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American Samoa — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

ChartThe estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in American Samoa is

2017: 4001
2002: 2502

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

ChartThe estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in American Samoa is

2017: 0.71
2002: 0.42

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in American Samoa is reported to be 2502

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in American Samoa is 0.42

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in American Samoa is reported to be

2017: 2501
2002: 2502 3

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in American Samoa is 0.42

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in American Samoa there are estimated to be

2017: 1501

Government Guns

Routine Arming of Police

In American Samoa, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms4 3

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in American Samoa are reported to have 905 firearms

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In American Samoa, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is prohibited6

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from American Samoa is reported by Customs to be US$67,1147 (2008)

Firearm Imports

In American Samoa, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law8 9

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in American Samoa is negligible10 3

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In American Samoa, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law11

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in American Samoa do not include11 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 American Samoa is categorised as restrictive12

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in American Samoa includes the Chapter 42 of the Criminal Justice Code, 197913

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in American Samoa are regulated by the Commissioner of Public Safety, and the Attorney General14 15 16 9

Right to Possess Firearms

In American Samoa, the right to private gun ownership is conditionally guaranteed by the US Constitution,17 as limited by federal law18 and state law19

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In American Samoa, civilians are not allowed to possess any firearm other than 12, 16, 20 and 410 gauge shotguns and 22 caliber rifles14 6 16

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In American Samoa, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited6 14

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

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

Regulation of Handguns

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

Gun Ownership and Possession

In American Samoa, only licensed gun owners14 8 15 20 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in American Samoa are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting, pest control21

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in American Samoa is 18 years22

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in American Samoa must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health and addiction14 23 24 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In American Samoa, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required21

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in American Samoa does not stipulate11 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In American Samoa, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required11 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In American Samoa, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one year15

Licensing Records

In American Samoa, authorities maintain a record25 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in American Samoa are permitted to possess any number of firearms11

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in American Samoa are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition11

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In American Samoa, the law requires25 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 American Samoa, licensed firearm dealers are not required11 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In American Samoa, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without a licence issued by the Commissioner of Public Safety16

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In American Samoa, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful, except in some approved cases of transferring 'Grandfathered' firearms16 26

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in American Samoa is obliged23 27 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 American Samoa is obliged23 27 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In American Samoa, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to the number stated on the issued licence8 26

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In American Samoa, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined11

Regulation of Gun Shows

In American Samoa, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated11 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in American Samoa do not include11 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 American Samoa do not include11 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in American Samoa do not include11 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In American Samoa, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law28

Firearm Tracing

In American Samoa, state authorities do not carry out11 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In American Samoa, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not11 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In American Samoa, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited29

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In American Samoa, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited29

Gun Free Zones

In American Samoa, private guns are prohibited in churches and places of worship, schools, any election district on election day, any government building, or any place used for lawful public assemblage29

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In American Samoa, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm30 is a 'Class C' felony24

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In American Samoa, it is not state policy31 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

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 American Samoa

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In American Samoa, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated33

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In American Samoa, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated33

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of American Samoa submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was not apparent33

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, American Samoa is not a Member State of the United Nations34

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list35 American Samoa as a Participating State


Short References

1.

Karp, Aaron.2018.‘Civilian Firearms Holdings, 2017.’ Estimating Global Civilian-Held Firearms Numbers.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,18 June. (Q13434)Full Citation

2.

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford.2003.‘Civilian Firearm Ownership in Pacific Nations, 2002.’ Small Arms in the Pacific.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,31 March. (Q364)Full Citation

3.

Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu. 2014. ‘DPS Makes the Case for Arming the Police.’ Samoa News. 20 March. (N323) Full Citation

4.

Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu. 2013. ‘In Spite of Public Concerns, Cops Will Be Given Guns Says DPS Commish.’ Samoa News. 26 November. (N314) Full Citation

5.

Karp, Aaron.2018.‘Law Enforcement Firearms Holdings, 2017.’ Estimating Global Law Enforcement Firearms Numbers.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,18 June. (Q13435)Full Citation

6.

American Samoa.1978.‘Prohibited Weapons.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978) - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q373)Full Citation

7.

Marsh, Nicholas.2014.‘Database of Authorised Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons.’ NISAT Small Arms Trade Database.Oslo:Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers,22 December. (Q16)Full Citation

8.

American Samoa.1978.‘Licensing Regulations.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978) - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q368)Full Citation

9.

American Samoa.1978.‘Tranfer Regulations.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978) - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q375)Full Citation

10.

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford.2003.‘Stockpiles and Trafficking in the Pacific: The illicit small arms trade.’ Small Arms in the Pacific.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,31 March. (Q148)Full Citation

11.

American Samoa.1978.‘Weapons.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978), Title 46, Chapter 42 - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q4877)Full Citation

12.

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

13.

American Samoa.1978.‘Weapons.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978), Title 46, Chapter 42 - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q4876)Full Citation

14.

American Samoa.1978.‘Licensing Regulations.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978) - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q367)Full Citation

15.

American Samoa.1978.‘Licensing Regulations.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978) - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q372)Full Citation

16.

American Samoa.1978.‘Transfer Regulations.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978) - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q376)Full Citation

17.

USA.1791.‘Second Amendment to the Constitution.’ Constitution of the United States, The Bill of Rights.Washington, DC:Congress of the United States of America,15 December. (Q1954)Full Citation

18.

Scalia, J.2008.‘District of Columbia et al. v. Heller.’ Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.Washington, DC:Supreme Court of the United States,26 June. (Q8502)Full Citation

19.

American Samoa.1978.‘Weapons.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978), Title 46, Chapter 42 - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q9085)Full Citation

20.

American Samoa.1978.‘License-Possession Required When Carrying Arms.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978), Title 46, Chapter 42 - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q4873)Full Citation

21.

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford.2003.‘Genuine Reason: A Snapshot of Pacific Definitions - American Samoa.’ Small Arms in the Pacific.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,31 March. (Q369)Full Citation

22.

American Samoa.1978.‘Unlawful Transfer of Weapons.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978) - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q381)Full Citation

23.

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford.2003.‘Pacific Small Arms Legislation: Domestic and regional issues.’ Small Arms in the Pacific.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,31 March. (Q370)Full Citation

24.

American Samoa.1978.‘Unlawful Possession of Firearms.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978) - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q378)Full Citation

25.

American Samoa.1978.‘Marking of Arms for Identification.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978) - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q377)Full Citation

26.

American Samoa.1978.‘Sales to Persons Without Licenses - Grandfather Clause.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978), Title 46, Chapter 42 - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q4874)Full Citation

27.

USDoJ.1996.‘American Samoa - A Brady State.’ Survey of State Procedures Related to Firearm Sales.Washington, DC:United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics,1 May. (Q371)Full Citation

28.

American Samoa.1978.‘Possession of a Defaced Firearm.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978), Title 46, Chapter 42 - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q4872)Full Citation

29.

American Samoa.1978.‘Unlawful Use of Weapons.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978) - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q374)Full Citation

30.

GunPolicy.org. 2015. ‘Penalty for Unlawful Firearm Possession.’ Definition and Selection Criteria.
Sydney School of Public Health, 22 January.
(G93) Full Citation

31.

American Samoa.1978.‘Violation - Penalty.’ Criminal Justice Code (1978), Title 46, Chapter 42 - Weapons.Pago Pago:Legislative Assembly,13 December. (Q4875)Full Citation

32.

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

33.

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

34.

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

35.

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