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Vietnam — 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 Vietnam is 1,100,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in Vietnam is 1.71

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In Vietnam, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 70,0002

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Vietnam ranked at No. 463

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Vietnam ranked at No. 1281

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Vietnam are reported to have 8,000,0004 - 9,849,6005 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Vietnam are reported to have 290,0006 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

In Vietnam, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

1995: 1317

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

In Vietnam, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

1995: 0.188

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Vietnam, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 3,0379
2011: 1,35810
2008: 1,34611

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

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

2012: 3.39
2011: 1.5610
2008: 1.611
2006: 1.9012
2005: 1.70
2004: 2.45
2002: 4.20
2000: 1.08
1999: 1.49
1996: 1.57

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Vietnam, annual firearm homicides total

2006: 83411
2005: 770
1995: 857

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2006: 1.011
2005: 0.9
1995: 0.107

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2011: 7%10
2006: 52.9%11
2005: 53.2%

Gun Suicides

In Vietnam, annual firearm suicides total

1995: 167

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

In Vietnam, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

1995: 0.027

Unintentional Gun Deaths

In Vietnam, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

1995: 307

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

1995: 0.047

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Vietnam, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence, but is not conducted in practice13 14

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Vietnam, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law15 14

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Vietnam is reported by Customs to be US$641,89916 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Vietnam, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law14 15 17

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Vietnam is reported by Customs to be US$886,80016 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Vietnam is high18

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Vietnam is categorised as restrictive19

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Vietnam includes the Governmental Decree No 47/CP August 12th 1996 on management of weapons, explosive materials and support devices20

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Vietnam are regulated by the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Security21

Right to Possess Firearms

In Vietnam, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law22 23

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Vietnam, civilians are not allowed to possess any firearms other than shotguns24 2

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Vietnam, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited24 10

Regulation of Handguns

In Vietnam, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is prohibited24 2 10

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Vietnam, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law24 10

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Vietnam, only licensed gun owners (for shotguns)24 2 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 Vietnam are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting2

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Vietnam is 18 years2

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Vietnam must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health and domestic violence2 10 records

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Vietnam stipulates25 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Vietnam, the law requires14 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 Vietnam, State agencies are required14 21 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 Vietnam include2 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Vietnam include21 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Vietnam include2 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Vietnam, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law13 26 14

Firearm Tracing

In Vietnam, state authorities carry out13 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Vietnam, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law10

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Vietnam, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm27 is 15 years in prison to life imprisonment28

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

In Vietnam, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be 41,30029 (2010-16)

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Vietnam, it is state policy21 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 signed30 by Vietnam.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed31 by Vietnam

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 signed32 by Vietnam

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Vietnam 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 Aspects33

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Vietnam against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 11534 35 36 37 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Vietnam has submitted one or more national reports38 39 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Vietnam, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated40 39

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Vietnam, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated39

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Vietnam submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent39

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated39 by Vietnam to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Vietnam has not declared41 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Vietnam has been a Member State of the United Nations since 197742

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list43 Vietnam as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

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9.

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10.

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12.

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13.

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19.

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20.

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21.

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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

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

24.

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25.

Kramer, Katherine.2001.‘Licensing Criteria.’ Legal Controls on Small Arms and Light Weapons in South East Asia.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and Nonviolence International South East Asia,1 July. (Q1932)Full Citation

26.

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27.

GunPolicy.org. 2015. ‘Penalty for Unlawful Firearm Possession.’ Definition and Selection Criteria.
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28.

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29.

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30.

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31.

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32.

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33.

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34.

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41.

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43.

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