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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: 4.446
2012: 5.27
2010: 4.85
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

2019: 0.0015
2018: 0.0016
2016: 0.0017
2014: 0.0018
2013: 0.0019
2012: 0.0020
2011: 0.0021
2010: 0.0022
2009: 0.0023
2008: 0.0024
2007: 0.0025
2006: 0.0026
2005: 0.0027
2004: 0.0028

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in North Korea includes the Firearms Control Act of 200929

Right to Possess Firearms

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

Gun Ownership and Possession

In North Korea, no civilians29 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 200832 by North Korea.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed33 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 signed34 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 Aspects35

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 report36 37 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 designated38

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided37 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 199139

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list40 North Korea as a Participating State

BackgroundSustainable Development Goal Profile

About SDG 16

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals set by the United Nations to be implemented by all member states by 2030. Adopted in 2015, they outline a vision of development in which peace and security are an integral part. SDG 16,41 which seeks to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development,” includes targets and indicators focused on reducing violence (Target 16.1) and the proliferation of illicit arms (Target 16.4). The indicators – or measurement criteria – of these targets include the number of victims of intentional homicide (Indicator 16.1.1), the number of conflict-related deaths (Indicator 16.1.2), and the number of illicit firearms collected and traced (Indicator 16.4.2). In light of these targets and indicators, GunPolicy.org provides granular national data pertaining to homicides, gun homicides, conflict deaths, disarmament efforts, and marking and tracing.

Conflict Deaths

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

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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

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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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34.

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35.

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