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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 Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in El Salvador there are estimated to be 128,0005 to 280,00013 6 14 15 16

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in El Salvador the rate of illicit 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 127,84017 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in El Salvador are reported to have 30,00018 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 1,59019
2012: 1,563
2011: 2,77120
2010: 2,637
2009: 3,04221
1999: 1,86322

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: 26.0319
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: 1,49319
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: 9719
2012: 162
2011: 348
2010: 317

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual homicides by any means total

2015: 6,65623
2014: 3,921
2013: 2,16419
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: 2,77324 25 26 27
2003: 2,197
2002: 2,224
2001: 2,207
2000: 2,341
1999: 3,84525
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: 108.6423
2014: 64.20
2013: 26.0319
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: 45.824 25 26 27
2003: 36.4
2002: 37.0
2001: 36.9
2000: 39.324 25 26 27 28
1999: 65.025 28
1998: 95.025
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: 6,08129
2014: 3,627
2013: 1,97719
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: 57529
2014: 294
2013: 18719
2012: 280
2011: 483
2010: 442

Gun Homicides

ChartIn El Salvador, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 1,57819
2012: 1,550
2011: 2,765
2010: 2,635
2009: 3,33024 30 15
2008: 2,13024 25 30
2007: 2,79824 30
2006: 3,06424 25 30
2005: 2,909
2004: 2,29430
2003: 1,595
2002: 1,44125 30
2001: 1,640
2000: 1,90230
1999: 1,83722

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 25.8319
2012: 25.45
2011: 45.54
2010: 43.54
2009: 55.2212 30
2008: 35.4612 25 30
2007: 46.7812 30 27
2006: 51.3212 25 30 27
2005: 48.84
2004: 38.030
2003: 26.5
2002: 24.125 30
2001: 27.5
2000: 32.030
1999: 28.2022

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%15
2013: 67%31
2012: 63%31 24
2011: 70%31 24 32
2010: 74%31 24
2009: 76%24
2008: 67%
2007: 80%
2006: 78%
2005: 77%
2002: 50.8%25
2001: 45.7%
1999: 75%33
1995: 55%

Male Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn El Salvador, annual male firearm homicides total

2013: 1,48219
2012: 1,391
2011: 2,417
2010: 2,318

Female Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn El Salvador, annual female firearm homicides total

2013: 9619
2012: 159
2011: 348
2010: 317

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual suicides by any means total

2013: 48719
2012: 514
2011: 490
2010: 399
2009: 65334
2008: 699
2007: 666
2006: 51734 35
2005: 57634
2004: 628
2003: 758
2002: 666
2001: 699
2000: 642
1999: 82136

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: 7.9719
2012: 8.44
2011: 8.07
2010: 6.59
2009: 10.634
2008: 11.4
2007: 10.9
2006: 8.534 35
2005: 9.5
2004: 10.434
2003: 12.6
2002: 11.1
2001: 11.7
2000: 10.8
1999: 7.9022

Male Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual male suicides by any means total

2013: 38919
2012: 398
2011: 372
2010: 304

Female Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn El Salvador, annual female suicides by any means total

2013: 9819
2012: 116
2011: 118
2010: 95

Gun Suicides

ChartIn El Salvador, annual firearm suicides total

2013: 919
2012: 11
2011: 220
2010: 2
2009: 821
1999: 1622

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.1519
2012: 0.18
2011: 0.03
2010: 0.03
2009: 0.1312
1999: 0.222 36

Male Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn El Salvador, annual male firearm suicides total

2013: 819
2012: 9
2011: 2
2010: 2

Female Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn El Salvador, annual female firearm suicides total

2013: 119
2012: 2
2011: 0
2010: 0

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2013: 019
2012: 2
2011: 420
2010: 0
1999: 1022

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: 0.0519
2012: 0.03
2011: 0
2010: 0
1999: 0.1522

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2013: 019
2012: 1
2011: 4
2010: 0

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn El Salvador, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2013: 019
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: 319
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: 319
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: 019
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: 57.0037
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,38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 but is not conducted in practice47

Home-made Guns

In El Salvador, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate48

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In El Salvador, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law39 49 50 51 52 53 54

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from El Salvador is reported by Customs to be US$60055 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In El Salvador, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law39 49 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 50 51 52 54

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to El Salvador is reported by Customs to be US$2,667,24555 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in El Salvador is high63 64 65

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In El Salvador, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law66

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in El Salvador include49 67 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 restrictive68

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,69 the Decree No. 25 of 2000, Regulation of the Act on the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials70 and the Act on Levies Relative to the Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunitions, Explosives and Related Materials of 200471

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in El Salvador are regulated by the Ministry of National Defence, the National Civil Police72 39 53 54 and the Logistics Division8

Right to Possess Firearms

In El Salvador, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law73 74

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In El Salvador, civilians are not allowed to possess weapons of war, automatic firearms,75 76 77 armour-piercing, incendiary and explosive ammunition78 79

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In El Salvador, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited75 77 53 32

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In El Salvador, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence80 38 81

Regulation of Handguns

In El Salvador, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence80 38 81 32

Law Regulates Long Guns

In El Salvador, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law80 38 81 32

Gun Ownership and Possession

In El Salvador, only licensed gun owners38 81 39 82 83 84 85 86 87 54 32 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 possess40 and 24 years to carry82 83

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in El Salvador must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health40 82 83 53 32 and health88 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In El Salvador, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required89

Partner to be Advised or Interviewed

In El Salvador, licensing authorities are not required89 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 stipulate89 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 required40 90 91 88 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 years40 92 87

Licensing Records

In El Salvador, authorities maintain a record93 94 95 96 87 54 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 firearms89

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in El Salvador are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition89

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In El Salvador, the law requires97 82 95 98 96 87 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 required99 100 101 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 required102 103 104 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In El Salvador, State agencies are required98 105 106 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 prohibited107

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In El Salvador, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful38 39 108 109 97 40 46

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 exceptions110

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In El Salvador, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined89

Regulation of Gun Shows

In El Salvador, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated89 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in El Salvador do not include89 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 include41 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 include62 105 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 include89 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 law111 98 112 113

Firearm Tracing

In El Salvador, state authorities carry out114 113 115 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 are82 111 49 116 54 87 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In El Salvador, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law81 32 117

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 transportation118 119

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In El Salvador, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm120 is suspension of the licence or registration certificate and a fine121 122 123 124

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in El Salvador are known to have125 126 127 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: 10,200125

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 128
2013: 3,424129
2012: 7,726130 131
2011: 4,456130 5 132 131
2010: 4,770133 130
2009: 2,826134
2006-08: 30,053126
2004: 7,345127

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2015: 1,544135
2006/08: 28,036126
2003: 30,000136

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In El Salvador, it is state policy137 138 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 Material139

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 ratified140 141 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, lists142 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 2006143 by El Salvador.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified144 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 ratified145 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 Aspects146

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. 90147 148 149 150 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 reports151 152 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 designated153 152

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In El Salvador, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated153 152

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 apparent153

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated152 by El Salvador to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided152 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 declared154 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 1945155

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list156 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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