194
2006: 203
2005: 188
2004: 194
2003: 197
2002: 231
2001: 218
2000: 214
1999: 13625
1998: 122

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

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

2013: 7.6421
2012: 7.8721 22
2011: 5.8921 22 19 23
2010: 6.08
2009: 6.7621 22 19 23 24
2008: 6.63
2007: 5.84
2006: 6.13
2005: 5.69
2004: 5.88
2003: 5.96
2002: 6.98
2001: 6.59
2000: 6.48
1999: 4.1125 19
1998: 3.71
1997: 4.719
1996: 4.4
1995: 4.7

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Uruguay, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 15921
2012: 160
2011: 9821 22
2010: 8517
2009: 8718
2006: 4713
2005: 10726
2004: 9319 26 27
2003: 87
2002: 10919 26 28
2001: 182
2000: 8419 26 25
1999: 8725
1998: 75

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 4.787
2012: 4.82
2011: 2.96
2010: 2.617
2009: 2.647 24
2008: 3.3624
2007: 2.96
2006: 3.11
2005: 3.226 24
2004: 2.819 26 24
2003: 2.6
2002: 3.3
2001: 5.5
2000: 2.5
1999: 2.6325
1998: 2.28

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2013: 61%21
2012: 60%
2011: 49%21 22
2009: 51%18
2004: 46.5%19
2003: 44.2%
2002: 47.2%
2001: 83.5%
2000: 39.3%

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Uruguay, annual suicides by any means total

2010: 61529
2009: 54830 29
2008: 608
2007: 598
2006: 553
2005: 491
2004: 522
2003: 647
2002: 673
2001: 550
2000: 586
1990: 31820

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

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

2010: 18.637
2009: 16.430 7
2008: 18.2
2007: 18.0
2006: 16.7
2005: 14.9
2004: 15.8
2003: 19.6
2002: 20.3
2001: 16.6
2000: 17.8
1990: 9.3120

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Uruguay, annual firearm suicides total

2010: 14317
2009: 15418
2000: 24020

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2010: 4.317
2009: 4.6831
2000: 7.0320

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Uruguay, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2010: 8417
2009: 6618
2000: 11820

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2010: 2.547
2009: 2.00
2000: 3.4620

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2010: 117
2009: 218
2000: 320

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

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

2010: 0.037
2009: 0.06
2000: 0.09

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Uruguay, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence,32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 but is not conducted in practice40 41

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Uruguay, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Uruguay is reported by Customs to be US$46,10649 (2010)

Firearm Imports

In Uruguay, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law50 51 52 42 43 44 39 53 46 54 47 48

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Uruguay is reported by Customs to be US$2,359,22949 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Uruguay, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law55 48

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Uruguay include36 45 52 56 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 Uruguay is categorised as restrictive57

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Uruguay includes the Decree-Law No. 10415 of 1943,38 Decree No. 2605/943,53 Decree No. 365/969,58 Decree No. 652/970,59 and several other laws

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Uruguay are regulated by the Ministry of National Defence33 and the Material and Weapons Service60 61 34

Right to Possess Firearms

In Uruguay, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law62 63

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Uruguay, civilians are not allowed to possess firearms intended for the exclusive use of the military, navy, air force and police,64 65 66 such as all long guns for centre-fire cartridges and bullets with a calibre superior to 6.5 mm, automatic pistols of any brand or class whose calibre exceeds 7.65 mm and semi-automatic pistols of any brand or class whose calibre is above 9 mm,53 and incendiary, explosive ammunition or dum-dum bullets67 61

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Uruguay, private possession of fully automatic weapons is permitted under licence, except automatic pistols whose calibre exceeds 7.65 mm61 53

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Uruguay, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence, except semi-automatic pistols whose calibre is above 9 mm61 53

Regulation of Handguns

In Uruguay, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence, except automatic pistols whose calibre exceeds 7.65 mm and semi-automatic pistols whose calibre is above 9 mm61 53

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Uruguay, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law61 53

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Uruguay, only licensed gun owners68 69 70 61 71 72 73 74 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Uruguay is 18 years75 76

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Uruguay must pass a background check which considers criminal,59 health72 and mental health9 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Uruguay, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required77

Partner to be Advised or Interviewed

In Uruguay, licensing authorities are not required77 to conduct interviews with, or to advise an applicant's spouse, partner, or next of kin before issuing a gun licence

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Uruguay stipulates78 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Uruguay, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required72 9 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Uruguay, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every five years for the Competency Certificate for the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms,79 every ten years for the firearm possession certificate,80 and each year for the Permit to Carry Firearms81

Licensing Records

In Uruguay, authorities maintain a record60 82 74 71 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Uruguay are permitted to possess any number of firearms77

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Uruguay are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition77

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Uruguay, the law requires60 82 71 83 84 47 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 Uruguay, licensed firearm dealers are required85 86 87 88 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Uruguay, licensed gun makers are required39 37 40 41 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Uruguay, State agencies are required65 89 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 Uruguay, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited unless registered in the National Firearm Register83 and conducted by the Material and Weapons Service84 90

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Uruguay, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful87 91 92 74 93 84 39 88 75 76 58

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in Uruguay is obliged59 72 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 Uruguay is obliged59 72 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Uruguay, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined77

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Uruguay, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated77 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Uruguay include74 94 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 Uruguay include95 93 74 37 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Uruguay include65 96 97 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Uruguay include93 98 87 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Uruguay, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law99 100 101 102 103 104 40 54 105

Firearm Tracing

In Uruguay, state authorities carry out106 101 107 47 108 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Uruguay, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not77 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Uruguay, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law109 81 110 98 111

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Uruguay, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited98

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Uruguay, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited98

Gun Free Zones

In Uruguay, private guns are prohibited in electoral events, meetings, protests, indoor or outdoor games or entertainment events, cabaret, nightclubs, wineries, public dances, or where special provisions prohibit it111 66

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Uruguay, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm112 is six years in prison113 114 115 9 70 116 117 118 119 69

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Uruguay are known to have12 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 Uruguay, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2015: 200120
2013: 2,640121

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2015: 3,000122
2009: 2,352123 124
2008: 9,766123
2007: 7,857123 13
2006: 2,103123 12 13
2005: 1,512123 12
2004: 2,564
2003: 3,203
2002: 1,611
2001: 1,346
2000: 1,837
1999: 2,930
1998: 2,592

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Uruguay, it is state policy125 126 124 127 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Uruguay adopted the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives, Ammunition and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), a legally binding multilateral treaty of which the OAS is depository. The CIFTA Convention has since been signed and ratified128 129 by Uruguay

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 signed130 by Uruguay.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified131 by Uruguay

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 ratified132 by Uruguay

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Uruguay 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 Aspects133

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Uruguay against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 71134 135 136 137 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Uruguay has submitted one or more national reports138 108 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Uruguay, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated139 108

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Uruguay, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated108

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Uruguay submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent108

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated108 by Uruguay to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Uruguay has not declared140 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Uruguay has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945141

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list142 Uruguay as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

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Karp, Aaron.2009.‘Estimated Total Small Arms, Firearms, and Surpluses in Uruguay, Rounded.’ Surplus Arms in South America: A Survey.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 August. (Q5316)Full Citation

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