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Armed violence prevention, gun control laws and the small arms trade:

Botswana — 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 Botswana is

2017: 97,0001
2007: 87,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 4.101
2007: 4.92

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In Botswana, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 4113

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Botswana ranked at No. 1424

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Botswana ranked at No. 1022

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Botswana is reported to be

2017: 32,9011
2003: 30,9845
2002: 32,9013 2
1997: 29,0956 7
1996: 28,8066
1995: 28,507

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Botswana is

2003: 1.748
2002: 1.888
1997: 1.86
1996: 1.89
1995: 1.93

Estimated Number of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,9 but in Botswana there are estimated to be

2017: 64,0991

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Botswana are reported to have 17,10010 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In Botswana, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm11

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Botswana are reported to have 11,00012 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Botswana, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 36813
2011: 22014
2010: 303
2009: 289
2008: 281
2007: 280
1997: 21715
1996: 207
1995: 242

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

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

2012: 18.413
2010: 15.3216
2009: 14.86
2008: 14.70
2007: 14.91
2006: 11.9017 18
2005: 13.40
2004: 17.8517
2003: 14.98
2002: 10.26
2001: 12.15
2000: 12.84
1997: 13.888 17
1996: 13.61
1995: 16.38

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

In Botswana, annual male homicides by any means total

2010: 27819

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

In Botswana, the annual rate of male homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2010: 27.8919

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

In Botswana, annual female homicides by any means total

2010: 2519

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

In Botswana, the annual rate of female homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2010: 2.4719

Gun Homicides

In Botswana, annual firearm homicides total

2001: 5120

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

In Botswana, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2001: 2.988

Gun Suicides

In Botswana, annual firearm suicides total

2001: 2920

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2001: 1.698

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Botswana, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence,21 but is not conducted in practice22

Home-made Guns

In Botswana, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be low23

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Botswana, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law24 25 26 27 28

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Botswana is reported by Customs to be US$10,13729 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Botswana, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law24 25 30 31 26 27 32 28

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Botswana is reported by Customs to be US$1,349,49429 (2011)33

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Botswana is low34

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Botswana, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law35 36

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Botswana include37 28 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 Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Botswana includes the Arms and Ammunition Act of 197938 39 5

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Botswana are regulated by the Commissioner of Police38

Right to Possess Firearms

In Botswana, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law40 41

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Botswana, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic weapons42 and handguns43

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Botswana, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited with only narrow exemptions42 14

Regulation of Handguns

In Botswana, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is prohibited43 14

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Botswana, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law14

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Botswana, only licensed gun owners44 30 3 14 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Botswana are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm30

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Botswana is 18 years45 3

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Botswana must pass a background check which considers criminal and mental health3 30 14 records

Firearm Safety Training

In Botswana, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required3 for a firearm licence

Licensing Records

In Botswana, authorities maintain a record31 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Botswana are permitted to possess up to three firearms3

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Botswana are permitted to possess only 100 rounds of ammunition3

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Botswana, the law requires31 46 38 3 47 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 Botswana, licensed firearm dealers are required48 49 31 46 28 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Botswana, licensed gun makers are required48 31 46 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Botswana, State agencies are required50 46 51 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Botswana, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited49 52

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Botswana, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful49 52 30 28

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

The number of licensed firearm dealers in Botswana is reported to be

2002: 3928

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Botswana include53 54 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 Botswana include53 54 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Botswana include51 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Botswana, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law32 55

Firearm Tracing

In Botswana, state authorities carry out56 32 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Botswana, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law14

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Botswana, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm57 is 10 years in prison44 52 42 58 59 25 21

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Botswana are known to have60 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

ChartIn Botswana, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2017: 5561
2016: 19
2013: 66162
2011: 19063
2004: 3,21360
1981: 1,608

Small Arms Destroyed

ChartIn Botswana, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be

2011: 1,64664
2004: 7760

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Botswana, it is state policy60 52 65 66 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

African Union

In June 2006, as a member of the African Union, Botswana adopted an African Common Position to take to the Conference to Review the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA), held in June 200667 68

Southern African Development Community

As a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Botswana signed the SADC Declaration Concerning Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials in March 2001. This laid the ground for the August, 2001 adoption of the legally binding SADC Protocol on Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials69

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 signed70 by Botswana.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed71 by Botswana

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 signed72 by Botswana

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Botswana 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 Aspects73

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Botswana against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 3374 75 76 77 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Botswana has submitted one or more national reports78 36 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Botswana, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated79 36

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Botswana, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated79 36

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Botswana submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent36

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated36 by Botswana to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided36 to Botswana by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Botswana has not declared80 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Botswana has been a Member State of the United Nations since 196681

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list82 Botswana as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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