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Northern Ireland — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

For combined British figures and legislation, see 'United Kingdom'

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

ChartThe estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Northern Ireland is

2017: 206,0001
2007: 380,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 11.01
2007: 21.92

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In Northern Ireland, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be

2013: 18,2503

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In Northern Ireland, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be

2013: 80,2583

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In Northern Ireland, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be

2013: 13,9353

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Northern Ireland ranked at No. 944

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Northern Ireland ranked at No. 252

Proportion of Households with Firearms

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2005: 12.7%5
1989: 9.4%

Proportion of Households with Handguns

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the percentage of households with one or more handguns is reported to be

2005: 2.1%5
1989: 1.5%

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in Northern Ireland is reported to be

2010: 61,5656 7

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Northern Ireland is

2010: 3.418

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Northern Ireland is reported to be

2017: 153,0001
2010: 141,3939 7

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Northern Ireland is

2017: 8.188
2010: 7.83

Estimated Number of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,10 but in Northern Ireland there are estimated to be

2017: 53,0001

Estimated Rate of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,10 but in Northern Ireland the rate of such firearms per 100 people is estimated to be

2017: 2.838

Government Guns

Routine Arming of Police

In Northern Ireland, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms11 12 13

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Northern Ireland are reported to have 13,00014 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 1115
2012: 11
2011: 8
2010: 1516 17
2009: 1318
2008: 3019
2007: 1920
2006: 2021
2005: 2322
2004: 2423
2003: 1924
2002: 1825
2001: 1026
2000: 5227
1999: 2828
1998: 2929
1997: 3330
1996: 5231
1995: 11832

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.6015
2012: 0.60
2011: 0.44
2010: 0.83
2009: 0.728
2008: 1.69
2007: 1.08
2006: 1.15
2005: 1.33
2004: 1.40
2003: 1.11
2002: 1.06
2001: 0.59
2000: 3.08
1999: 1.66
1998: 1.73
1997: 1.97
1996: 3.11
1995: 7.10

Total Number of Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual male deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 1115
2012: 10
2011: 8
2010: 15

Total Number of Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual female deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 015
2012: 1
2011: 0
2010: 0

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual homicides by any means total

2013: 1915
2012: 25
2011: 27
2010: 27
2009: 26
2008: 30
2007: 24
2005: 41
2004: 33
2003: 45
2002: 52
2001: 48
2000: 3433 34 35
1999: 75
1997: 4934 35
1996: 39
1995: 24
2/06: 29

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

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

2013: 0.6015
2012: 0.60
2011: 0.44
2010: 0.83
2009: 1.23
2008: 1.46
2007: 1.70
2006: 1.38
2005: 1.68
2004: 2.39
2003: 1.94
2002: 2.65
2001: 3.08
2000: 2.84
1999: 2.02
1998: 4.47
1997: 2.92
1996: 2.33
1995: 1.44
1994: 6.0936

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual male homicides by any means total

2013: 1415
2012: 18
2011: 22
2010: 23

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual female homicides by any means total

2013: 515
2012: 7
2011: 5
2010: 4

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual firearm homicides total

2016: 637
2015: 5
2014: 2
2013: 5
2012: 5
2011: 5
2010: 3
2009: 518 35
2008: 1219 35
2007: 820 35
2006: 821 35
2005: 1122 35
2004: 1223 35
2003: 924 35
2002: 325 38
2001: 226
2000: 3827
1999: 1528
1998: 1529
1997: 1230
1996: 3331
1995: 9432

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2016: 0.3037
2015: 0.30
2014: 0.10
2013: 0.30
2012: 0.33
2011: 0.30
2010: 0.20
2009: 0.2818 35
2008: 0.6719 35
2007: 0.4520 35
2006: 0.4621 35
2005: 0.6422 35
2004: 0.7023 35
2003: 0.5324 35
2002: 0.1825 38
2001: 0.1226
2000: 2.2527
1999: 0.8928
1998: 0.8929
1997: 0.7230
1996: 1.9731
1995: 5.6632
1994: 5.2439

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2011: 22%40
2010: 13%
2009: 17%
2008: 4%
2007: 14%
2006: 0%
2005: 23%
2004: 14.6%35
2003: 36.4%

