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North Korea — 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 North Korea is

2017: 76,0001
2007: 130,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in North Korea is

2007: 0.62

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, North Korea ranked at No. 1293

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, North Korea ranked at No. 1642

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of North Korea are reported to have 8,363,1004 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in North Korea are reported to have 76,0005 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn North Korea, annual homicides by any means total

2015: 1,1106
2012: 1,2937
2010: 1,179
2008: 3,6588

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

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

2015: 4.416
2012: 5.27
2010: 4.81
2008: 15.28
2004: 18.909
2002: 19.50

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

In North Korea, annual male homicides by any means total

2010: 90910

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

In North Korea, annual female homicides by any means total

2010: 27010

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from North Korea is reported by Customs to be US$15911 (2011)12 13

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, North Korea was categorized as 'unknown'14

Firearm Imports

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to North Korea is reported by Customs to be US$60011 (2011)

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, North Korea scored

2018: 0.0015
2016: 0.0016
2014: 0.0017
2013: 0.0018
2012: 0.0019
2011: 0.0020
2010: 0.0021
2009: 0.0022
2008: 0.0023
2007: 0.0024
2006: 0.0025
2005: 0.0026
2004: 0.0027

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in North Korea includes the Firearms Control Act of 200928

Right to Possess Firearms

In North Korea, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law29 30

Gun Ownership and Possession

In North Korea, no civilians28 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

MeasuresInternational Controls

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 200831 by North Korea.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed32 by North Korea

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 signed33 by North Korea

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, North Korea 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 Aspects34

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, North Korea has yet to submit a national report35 36 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In North Korea, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated37

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided36 to North Korea by other UN Member States

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, North Korea has been a Member State of the United Nations since 199138

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list39 North Korea as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

1.

Karp, Aaron.2018.‘Civilian Firearms Holdings, 2017.’ Estimating Global Civilian-Held Firearms Numbers.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,18 June. (Q13434)Full Citation

2.

Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms - Annexe online.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q5)Full Citation

3.

Karp, Aaron.2007.‘Completing the Count: Civilian firearms.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,27 August. (Q4)Full Citation

4.

Karp, Aaron.2018.‘Military Firearms Holdings, 2017.’ Estimating Global Military-Owned Firearms Numbers.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,18 June. (Q13436)Full Citation

5.

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

6.

UNODC.2017.‘Intentional Homicide Victims.’ Crime and Drugs Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,19 May. (Q13355)Full Citation

7.

UNODC.2014.‘Homicides in North Korea.’ Global Study on Homicide 2013: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),10 April. (Q10257)Full Citation

8.

UNODC.2013.‘Homicide in 207 Countries - North Korea.’ Global Study on Homicide 2011: Trends, Context, Data.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,26 June. (Q6320)Full Citation

9.

Petrini, Benjamin.2011.‘East Asia and the Pacific, 1995-2008, Total Recorded Intentional Homicide, Completed, Rate per 100,000 Population.’ World Bank Homicide Rate Dataset 1995-2008.Washington, DC:Social Development Department, World Bank,10 February. (Q3814)Full Citation

10.

UNODC.2017.‘Intentional Homicide Victims by Sex.’ Crime and Drugs Data.Vienna:UNODC,19 May. (Q13356)Full Citation

11.

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

12.

Rigual, Christelle.2015.‘Annexe 4.1: Major Exporters.’ Small Arms Survey 2015: Weapons and the World.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 June. (Q11077)Full Citation

13.

Pavesi, Irene and Christelle Rigual.2013.‘Annexes 8.1: Major Exporters.’ Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,2 July. (Q8485)Full Citation

14.

Small Arms Survey.2001.‘60 Known Legal Small Arms Exporting Countries, 2001.’ Small Arms Survey 2001: Profiling the Problem.Oxford:Oxford University Press,1 July. (Q867)Full Citation

15.

Holtom, Paul and Irene Pavesi.2018.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer.’ The 2018 Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,1 August. (Q13505)Full Citation

16.

