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El Salvador — 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 El Salvador is

2017: 737,0001
2012: 450,0002 3 4 5 6

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 121
2012: 9.72 4

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, El Salvador ranked at No. 897

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, El Salvador ranked at No. 924

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in El Salvador is reported to be

2017: 344,5871
2016: 344,5878
2009: 215,0009 10 5
2006: 149,71911 6
2005: 175,0004
2000: 156,32510

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in El Salvador is

2016: 5.6012
2009: 3.499 12
2006: 2.5112
2005: 2.94
2000: 2.67

Estimated Number of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,13 but in El Salvador there are estimated to be 128,0005 to 280,00014 6 15 16 17

Estimated Rate of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,13 but in El Salvador the rate of such firearms per 100 people is estimated to be 2.1112 to 4.70

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of El Salvador are reported to have 127,84018 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in El Salvador are reported to have 30,00019 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 1,59020
2012: 1,563
2011: 2,77121
2010: 2,637
2009: 3,04222
1999: 1,86323

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn El Salvador, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 26.0320
2012: 25.66
2011: 45.64
2010: 43.57
2009: 50.4412
1999: 32.19

Total Number of Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual male deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 1,49320
2012: 1,401
2011: 2,423
2010: 2,320

Total Number of Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual female deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 9720
2012: 162
2011: 348
2010: 317

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual homicides by any means total

2015: 6,65624
2014: 3,921
2013: 2,16420
2012: 2,335
2011: 3,605
2010: 3,381
2009: 4,382
2008: 3,179
2007: 3,497
2006: 3,928
2005: 3,812
2004: 2,77325 26 27 28
2003: 2,197
2002: 2,224
2001: 2,207
2000: 2,341
1999: 3,84526
1998: 5,584
1997: 6,573
1996: 6,792
1995: 7,977

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

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

2015: 108.6424
2014: 64.20
2013: 26.0320
2012: 25.66
2011: 45.64
2010: 43.57
2009: 71.21
2008: 51.94
2007: 57.35
2006: 64.67
2005: 63.01
2004: 45.825 26 27 28
2003: 36.4
2002: 37.0
2001: 36.9
2000: 39.325 26 27 28 29
1999: 65.026 29
1998: 95.026
1997: 112.6
1996: 117.3
1995: 139.1

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual male homicides by any means total

2015: 6,08130
2014: 3,627
2013: 1,97720
2012: 2,055
2011: 3,122
2010: 2,939

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual female homicides by any means total

2015: 57530
2014: 294
2013: 18720
2012: 280
2011: 483
2010: 442

Gun Homicides

ChartIn El Salvador, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 1,57820
2012: 1,550
2011: 2,765
2010: 2,635
2009: 3,33025 31 16
2008: 2,13025 26 31
2007: 2,79825 31
2006: 3,06425 26 31
2005: 2,909
2004: 2,29431
2003: 1,595
2002: 1,44126 31
2001: 1,640
2000: 1,90231
1999: 1,83723

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 25.8320
2012: 25.45
2011: 45.54
2010: 43.54
2009: 55.2212 31
2008: 35.4612 26 31
2007: 46.7812 31 28
2006: 51.3212 26 31 28
2005: 48.84
2004: 38.031
2003: 26.5
2002: 24.126 31
2001: 27.5
2000: 32.031
1999: 28.2023

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2014: 76.8%16
2013: 67%32
2012: 63%32 25
2011: 70%32 25 33
2010: 74%32 25
2009: 76%25
2008: 67%
2007: 80%
2006: 78%
2005: 77%
2002: 50.8%26
2001: 45.7%
1999: 75%34
1995: 55%

Male Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn El Salvador, annual male firearm homicides total

2013: 1,48220
2012: 1,391
2011: 2,417
2010: 2,318

Female Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn El Salvador, annual female firearm homicides total

2013: 9620
2012: 159
2011: 348
2010: 317

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual suicides by any means total

2013: 48720
2012: 514
2011: 490
2010: 399
2009: 65335
2008: 699
2007: 666
2006: 51735 36
2005: 57635
2004: 628
2003: 758
2002: 666
2001: 699
2000: 642
1999: 82137

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

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

2013: 7.9720
2012: 8.44
2011: 8.07
2010: 6.59
2009: 10.635
2008: 11.4
2007: 10.9
2006: 8.535 36
2005: 9.5
2004: 10.435
2003: 12.6
2002: 11.1
2001: 11.7
2000: 10.8
1999: 7.9023

Male Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual male suicides by any means total

2013: 38920
2012: 398
2011: 372
2010: 304

Female Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual female suicides by any means total

2013: 9820
2012: 116
2011: 118
2010: 95

Gun Suicides

ChartIn El Salvador, annual firearm suicides total

2013: 920
2012: 11
2011: 221
2010: 2
2009: 822
1999: 1623

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn El Salvador, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.1520
2012: 0.18
2011: 0.03
2010: 0.03
2009: 0.1312
1999: 0.223 37

Male Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn El Salvador, annual male firearm suicides total

2013: 820
2012: 9
2011: 2
2010: 2

Female Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn El Salvador, annual female firearm suicides total

2013: 120
2012: 2
2011: 0
2010: 0

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2013: 020
2012: 2
2011: 421
2010: 0
1999: 1023

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn El Salvador, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0520
2012: 0.03
2011: 0
2010: 0
1999: 0.1523