Male Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual male firearm homicides total

2015: 537
2014: 2
2013: 215
2012: 4
2011: 5
2010: 3

Rate of Male Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of male firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2015: 0.5037
2014: 0.20
2012: 0.50
2011: 0.50
2010: 0.30

Female Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual female firearm homicides total

2015: 037
2014: 0
2013: 015
2012: 1
2011: 0
2010: 0

Rate of Female Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of female firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2015: 037
2014: 0.10
2012: 0.10
2011: 0
2010: 0

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual handgun homicides total

2008: 319
2007: 220
2006: 221
2005: 322
2004: 223
2003: 324
2001: 126

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2008: 0.1719
2007: 0.1120
2006: 0.1121
2005: 0.1722
2004: 0.1223
2003: 0.1824
2001: 0.0626

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual long gun homicides total

2009: 218
2008: 119
2007: 120
2006: 121
2005: 222
2004: 323
2001: 126

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

2009: 0.1118
2008: 0.0619
2007: 0.0620
2006: 0.0621
2005: 0.1222
2004: 0.1823
2001: 0.0626

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual gun homicides (other) total

2011: 441
2010: 216
2009: 318
2008: 819
2007: 520
2006: 521
2005: 622
2004: 723
2003: 624
2002: 325

Rate of Gun Homicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of gun homicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.2241
2010: 0.1116
2009: 0.1718
2008: 0.4519
2007: 0.2820
2006: 0.2921
2005: 0.3522
2004: 0.4123
2003: 0.3524
2002: 0.1825

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual suicides by any means total

2013: 24315
2012: 203
2011: 220
2010: 241
2009: 260
2008: 282
2007: 242
2006: 291
2005: 213
2004: 146
2003: 144
2002: 183
2001: 158
2000: 185
1999: 154
1998: 150
1997: 138
1996: 143
1995: 146

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

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2013: 13.2815
2012: 11.13
2011: 12.13
2010: 13.39
2009: 14.50
2008: 15.85
2007: 13.74
2006: 16.69
2005: 12.33
2004: 8.52
2003: 8.45
2002: 10.78
2001: 9.36
2000: 10.95
1999: 9.15
1998: 8.93
1997: 8.23
1996: 8.56
1995: 8.79
1994: 8.4142

Male Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual male suicides by any means total

2013: 18615
2012: 164
2011: 173
2010: 186

Female Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual female suicides by any means total

2013: 5715
2012: 39
2011: 47
2010: 55

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual firearm suicides total

2013: 815
2012: 4
2011: 441
2010: 1316 17
2009: 718
2008: 1819
2007: 1020
2006: 1121
2005: 1222
2004: 1223
2003: 824
2002: 1525
2001: 726
2000: 1327
1999: 1128
1998: 1229
1997: 2130
1996: 1531
1995: 1632
1990: 2343
1985: 19
1980: 10

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.4415
2012: 0.22
2011: 0.22
2010: 0.72
2009: 0.3918
2008: 1.0119
2007: 0.5720
2006: 0.6321
2005: 0.6922
2004: 0.7023
2003: 0.4724
2002: 0.8825
2001: 0.4126
2000: 0.7727
1999: 0.6528
1998: 0.7129
1997: 1.2530
1996: 0.9031
1995: 0.9632
1994: 1.3444
1990: 1.438
1985: 1.21
1980: 0.65

Male Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual male firearm suicides total

2013: 815
2012: 4
2011: 4
2010: 13

Female Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual female firearm suicides total

2013: 015
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual handgun suicides total

2011: 141
2008: 119
2006: 121
2005: 122
2003: 124
2002: 225

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of handgun suicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.0641
2008: 0.0619
2006: 0.0621
2005: 0.0622
2003: 0.0624
2002: 0.1225

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the number of long gun suicides is

2011: 141
2010: 916
2009: 518
2008: 1119
2007: 520
2006: 621
2005: 822
2004: 523
2003: 424
2002: 625
2001: 426

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of long gun suicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.0641
2010: 0.5016
2009: 0.2818
2008: 0.6219
2007: 0.2820
2006: 0.3421
2005: 0.4622
2004: 0.2923
2003: 0.2324
2002: 0.3525
2001: 0.2426

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual gun suicides (other) total

