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

Malawi — 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 Malawi is

2017: 47,0001
2007: 92,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 0.301
2007: 0.72

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Malawi ranked at No. 1403

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Malawi ranked at No. 1602

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in Malawi is reported to be

2003: 30,0004

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Malawi is

2003: 0.235

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Malawi is reported to be

2017: 12,5001
2010: 10,0006
2005: 35,0002

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Malawi is

2010: 0.065
2005: 0.26

Estimated Number of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,7 but in Malawi there are estimated to be

2017: 34,5001

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Malawi are reported to have 24,4808 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In Malawi, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm9

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Malawi are reported to have 6,40010 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Malawi, annual homicides by any means total

2013: 43811
2012: 27912
2011: 343
2010: 520
2009: 320
2008: 78012 13
2007: 69012
2006: 821
2005: 200
2004: 411
2003: 300
2002: 56712 14
2001: 900
2000: 70012

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

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

2013: 3.3511
2012: 1.7815
2011: 2.25
2010: 3.52
2009: 2.2
2008: 5.512 13
2007: 5.012
2006: 6.2
2005: 1.5
2004: 3.312 16
2003: 2.512
2002: 4.812 5 16
2001: 7.712 5
2000: 6.212

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

In Malawi, annual male homicides by any means total

2012: 244.1317

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

In Malawi, annual female homicides by any means total

2012: 3517

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Malawi, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is prohibited18 19

Home-made Guns

In Malawi, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be high20 21

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Malawi, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law22

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Malawi is reported by Customs to be US$836,27323 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Malawi, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law22

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Malawi is reported by Customs to be US$3,523,83123 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Malawi is high21 24

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Malawi, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law22

Transparency of Small Arms Transfers

ChartIn its annual Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, the Small Arms Survey compares public reporting among major arms exporting nations on a scale from strong to weak (25 to zero). In recent years, Malawi scored

2014: 3.7525
2013: 4.5026

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Malawi includes the 1967 Firearms Act27 28

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Malawi are regulated by the Registrar of Firearms19 29

Right to Possess Firearms

In Malawi, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law30 31

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

Law Regulates Automatic Weapons

In Malawi, civilian possession of automatic weapons is regulated by law11

Law Regulates Handguns

In Malawi, civilian possession of handguns is regulated by law11

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Malawi, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law11

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Malawi, only licensed gun owners28 19 11 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Malawi must pass a background check which considers criminal19 29 11 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Malawi, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required28 19

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Malawi, the law requires6 28 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 Malawi, licensed firearm dealers are required29 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Malawi, State agencies are required6 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Malawi, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful19 18 29

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

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

2004: 118

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Malawi, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law32 28

Firearm Tracing

In Malawi, state authorities do not carry out33 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Malawi, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not33 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Law Regulates Firearms in Public

In Malawi, carrying a gun in a public place is regulated by law11

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Malawi, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm34 is 14 years in prison29

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Malawi are known to have24 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 Malawi, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2002: 10535 14
2001: 16
2000: 6935
1999: 91

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2014: 3,00024

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Malawi, it is state policy24 28 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, Malawi 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 200636 37

Southern African Development Community

As a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Malawi 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 Materials38

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 200739 by Malawi.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified40 by Malawi

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 ratified41 by Malawi

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Malawi 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 Aspects42

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Malawi against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 13943 44 45 46 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Malawi has submitted one or more national reports47 48 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Malawi, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated49

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Malawi, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated49

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Malawi submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent48

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated48 by Malawi to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided48 to Malawi by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Malawi has not declared50 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Malawi has been a Member State of the United Nations since 196451

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list52 Malawi as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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