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Venezuela — 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 Venezuela is 1,600,000 to 4,100,0001 2

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Venezuela is 10.73 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Venezuela ranked at No. 274

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Venezuela ranked at No. 593

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Venezuela there are estimated to be 1,100,000 to 2,700,0001 2

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Venezuela are reported to have 281,0001 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Venezuela are reported to have 76,0001 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Venezuela, annual homicides by any means total

2010: 13,0805
2009: 13,9866 5
2008: 14,584
2007: 13,156
2006: 12,257
2005: 9,964
2004: 9,716
2003: 12,622
2002: 10,639
2001: 8,703
2000: 8,053
1999: 5,9685 7
1998: 4,550
1997: 4,2255
1996: 4,961
1995: 4,481

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

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

2010: 45.15
2009: 48.936 5
2008: 51.86
2007: 48.00
2006: 45.00
2005: 37.28
2004: 37.00
2003: 49.00
2002: 42.00
2001: 35.00
2000: 33.00
1999: 25.05 7
1998: 19.4
1997: 18.45
1996: 22.0
1995: 20.3

Gun Homicides

In Venezuela, annual firearm homicides total 2009: 11,1155

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

In Venezuela, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is 2009: 39.05

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Venezuela, annual suicides by any means total

2008: 6868
2007: 622
2006: 760
2005: 915
2004: 911
2003: 986
2002: 1,077
2001: 1,132
2000: 1,100
1994: 1,0899

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

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

2008: 2.448
2007: 2.25
2006: 2.80
2005: 3.42
2004: 3.47
2003: 3.82
2002: 4.25
2001: 4.55
2000: 4.55
1994: 4.249

Gun Suicides

In Venezuela, annual firearm suicides total 2000: 2839

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

In Venezuela, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is 2000: 1.109

Unintentional Gun Deaths

In Venezuela, annual unintentional shooting deaths total 2000: 1039

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

In Venezuela, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is 2000: 0.409

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

In Venezuela, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total 2000: 2,5819

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

In Venezuela, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is 2000: 10.049

ProductionGun Industry

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, Venezuela is ranked 'small'10

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Venezuela is reported by Customs to be US$2,78211 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Venezuela, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law12

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Venezuela is reported by Customs to be US$6,332,69011 (2011)

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Venezuela, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law12

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Venezuela is categorised as restrictive13

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Venezuela, civilians are not allowed to possess machine guns, sub-machine guns, carbines, pistols and revolvers, be they automatic or semi-automatic. Civilians are only authorized to hold .22 rifles and shotguns14

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Venezuela, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited14

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Venezuela, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited14

Regulation of Handguns

In Venezuela, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is prohibited14

Gun Ownership and Possession

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Venezuela are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, self-defence, hunting and sport15 16

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Venezuela is 18 years15

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Venezuela must pass a background check which considers mental and criminal15 records

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Venezuela gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every three years17

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Venezuela, the law requires18 14 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 Venezuela, State agencies are required19 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Venezuela include17 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Venezuela, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law19

Firearm Tracing

In Venezuela, state authorities carry out20 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Venezuela, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit17

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Venezuela, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited17

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Venezuela, the maximum penalty for illicit firearm possession is 8 years prison17

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Small Arms Destroyed

In Venezuela, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 200,000 (2003-11)21

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Venezuela, it is not state policy22 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), Venezuela 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 ratified23 24 by Venezuela

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 signed25 by Venezuela.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed26 by Venezuela

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 ratified27 by Venezuela

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Venezuela 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 Aspects28

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Venezuela has submitted one or more national reports29 30 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Venezuela, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated31 30

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Venezuela, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated31 30

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated30 by Venezuela to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Venezuela has not declared32 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Venezuela has been a Member State of the United Nations since 194533

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list34 Venezuela as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

To see where Venezuela 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 Venezuela, Rounded.’ Surplus Arms in South America: A Survey.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 August. (Q5318)Full Citation

2.

Karp, Aaron.2009.‘Country Summaries – Venezuela.’ Surplus Arms in South America: A Survey.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 August. (Q5319)Full Citation

3.