2011: 241
2010: 416
2009: 218
2008: 619
2007: 520
2006: 421
2005: 322
2004: 723
2003: 324
2002: 725
2001: 326

Rate of Gun Suicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of gun suicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.1141
2010: 0.2216
2009: 0.1118
2008: 0.3419
2007: 0.2820
2006: 0.2321
2005: 0.1722
2004: 0.4123
2003: 0.1824
2002: 0.4125
2001: 0.1826

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2013: 115
2012: 1
2011: 0
2010: 0
2006: 121
2003: 124
2001: 126
2000: 127
1999: 045
1996: 231
1995: 432

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2013: 015
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0
2006: 0.0621
2003: 0.0624
2001: 0.0626
2000: 0.0627
1999: 0.0045
1996: 0.1231
1995: 0.2432
1994: 0.1246

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2013: 115
2012: 1
2011: 0
2010: 0

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2013: 015
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2006: 121
2003: 124

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by long gun per 100,000 population is

2006: 0.0621
2003: 0.0624

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

In Northern Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by firearm (other) total

2001: 126

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death (Other) per 100,000 People

In Northern Ireland, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by firearm (other) per 100,000 population is

2001: 0.0626

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 015
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0
2003: 124
1999: 228 45
1998: 229
1996: 231
1995: 432

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn Northern Ireland, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2003: 0.0624
1999: 0.1228 45
1998: 0.1229
1996: 0.1231
1995: 0.2432
1994: 0.1247

Male Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual male shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 015
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0

Female Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual female shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 015
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

In Northern Ireland, annual deaths by firearm (other) in which the cause remains undecided total

2003: 124

Rate of Gun Death (Other) from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

In Northern Ireland, the annual rate of unknown-cause gun deaths (other) per 100,000 population is

2003: 0.0624

Legal Intervention Gun Homicides

ChartIn Northern Ireland, annual legal-intervention gun homicides total

2011: 141
2009: 118
2007: 120

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Northern Ireland, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence48 49

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Northern Ireland, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law50 51

Firearm Imports

In Northern Ireland, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law52

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Northern Ireland is categorised as restrictive53

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Northern Ireland includes the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 200454

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Northern Ireland are regulated by the Chief Constable55

Right to Possess Firearms

In Northern Ireland, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law56 57 58

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Northern Ireland, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic firearms or semi-automatic firearms other than semi-automatic rifles chambered for .22 rimfire cartridges59 60 61

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Northern Ireland, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited59 60 61

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Northern Ireland, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence only when chambered for .22 rimfire cartridges59 60 61

Regulation of Handguns

In Northern Ireland, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence59 60 61

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Northern Ireland, only licensed gun owners62 55 58 63 64 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Northern Ireland are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm58 65

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Northern Ireland is 18 years58 66

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Northern Ireland must pass a background check which considers various55 58 67 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Northern Ireland, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required55

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Northern Ireland stipulates68 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Northern Ireland, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every five years69 63 64

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Northern Ireland are permitted to possess any number of firearms69

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Northern Ireland are permitted to possess the quantity of ammunition described in the firearm certificate69

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Northern Ireland, the law requires70 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 Northern Ireland, licensed firearm dealers are required71 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Northern Ireland, licensed gun makers are required71 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Northern Ireland, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without a permit72 70

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Northern Ireland, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful48 49 70

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

The number of licensed firearm dealers in Northern Ireland is reported to be

2011: 11273

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Northern Ireland include74 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 Northern Ireland include75 76 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Northern Ireland include77 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Northern Ireland, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit78

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Northern Ireland, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm79 is 10 years in prison and/or a fine80

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The UNCCPCJ, a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, lists81 Northern Ireland as an elected member

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified82 by Northern Ireland

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, but not yet ratified83 by Northern Ireland

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 16,84 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.

Disarmament

Authorities in Northern Ireland are known to have85 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Surrendered in Gun Amnesty

In Northern Ireland, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be 2,44586 (2005)87

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Northern Ireland, it is state policy88 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

Marking and Tracing

Firearm Marking

In Northern Ireland, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law70

Firearm Tracing

In Northern Ireland, state authorities carry out89 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Northern Ireland, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not90 91 recorded in a register


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