Citation(s) from the literature library

Karp, Aaron. 2012 ‘Country Analyses: Dominican Republic.’ Measurement and Use of Statistical Data to Analyze Small Arms in the Caribbean and Latin America; Section IV, pp. 21-22. Mexico City: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Center of Excellence, National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). 28 April

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Dominican Republic

There has been considerable confusion about civilian gun ownership in the Dominican Republic, due to an unprecedented spurt in demand for new gun licenses 2011. The country has a well-respected licensing system, the obvious explanation for the eight month period in which the number of Dominicans with firearms licenses grew from 152,000 to more than 333,000.(49) As the new license holders buy weapons or legalize their previously unregistered guns, the total of firearms registered seems likely to grow just as rapidly.

At the end of 2011, the expected growth in registrations had not been seen yet. Even so, registration already was growing rapidly, from 178,193 civilian firearms in 2005 to 198,426 at the end of 2010. This is equal to four percent annual growth in legally registered firearms, a rapid rate in global experience.(50) If it continues uninterrupted, four percent growth will double the registered inventory in 18 years. When compared to licenses, registration figures suggest that Dominican gun owners tend to have only slightly more than one firearm per license. If everything is proportional, the licensing spurt will push registrations up by more than 120 percent within a period of months, by approximately 240,000 additional guns, to a total of some 440,000 registered guns nation-wide.

This does not include illegal or unregistered firearms. Currently these estimated here at 3 unregistered for every legal gun, for a combined total of approximately 600,000. How this will change as new licensees register additional guns is hard to predict. If they buy mostly new guns, the total unregistered might not change much at first. But if they mostly register illicit guns they already had, the number of illicit firearms will decline. Dominican officials believe that most of the illegal firearms entering the country come by sea or air, not across their land border with Haiti.(51) Licensing reforms probably will reduce this trade, in the short run.


49) Licensed owners from Wanda Mendez, "Se expiden permisos para 181,381 armas en 8 meses", La República, 15 Febrero 2012. 181,381 permits are issued weapons in 8 months. When old licenses are included the total rise to 333,436.

50) 178,193 in Report on Citizen Security in the Americas 2011, Washington, DC: Organization of American States. 1 January 2011, p. 22; 198,426 registered in 2010 from Espinoza, Arms Trafficking in Latin America: a qualitative perspective on the phenomenon - 1, unpublished manuscript for UNODC, Mexico City, 2012, p. 28.

51) "Most guns are smuggled by air and sea, not from Haiti- top official," Dominican Today, 4 January 2012.

ID: Q9547

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