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

Kenya — 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 Kenya is

2017: 750,0001
2007: 530,0002 3

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 1.501
2007: 1.584 3

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In Kenya, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 1,1075

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In Kenya, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 2,2005

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In Kenya, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 1,8725

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Kenya ranked at No. 613

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

ChartThe number of licensed gun owners in Kenya is reported to be

2016: 6,5006
2002: 5,0007

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Kenya is

2016: 0.014
2002: 0.02

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Kenya is reported to be

2017: 8,1361
1999: 6,4815

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Kenya is 0.024

Estimated Number of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,8 but in Kenya there are estimated to be

2017: 741,8641

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Kenya are reported to have 45,7909 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In Kenya, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms10 11 12 13

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Kenya are reported to have 51,52714 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Kenya, annual homicides by any means total

2015: 2,64815
2014: 2,649
2013: 2,878
2012: 2,76116
2011: 2,64117 16 18 19
2010: 2,23917 16 18
2009: 2,214
2008: 2,037
2007: 1,281 16 18
2006: 1,286 16 18 20
2005: 1,260
2004: 1,395 16 18

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

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

2015: 5.7515
2014: 5.90
2013: 6.59
2012: 6.49
2011: 6.38
2010: 5.55
2009: 5.58
2008: 5.294 16 18 21
2007: 3.416 18 21
2006: 3.516 18 20 21
2005: 3.5
2004: 4.016 18 21
2003: 4.1421
2002: 9.98
2001: 5.29
2000: 5.84
1999: 5.39
1998: 5.53
1997: 5.73
1996: 4.20
1995: 4.31

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Kenya, annual male homicides by any means total

2015: 1,93322
2014: 2,053
2010: 1,715

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Kenya, annual female homicides by any means total

2015: 71522
2014: 596
2010: 524

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Kenya, annual suicides by any means total

2010: 16223
2009: 265

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

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

2010: 0.404
2009: 0.67

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

ChartIn Kenya, the annual number of non-fatal firearm injuries is

2006: 12024
1994-99: 22525

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Kenya, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence and if the manufacturing is on behalf of the government26 27 28 29 30

Home-made Guns

In Kenya, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be low31

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Kenya, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law32 33 34 35 36

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Kenya is reported by Customs to be US$340,94137 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Kenya, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law32 38 33 39 35 36

Firearm Imports (Number)

The annual number of firearms imported to Kenya is reported to be 51,50040 (2006-2010)

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Kenya is reported by Customs to be US$15,819,12437 (2011)41

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Kenya is high42 43 44

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Kenya, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law45

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Kenya includes46 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 Kenya is categorised as restrictive47

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Kenya includes the Firearms Act, 195448 and the Security Amendment Act of 201427 35

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Kenya are regulated by the chief licensing officer, appointed by the Commissioner of Police49

Right to Possess Firearms

In Kenya, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law50 51 52 53

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Kenya, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic and semi-automatic self-loading military assault rifles of 7.62mm or 5.56mm calibre, or of any other calibre from time to time specified by the Minister, or firearms fitted with sound suppressors, or AK-47, G3 and MP5 and other similar firearms as may be specified by the Minister54 55 56 39 34 57

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Kenya, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited54 55 19

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Kenya, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited54 55

Regulation of Handguns

In Kenya, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence54 55 19

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Kenya, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law19

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Kenya, only licensed gun owners52 53 19 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Kenya are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example personal protection53 58 59

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Kenya is 12 years for miniature rifles and up to 20 gauge shotguns, or 14 years for other permitted firearms60 59

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Kenya must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, and domestic violence53 61 62 59 19 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Kenya, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required63

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Kenya stipulates62 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Kenya, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required63 64 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Kenya, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one year53

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Kenya are permitted to possess only the number of firearms indicated on their licence65

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Kenya are permitted to possess only the quantity of ammunition indicated on their licence65

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Kenya, the law requires66 67 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 Kenya, licensed firearm dealers are required68 69 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Kenya, licensed gun makers are required27 67 26 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Kenya, State agencies are required70 71 67 72 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 Kenya, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without a permit73 74

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Kenya, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful73 75 69

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

The number of licensed firearm dealers in Kenya is reported to be 1064

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Kenya, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined63

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Kenya, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated63 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Kenya include76 77 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 Kenya include76 78 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Kenya include79 71 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Kenya include80 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Kenya, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law81 82 83 27 67 84 85 72

Firearm Tracing

In Kenya, state authorities carry out83 72 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Kenya, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition will be86 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Kenya, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited87 77 19

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Kenya, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited87 77 19

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Kenya, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm88 is 15 years in prison for prohibited and specified firearms, and 10 years for non-prohibited firearms52 57

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Kenya are known to have89 90 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 Kenya, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be 1,65491 (2011) and 2,22692 (2010)

Exchanged in Gun Buyback

In Kenya, the total number of firearms exchanged for monetary or in-kind compensation during recent gun buyback and disposal programmes is reported to be 1993 (2008)

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

In Kenya, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be 2,13494 (2010-2013) 95

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2011: 4,27391
2010: 2,54592 96
2009: 2,49890
2003/13: 25,17995
2003/08: 20,13689 97

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Kenya, it is state policy98 99 100 90 91 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, Kenya 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 2006101 102

Regional Centre on Small Arms

In March 2000, as a member of the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), Kenya adopted the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa, then on 21 April 2004 adopted the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States, a legally-binding multilateral protocol of which the RECSA is depository. The Nairobi Protocol has since been signed, and ratified103 104 by Kenya

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, lists105 Kenya 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 2006106 by Kenya.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed107 by Kenya

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 ratified108 by Kenya

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Kenya 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 Aspects109

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Kenya against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 101110 111 112 113 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Kenya has submitted one or more national reports114 115 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Kenya, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated116 115

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Kenya, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated116 115

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Kenya submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent116 115 117 118

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated115 by Kenya to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided115 to Kenya by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Kenya has not declared119 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Kenya has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1963120

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list121 Kenya as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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