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

Mauritania — 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 Mauritania is

2017: 120,0001
2007: 50,0002 3

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 2.801
2007: 1.62

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Mauritania ranked at No. 1534

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Mauritania ranked at No. 1292

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Mauritania are reported to have 22,8205 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Mauritania are reported to have 10,0006 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Mauritania, annual homicides by any means total

2015: 4157
2012: 1918
2010: 392
2008: 4859

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

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

2015: 11.567
2012: 5.08
2010: 12.24
2008: 14.79
2004: 15.2010
2002: 12.80
1999: 0.76
1996: 1.35

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Mauritania, annual male homicides by any means total

2015: 30811
2010: 27011

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

In Mauritania, the annual rate of male homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2015: 14.6511

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Mauritania, annual female homicides by any means total

2015: 10711
2010: 122

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

In Mauritania, the annual rate of female homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2015: 5.1711

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Mauritania, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is prohibited12 13 14 15 16

Home-made Guns

In Mauritania, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate13 15 17

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Mauritania, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law18 19

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Mauritania is reported by Customs to be US$16,00620 (1994)

Firearm Imports

In Mauritania, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law12 21 22 19 23 24 25 14

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Mauritania is reported by Customs to be US$17,36120 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Mauritania is moderate26

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Mauritania, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law27 28

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Mauritania do not include29 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 Mauritania is categorised as restrictive30

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Mauritania includes the Decree No. 60072 of 1960,31 the Law No. 74-177 of 1974,32 14 and the Penal Code19

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Mauritania are regulated by the Ministry of Defence and the Department of National Security,15 24 the Minister in charge of Interior Affairs33 and the District Commanders34

Right to Possess Firearms

In Mauritania, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law35 36 12

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Mauritania, civilians are not allowed to possess weapons of war and most hunting weapons25 14 24 37

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Mauritania, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited15 16 38

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Mauritania, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence15 16

Law Regulates Handguns

In Mauritania, civilian possession of handguns is regulated by law38

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Mauritania, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law15 38

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Mauritania, only licensed gun owners12 39 23 24 15 16 25 38 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Mauritania are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example that they are of good character or for hunting24

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Mauritania must pass a background check which considers criminal33 12 38 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Mauritania, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required40 41

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Mauritania does not stipulate40 41 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Mauritania, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required40 41 for a firearm licence

Licensing Records

In Mauritania, authorities maintain a record, but this is not adhered to systematically in practice,42 43 39 44 23 15 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Mauritania are permitted to possess 2 firearms45

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Mauritania are permitted to possess no more than 300 cartridges for each sophisticated firearm and no more than 600 grams of powder for each weapon for exchange46

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Mauritania, the law requires42 43 39 44 23 15 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 Mauritania, licensed firearm dealers are required47 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Mauritania, State agencies are required48 49 15 16 50 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 Mauritania, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without prior authorisation from the Minister of the Interior12 39 51 52 16

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Mauritania, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful25 12 53 54 55 34 56

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Mauritania, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined40 41

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Mauritania, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated40 41 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Mauritania do not include40 41 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 Mauritania include57 25 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Mauritania include58 49 50 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Mauritania do not include28 40 41 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Mauritania, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law48

Firearm Tracing

In Mauritania, state authorities do not carry out15 23 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Mauritania, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit14 12 59 38

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Mauritania, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit14 12 59 38

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Mauritania, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm60 is three years in prison and a fine61 62

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Mauritania are known to have63 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Mauritania, it is state policy58 49 15 64 16 65 66 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

League of Arab States

As a member of the League of Arab States, Mauritania adopted the Arab Model Law on Weapons, Ammunitions, Explosives and Hazardous Material in January 200267

African Union

In June 2006, as a member of the African Union, Mauritania 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 200668 69

Economic Community of West African States

In June 2006, as a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mauritania did not adopt the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and other Related Materials70

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 signed71 by Mauritania.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified72 by Mauritania

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 ratified73 74 by Mauritania

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Mauritania 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 Aspects75

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Mauritania against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 15976 77 78 79 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Mauritania has submitted one national report74 80 81 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Mauritania, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated81

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Mauritania, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated74

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Mauritania submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was not apparent74

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated81 by Mauritania to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been provided74 to Mauritania by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Mauritania has not declared82 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Mauritania has been a Member State of the United Nations since 196183

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list84 Mauritania as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

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Pézard, Stéphanie and Anne-Kathrin Glatz.2010.‘Firearms Legislation.’ Arms in and Around Mauritania: National and Regional Security Implications.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 June. (Q5002)Full Citation

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Pézard, Stéphanie and Anne-Kathrin Glatz.2010.‘Target Shooting in Mauritania.’ Arms in and Around Mauritania: National and Regional Security Implications.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 June. (Q5001)Full Citation

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Pézard, Stéphanie and Anne-Kathrin Glatz.2010.‘Army Weapon Distribution Over.’ Arms in and Around Mauritania: National and Regional Security Implications.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 June. (Q5004)Full Citation

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Mauritania.1960.‘Article 38.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5497)Full Citation

19.

