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

Marshall Islands — 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 the Marshall Islands is

2017: 3001
2002: 302

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 0.501
2002: 0.052

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in the Marshall Islands is reported to be

2002: 302

Government Guns

Routine Arming of Police

In the Marshall Islands, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm3

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in the Marshall Islands are reported to have 804 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

In the Marshall Islands, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 25

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

In the Marshall Islands, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2012: 4.686

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In the Marshall Islands, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence, but is not conducted in practice7 8 9

Home-made Guns

In the Marshall Islands, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be nonexistent10

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In the Marshall Islands, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law11 12 13 14

Firearm Imports

In the Marshall Islands, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law11 12 13 14

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to the Marshall Islands is reported by Customs to be US$4,52315 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in the Marshall Islands is negligible10

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In the Marshall Islands, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law16 14

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in the Marshall Islands do not include12 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 the Marshall Islands is categorised as restrictive17

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in the Marshall Islands includes the Weapons Control Act 1971 (Revised 2004)18 and Firearms Control Act 198319

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in the Marshall Islands are regulated by the Attorney General20

Right to Possess Firearms

In the Marshall Islands, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law21 22 23

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In the Marshall Islands, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic firearms, handguns, or any firearms other than .22 rifles and .410 gauge shotguns24 25 26

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In the Marshall Islands, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited24 25

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In the Marshall Islands, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited25

Regulation of Handguns

In the Marshall Islands, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is prohibited24 25

Gun Ownership and Possession

In the Marshall Islands, only licensed gun owners27 28 29 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in the Marshall Islands are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example shark and pig hunting26

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in the Marshall Islands is 21 years28

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in the Marshall Islands must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, medical and addiction30 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In the Marshall Islands, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required23

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in the Marshall Islands does not stipulate23 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In the Marshall Islands, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required23 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In the Marshall Islands, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every two years27

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in the Marshall Islands are permitted to possess any number of firearms23

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in the Marshall Islands are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition23

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In the Marshall Islands, the law requires31 32 33 34 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 the Marshall Islands, licensed firearm dealers are required35 36 37 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In the Marshall Islands, State agencies are required33 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 the Marshall Islands, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without a licence10 38 39 8 40 41

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In the Marshall Islands, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful10 38 39 8 40 41

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In the Marshall Islands, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined23

Regulation of Gun Shows

In the Marshall Islands, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated23 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in the Marshall Islands include29 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 the Marshall Islands include36 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in the Marshall Islands include29 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In the Marshall Islands, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law25 42 37 32 34 43

Firearm Tracing

In the Marshall Islands, state authorities carry out32 44 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In the Marshall Islands, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not23 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In the Marshall Islands, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited29 24

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In the Marshall Islands, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited29

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In the Marshall Islands, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm45 is up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $2,00046

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Pacific Islands Forum

As a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Marshall Islands adopted the March, 2000 Nadi Framework agreement, which aims to harmonise small arms-related legislation across Oceania. In August 2003, the Nadi Framework’s draft model Weapons Control Bill was unanimously accepted for consideration by all 16 member states of the Pacific Islands Forum47 48

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 signed49 by the Marshall Islands.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed50 by the Marshall Islands

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 signed51 by the Marshall Islands

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, the Marshall Islands 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 Aspects52

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored the Marshall Islands against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 10953 54 55 56 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, the Marshall Islands have submitted one or more national reports57 58 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In the Marshall Islands, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated59 58

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In the Marshall Islands, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated59

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of the Marshall Islands submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was not apparent58

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated58 by the Marshall Islands to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, the Marshall Islands have not declared60 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, the Marshall Islands have been a Member State of the United Nations since 199161

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list62 the Marshall Islands as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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


Short References

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Karp, Aaron.2018.‘Law Enforcement Firearms Holdings, 2017.’ Estimating Global Law Enforcement Firearms Numbers.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,18 June. (Q13435)Full Citation

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20.

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23.

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24.

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25.

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28.

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29.

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31.

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35.

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36.

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