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2013: 020
2012: 1
2011: 4
2010: 0

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2013: 020
2012: 1
2011: 0
2010: 0

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn El Salvador, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 320
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0

Male Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn El Salvador, annual male shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 320
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0

Female Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn El Salvador, annual female shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 020
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

Rate of Non-fatal Gun Injury per 100,000 People

ChartIn El Salvador, the annual rate of non-fatal firearm injury per 100,000 population is

2001: 57.0038
2000: 65.00

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In El Salvador, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence,39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 but is not conducted in practice48

Home-made Guns

In El Salvador, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate49

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In El Salvador, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law40 50 51 52 53 54 55

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from El Salvador is reported by Customs to be US$60056 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In El Salvador, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law40 50 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 51 52 53 55

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to El Salvador is reported by Customs to be US$2,667,24556 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in El Salvador is high64 65 66

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In El Salvador, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law67

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in El Salvador include50 68 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 El Salvador is categorised as restrictive69

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in El Salvador includes the Act No. 655 of 1999 on the Control and Regulation of Arms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials,70 the Decree No. 25 of 2000, Regulation of the Act on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials71 and the Act on Levies Relative to the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunitions, Explosives and Related Materials of 200472

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in El Salvador are regulated by the Ministry of National Defence, the National Civil Police73 40 54 55 and the Logistics Division8

Right to Possess Firearms

In El Salvador, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law74 75

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In El Salvador, civilians are not allowed to possess weapons of war, automatic firearms,76 77 78 armour-piercing, incendiary and explosive ammunition79 80

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In El Salvador, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited76 78 54 33

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In El Salvador, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence81 39 82

Regulation of Handguns

In El Salvador, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence81 39 82 33

Law Regulates Long Guns

In El Salvador, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law81 39 82 33

Gun Ownership and Possession

In El Salvador, only licensed gun owners39 82 40 83 84 85 86 87 88 55 33 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in El Salvador is 21 years to possess41 and 24 years to carry83 84

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in El Salvador must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health41 83 84 54 33 and health89 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In El Salvador, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required90

Partner to be Advised or Interviewed

In El Salvador, licensing authorities are not required90 to conduct interviews with, or to advise an applicant's spouse, partner, or next of kin before issuing a gun licence

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in El Salvador does not stipulate90 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In El Salvador, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required41 91 92 89 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In El Salvador, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every three years41 93 88

Licensing Records

In El Salvador, authorities maintain a record94 95 96 97 88 55 5 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in El Salvador are permitted to possess any number of firearms90

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in El Salvador are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition90

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In El Salvador, the law requires98 83 96 99 97 88 5 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 El Salvador, licensed firearm dealers are required100 101 102 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In El Salvador, licensed gun makers are required103 104 105 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In El Salvador, State agencies are required99 106 107 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 El Salvador, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited108

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In El Salvador, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful39 40 109 110 98 41 47

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In El Salvador, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to one firearm every two years, with exceptions111

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In El Salvador, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined90

Regulation of Gun Shows

In El Salvador, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated90 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in El Salvador do not include90 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 El Salvador include42 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in El Salvador include63 106 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in El Salvador do not include90 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In El Salvador, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law112 99 113 114

Firearm Tracing

In El Salvador, state authorities carry out115 114 116 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In El Salvador, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are83 112 50 117 55 88 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In El Salvador, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law82 33 118

Gun Free Zones

In El Salvador, private guns are prohibited in public institutions, social centres, cultural and educational sites, restaurants, hotels, pensions, bars, shows, places where alcoholic beverages are served, beer bars, billiard saloons, public places, gas stations, amusement and natural parks, as well as during public events, parades, demonstrations or strikes, civic, religious or sporting reunions, and in public transportation119 120

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In El Salvador, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm121 is suspension of the licence or registration certificate and a fine122 123 124 125

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in El Salvador are known to have126 127 128 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Surrendered in Gun Amnesty

In El Salvador, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be

1991/96: 10,200126

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

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

2015: 3,2298 129
2013: 3,424130
2012: 7,726131 132
2011: 4,456131 5 133 132
2010: 4,770134 131
2009: 2,826135
2006-08: 30,053127
2004: 7,345128

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2015: 1,544136
2006/08: 28,036127
2003: 30,000137

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In El Salvador, it is state policy138 139 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Central American Integration System

As a member of the Central American Integration System (SICA), El Salvador is party to the 2007 Central American Programme on Small Arms Control and the Code of Conduct of Central American States on the Transfer of Arms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Material140

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), El Salvador adopted the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives, Ammunition and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), a legally binding multilateral treaty of which the OAS is depository. The CIFTA Convention has since been signed and ratified141 142 by El Salvador

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The UNCCPCJ, a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, lists143 El Salvador as an elected member

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 signed in 2006144 by El Salvador.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified145 by El Salvador

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has been signed and ratified146 by El Salvador

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, El Salvador 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 Aspects147

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored El Salvador against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 90148 149 150 151 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, El Salvador has submitted one or more national reports152 153 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In El Salvador, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated154 153

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In El Salvador, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated154 153

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of El Salvador submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent154

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated153 by El Salvador to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided153 to El Salvador by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, El Salvador has not declared155 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, El Salvador has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945156

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list157 El Salvador as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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