Pavesi, Irene.2016.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2016.’ Trade Update 2016: Transfers and Transparency.Geneva:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,6 June. (Q12070)Full Citation

17.

Holtom, Paul, Irene Pavesi, and Christelle Rigual.2014.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2014.’ Small Arms Survey 2014: Women and Guns.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,16 June. (Q10547)Full Citation

18.

Pavesi, Irene and Christelle Rigual.2013.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2013.’ Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,2 July. (Q6871)Full Citation

19.

Lazarevic, Jasna.2012.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2012.’ Small Arms Survey 2012: Moving Targets.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,27 August. (Q6869)Full Citation

20.

Lazarevic, Jasna.2011.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2011.’ Small Arms Survey 2011: States of Security.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,6 July. (Q10549)Full Citation

21.

Lazarevic, Jasna.2010.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2010.’ Small Arms Survey 2010: Gangs, Groups and Guns.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,14 June. (Q10550)Full Citation

22.

Lazarevic, Jasna.2009.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2009.’ Small Arms Survey 2009: Shadows of War.Cambridge:Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,9 July. (Q10551)Full Citation

23.

Close, Helen and Chris Stevenson.2008.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2008.’ Small Arms Survey 2008: Risk and Resilience.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,14 July. (Q10552)Full Citation

24.

Glatz, Anne-Kathrin and Lora Lumpe.2007.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2007.’ Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,27 August. (Q10553)Full Citation

25.

Khakee, Anna, Pablo Dreyfus and Anne-Kathrin Glatz.2006.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2006.’ Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business.Oxford:Oxford University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 July. (Q10554)Full Citation

26.

Khakee, Anna.2005.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2005.’ Small Arms Survey 2005: Weapons at War.Oxford:Oxford University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,11 July. (Q10555)Full Citation

27.

Khakee, Anna.2004.‘Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2004.’ Small Arms Survey 2004: Rights at Risk.Oxford:Oxford University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,1 July. (Q10556)Full Citation

28.

Korea Times / Yonhap. 2012. ‘N. Korea Enacts Rules on Regulating Firearms.’ 6 August. (N335) Full Citation

29.

Sherman, Amy and Tom Ginsburg.2014.‘Gun Rights in National Constitutions.’ Marco Rubio Says Second Amendment Is Unique in Speech to NRA.Miami, FL:Miami Herald (PolitiFact Florida),29 April. (Q8507)Full Citation

30.

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

31.

GDAV.2006.‘Geneva Declaration.’ Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development.Geneva:Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development Secretariat,7 June. (Q7162)Full Citation

32.

UNODA.2013.‘Towards Entry Into Force.’ Arms Trade Treaty.New York, NY:United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs,2 April. (Q7226)Full Citation

33.

UNGA.2001.‘United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.’ UN General Assembly Resolution 55/255.New York, NY:UN General Assembly,31 May. (Q17)Full Citation

34.

UNGA.2001.‘Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.’ United Nations General Assembly.New York, NY:UN General Assembly,20 July. (Q18)Full Citation

35.

Cattaneo, Silvia and Sarah Parker.2008.‘Reporting, NPCs and NCAs, 2002 to 2008.’ Implementing the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons: Analysis of the National Reports submitted by States from 2002 to 2008.Geneva:United Nations Development Programme,1 November. (Q20)Full Citation

36.

UNODA.2018.‘PoA-ISS Country Profiles.’ UN small arms Programme of Action (UNPoA) - Implementation Support System.New York, NY:United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs,23 July. (Q1309)Full Citation

37.

IANSA.2006.‘Reviewing Action on Small Arms 2006: Assessing the first five years of the UN Programme of Action.’ Biting the Bullet 'Red Book' 2006.New York, NY:International Action Network on Small Arms and the Biting the Bullet project,26 June. (Q166)Full Citation

38.

UN.2013.‘Member States of the United Nations.’ UN.org Web Site.New York, NY:United Nations General Assembly,7 April. (Q290)Full Citation

39.

Wassenaar Arrangement.1996.‘Introduction: Participating States.’ Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.Vienna:Wassenaar Secretariat,12 July. (Q19)Full Citation