Mauritania.2018.‘International Transfers (Transferts internationaux).’ National Report of Mauritania on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York NY:Permanent Mission of Mauritania to the United Nations,1 January. (Q13716)Full Citation

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Marsh, Nicholas.2014.‘Database of Authorised Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons.’ NISAT Small Arms Trade Database.Oslo:Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers,22 December. (Q16)Full Citation

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Mauritania.1960.‘Article 7.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5476)Full Citation

22.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 23.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5486)Full Citation

23.

Pézard, Stéphanie and Anne-Kathrin Glatz.2010.‘Types of Licence.’ Arms in and Around Mauritania: National and Regional Security Implications.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 June. (Q5006)Full Citation

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Pézard, Stéphanie and Anne-Kathrin Glatz.2010.‘Firearm Licences.’ Arms in and Around Mauritania: National and Regional Security Implications.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 June. (Q5007)Full Citation

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Pézard, Stéphanie and Anne-Kathrin Glatz.2010.‘Prohibitive Price of Firearms.’ Arms in and Around Mauritania: National and Regional Security Implications.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 June. (Q5008)Full Citation

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Mauritania.2018.‘Brokering (Courtage).’ National Report of Mauritania on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York NY:Permanent Mission of Mauritania to the United Nations,1 January. (Q13718)Full Citation

28.

Moreau, Virginie, Cédric Poitevin and Jihan Seniora.2010.‘Transactions and Activities Covered - Imports, Exports, Transit and Brokering.’ Arms Transfer Controls: The Example of French-Speaking States in Sub-Saharan Africa.Brussels:Groupe de Recherche et d'Information sur la Paix et la Sécurité (GRIP),1 May. (Q5013)Full Citation

29.

Mauritania.2018.‘End-user Certificate (Certificat d'utilisation finale).’ National Report of Mauritania on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York NY:Permanent Mission of Mauritania to the United Nations,1 January. (Q13719)Full Citation

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Mauritania.1974.‘Article 1.’ Act No 74-177 of July 29, 1974, on the Prohibition of the Possession of Hunting Arms and their Ammunition (Loi No 74-177 du 29 juillet 1974 portant interdiction de la détention des armes de chasse et de leurs munitions).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,29 July. (Q5506)Full Citation

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Mauritania.1960.‘Articles 8 and 8 Bis.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5477)Full Citation

34.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 29.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5491)Full Citation

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Zachary Elkins, Tom Ginsburg and James Melton. 2013. ‘U.S. Gun Rights Truly Are American Exceptionalism.’ Bloomberg (USA). 7 March. (N422) Full Citation

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Mauritania.1974.‘Article 1.’ Act No 74-177 of July 29, 1974, on the Prohibition of the Possession of Hunting Arms and their Ammunition (Loi No 74-177 du 29 juillet 1974 portant interdiction de la détention des armes de chasse et de leurs munitions).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,29 July. (Q5504)Full Citation

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Butchart, Alexander, Christopher Mikton and Etienne Krug.2014.‘Country Profile: Mauritania.’ Global Status Report on Violence Prevention 2014.Geneva:World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),10 December. (Q9625)Full Citation

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Mauritania.1960.‘Article 13.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5480)Full Citation

40.

Mauritania.1960.‘Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5473)Full Citation

41.

Mauritania.1974.‘Prohibition of the Possession of Hunting Arms and their Ammunition.’ Act No 74-177 of July 29, 1974, on the Prohibition of the Possession of Hunting Arms and their Ammunition (Loi No 74-177 du 29 juillet 1974 portant interdiction de la détention des armes de chasse et de leurs munitions).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,29 July. (Q5474)Full Citation

42.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 19.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5484)Full Citation

43.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 10.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5479)Full Citation

44.

Mauritania.1974.‘Article 3.’ Act No 74-177 of July 29, 1974, on the Prohibition of the Possession of Hunting Arms and their Ammunition (Loi No 74-177 du 29 juillet 1974 portant interdiction de la détention des armes de chasse et de leurs munitions).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,29 July. (Q5498)Full Citation

45.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 18.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5483)Full Citation

46.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 31.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5493)Full Citation

47.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 27.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5489)Full Citation

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Mauritania.2018.‘Marking and Record keeping.’ National Report of Mauritania on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA).New York NY:Permanent Mission of Mauritania to the United Nations,1 January. (Q13721)Full Citation

49.

Pézard, Stéphanie and Anne-Kathrin Glatz.2010.‘Poor Stockpile Security.’ Arms in and Around Mauritania: National and Regional Security Implications.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 June. (Q4996)Full Citation

50.

Moreau, Virginie, Cédric Poitevin and Jihan Seniora.2010.‘Analysis of National Arms Transfer Control Systems - Arms Categories Covered.’ Arms Transfer Controls: The Example of French-Speaking States in Sub-Saharan Africa.Brussels:Groupe de Recherche et d'Information sur la Paix et la Sécurité (GRIP),1 May. (Q5012)Full Citation

51.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 15.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5482)Full Citation

52.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 32.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5494)Full Citation

53.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 17.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5481)Full Citation

54.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 22.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5485)Full Citation

55.

Mauritania.1960.‘Article 28.’ Decree No 60.072 of April 20, 1960, on Arms and Ammunition in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Décret No 60.072 du 20 Avril 1960 fixant le régime des armes à feu et munitions en R.I.M.).Nouakchott:Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,20 April. (Q5490)Full Citation

56.

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