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Bhutan — 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 Bhutan is

2017: 6,0001
2007: 22,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 0.81
2007: 3.52

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Bhutan ranked at No. 1633

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Bhutan ranked at No. 1152

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in Bhutan is reported to be

2017: 4,3091

Estimated Number of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,4 but in Bhutan there are estimated to be

2017: 1,6911

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Bhutan are reported to have 15,2005 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Bhutan are reported to have 4,0006 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Bhutan, annual homicides by any means total

2016: 97
2015: 12
2014: 21
2013: 24
2012: 33
2011: 32
2010: 16
2009: 16
2008: 18
2007: 14
2006: 9
2005: 11
2004: 15
2003: 5
2002: 19
2001: 19
2000: 18

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

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

2016: 1.207
2015: 1.62
2014: 2.75
2013: 3.31
2012: 4.60
2011: 4.52
2010: 2.29
2009: 2.32
2008: 2.64
2007: 2.08
2006: 1.48 9 10
2005: 1.7
2004: 2.4
2003: 0.8
2002: 3.2
2001: 3.3
2000: 3.28 9

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Bhutan, annual male homicides by any means total

2016: 511
2015: 10
2010: 911

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

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

2016: 1.1811
2015: 2.39

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Bhutan, annual female homicides by any means total

2016: 411
2015: 2
2010: 511

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

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

2016: 1.0711
2015: 0.54

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Bhutan, annual firearm homicides total

2016: 07
2015: 0

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2016: 07
2015: 0

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Bhutan, annual suicides by any means total

2016: 9112
2015: 91
2010: 81
2000: 71

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

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

2016: 12.1312
2015: 12.27
2010: 11.57
2000: 11.72

Male Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Bhutan, annual male suicides by any means total

2016: 5912
2015: 59
2010: 52
2000: 44

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

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

2016: 15.0812
2015: 15.23
2010: 14.18
2000: 13.73

Female Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Bhutan, annual female suicides by any means total

2016: 3212
2015: 32
2010: 29
2000: 27

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

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

2016: 8.9212
2015: 9.02
2010: 8.71
2000: 9.46

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Imports

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Bhutan is reported by Customs to be US$35,45513 (2011)

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Bhutan is categorised as restrictive14

Law Regulates Civilian Access to Firearms

In Bhutan, civilian possession of guns is regulated by law15

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Bhutan includes the Fire Arms And Ammunition Act of 199016

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Bhutan are regulated by the Royal Bhutan Police17

Right to Possess Firearms

In Bhutan, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law18 19

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Bhutan, civilians are not allowed to possess handguns and long guns above a certain calibre20

Law Regulates Automatic Weapons

In Bhutan, civilian possession of automatic weapons is regulated by law15

Law Regulates Handguns

In Bhutan, civilian possession of handguns is regulated by law20 15

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Bhutan, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law20 15

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Bhutan, only licensed gun owners21 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Bhutan are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example personal protection21

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Bhutan is 21 years21

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Bhutan must pass a background check which considers mental and criminal21 15 records

Licensing Records

In Bhutan, authorities maintain a record17 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Bhutan, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law15

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Bhutan, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm22 is a prison sentence of up to 5 years or a fine of up to 10,000 ngultrum23

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 signed24 by Bhutan.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed25 by Bhutan

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 signed26 by Bhutan

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Bhutan 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 Aspects27

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Bhutan has yet to submit a national report28 29 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Bhutan, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated29

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Bhutan, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated29

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Bhutan submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was not apparent29

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated29 by Bhutan to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Bhutan has not declared30 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Bhutan has been a Member State of the United Nations since 194531

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list32 Bhutan as a Participating State

BackgroundSustainable Development Goal Profile

About SDG 16

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals set by the United Nations to be implemented by all member states by 2030. Adopted in 2015, they outline a vision of development in which peace and security are an integral part. SDG 16,33 which seeks to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development,” includes targets and indicators focused on reducing violence (Target 16.1) and the proliferation of illicit arms (Target 16.4). The indicators – or measurement criteria – of these targets include the number of victims of intentional homicide (Indicator 16.1.1), the number of conflict-related deaths (Indicator 16.1.2), and the number of illicit firearms collected and traced (Indicator 16.4.2). In light of these targets and indicators, GunPolicy.org provides granular national data pertaining to homicides, gun homicides, conflict deaths, disarmament efforts, and marking and tracing.

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Bhutan, annual homicides by any means total

2016: 97
2015: 12
2014: 21
2013: 24
2012: 33
2011: 32
2010: 16
2009: 16
2008: 18
2007: 14
2006: 9
2005: 11
2004: 15
2003: 5
2002: 19
2001: 19
2000: 18

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

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

2016: 1.207
2015: 1.62
2014: 2.75
2013: 3.31
2012: 4.60
2011: 4.52
2010: 2.29
2009: 2.32
2008: 2.64
2007: 2.08
2006: 1.48 9 10
2005: 1.7
2004: 2.4
2003: 0.8
2002: 3.2
2001: 3.3
2000: 3.28 9

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Bhutan, annual male homicides by any means total

2016: 511
2015: 10
2010: 911

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

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

2016: 1.1811
2015: 2.39

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Bhutan, annual female homicides by any means total

2016: 411
2015: 2
2010: 511

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

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

2016: 1.0711
2015: 0.54

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Bhutan, annual firearm homicides total

2016: 07
2015: 0

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2016: 07
2015: 0

Conflict Deaths

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

Global Peace Index

To see where Bhutan ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index, and then click on Bhutan on the map or in the "Select Country" menu on the right of the web page


Short References

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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

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GunPolicy.org. 2019. ‘Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms.’ Definition and Selection Criteria.
Sydney School of Public Health, 24 January.
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Karp, Aaron.2018.‘Military Firearms Holdings, 2017.’ Estimating Global Military-Owned Firearms Numbers.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,18 June. (Q13436)Full Citation

6.

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

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9.

UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - Bhutan.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6270)Full Citation

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UNODC.2017.‘Intentional Homicide Victims by Sex.’ Crime and Drugs Data.Vienna:UNODC,19 May. (Q13356)Full Citation

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Bhutan.2014.‘Private Arms Licensing Unit.’ Crime & Operations Branch.Thimphu:Royal Bhutan Police,1 January. (Q14102)Full Citation

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21.

Bhutan.1990.‘Conditions for Issuing Licence.’ Fire Arms And Ammunition Act 1990.Thimphu:Royal Government of Bhutan,1 August. (Q14104)Full Citation

22.

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

23.

Bhutan.1990.‘General Provision.’ Fire Arms And Ammunition Act 1990.Thimphu:Royal Government of Bhutan,1 August. (Q14103)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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