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

4.

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

5.

UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - Venezuela.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6337)Full Citation

6.

OAS Observatory on Citizen Security.2011.‘Intentional Homicide.’ Report on Citizen Security in the Americas 2011.Washington, DC:Organisation of American States,1 January. (Q5678)Full Citation

7.

UNODC.2004.‘Recorded Intentional Homicide, Completed.’ Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (1998-2000).Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,19 March. (Q91)Full Citation

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OAS Observatory on Citizen Security.2011.‘Suicide.’ Report on Citizen Security in the Americas 2011.Washington, DC:Organisation of American States,1 January. (Q5680)Full Citation

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Jackson, Thomas.2005.‘Global Gun Deaths.’ NISAT Firearm Mortality Database 2005.Oslo:Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers,1 January. (Q12)Full Citation

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Small Arms Survey.2001.‘Ranking of World's Small Arms Producers (By Sales).’ Small Arms Survey 2001: Profiling the Problem.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q103)Full Citation

11.

Marsh, Nicholas.2013.‘Database of Authorised Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons.’ NISAT Small Arms Trade Database.Oslo:Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers,14 February. (Q16)Full Citation

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

13.

Newton, George D and Franklin E Zimring.1969.‘Firearm Licensing: Permissive v Restrictive.’ Firearms & Violence in American Life: A staff report submitted to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence.Washington, DC:US Government Printing Office,1 January. (Q22)Full Citation

14.

Parker, Sarah.2011.‘Balancing Act: Regulation of Civilian Firearm Possession.’ Small Arms Survey 2011: States of Security.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,6 July. (Q5378)Full Citation

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Parker, Sarah.2011.‘Balancing Act: Regulation of Civilian Firearm Possession.’ Small Arms Survey 2011: States of Security.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,6 July. (Q5430)Full Citation

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Parker, Sarah.2011.‘Balancing Act: Regulation of Civilian Firearm Possession.’ Small Arms Survey 2011: States of Security.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,6 July. (Q5396)Full Citation

17.

Parker, Sarah.2011.‘Balancing Act: Regulation of Civilian Firearm Possession.’ Small Arms Survey 2011: States of Security.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,6 July. (Q5449)Full Citation

18.

Venezuela.2004.‘Report on the Programme of Action (Informe sobre el Programa de Acción).’ National Report of Venezuela 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:Permanent Mission of Venezuela to the United Nations,28 April. (Q4639)Full Citation

19.

Venezuela.2006.‘Marking, Registration and Tracing (Marcado, Mantenimiento de Registros y Localización).’ National Report of Venezuela 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:Permanent Mission of Venezuela to the United Nations,23 March. (Q4640)Full Citation

20.

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:International Action Network on Small Arms and the Biting the Bullet project,26 June. (Q323)Full Citation

21.

Juan Reardon. 2011. ‘Venezuelans Begin Public Debate on Law of Firearms Control and Disarmament.’ Venezuela Analysis. 12 August. (N259) Full Citation

22.

Godnick, William and Helena Vasquez.2003.‘Venezuela.’ Small Arms Control in Latin America: Monitoring the Implementation of Small Arms Control Projects (MISAC).London:International Alert, Security and Peacebuilding Programme,1 March. (Q5561)Full Citation

23.

OAS / UNODA.1997.‘Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives, Ammunition and Other Related Materials / CIFTA.’ United Nations Programme of Action Implementation Support System: Regional Organisations.New York:Organization of American States / United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,14 November. (Q3244)Full Citation

24.

OAS.1997.‘Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives, Ammunition and Other Related Materials (CIFTA): Signatures and Ratifications.’ Organization of American States, Department of International Law.Washington DC:Organization of American States,14 November. (Q3262)Full Citation

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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

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

27.

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

28.

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

29.

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

30.

UNODA.2009.‘PoA-ISS Country Profiles.’ UN small arms Programme of Action (UNPoA) – Implementation Support System.New York:United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs,29 October. (Q1309)Full Citation

31.

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

32.

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

33.

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

34.

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