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

Rwanda — 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 Rwanda is

2017: 66,0001
2007: 58,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 0.501
2007: 0.62

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Rwanda ranked at No. 1513

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

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

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Rwanda are reported to have 66,5004 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Rwanda are reported to have 14,0005 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Rwanda, annual homicides by any means total

2015: 2936
2014: 428
2013: 359
2012: 256
2010: 291
2008: 144
2007: 268

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

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

2015: 2.586
2014: 3.84
2013: 3.31
2012: 2.44
2010: 2.93
2009: 0
2008: 1.52
2007: 2.89
2006: 5.6
2005: 4.3
2004: 4.87 8
2003: 4.27
2002: 20.008
1999: 45.08

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Rwanda, annual male homicides by any means total

2015: 2289
2010: 3559

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

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

2015: 49

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Rwanda, annual female homicides by any means total

2015: 659
2010: 146

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

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

2015: 1.099

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Rwanda, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is prohibited10 11 12 13

Home-made Guns

In Rwanda, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate14 15 16

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Rwanda, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law17 11 18 19

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Rwanda is reported by Customs to be US$21,77620 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Rwanda, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law17 10 21 11 18 19 13

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Rwanda is reported by Customs to be US$9,83020 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Rwanda is high22 23 24 25

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Rwanda, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law26 18 27

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Rwanda include28 11 19 29 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 Rwanda is categorised as restrictive30

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Rwanda includes the Law No 13/2000 of 14/06/2000 modifying the Decree, the Law No 12/79 of 7th May, 1979 Concerning Firearms and their Ammunitions,31 32 and Law No. 33/2009 of 18/11/2009 on the Arms System17 26 18

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Rwanda are regulated by the Rwanda National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons,33 the Minister in charge of National Police and the Ministry of Defence11 18

Right to Possess Firearms

In Rwanda, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law34 35 36 37

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Rwanda, civilians are not allowed to possess

weapons of war38 and: rifle-sticks, folding rifles, rifles with a barrel or a butt that can be dismantled into several parts, firearms with silencers, firearms with toxic effects, and any offensive or secretive firearms39

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Rwanda, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited38 39 40

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Rwanda, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence38 39

Regulation of Handguns

In Rwanda, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence38 39 40

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Rwanda, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law38 39 40

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Rwanda, only licensed gun owners36 41 42 12 40 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Rwanda are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm37

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Rwanda is 21 years37

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Rwanda must pass a background check which considers mental health and criminal37 40 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Rwanda, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required43 44

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Rwanda does not stipulate43 44 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Rwanda, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required37 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Rwanda, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every year45

Licensing Records

In Rwanda, authorities maintain a record46 47 48 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Rwanda are permitted to possess the number of guns specified in the licence49 50

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Rwanda are permitted to possess the quantity of ammunition specified in the licence49 50

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Rwanda, the law requires46 51 47 48 52 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 Rwanda, licensed firearm dealers are required53 51 48 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Rwanda, State agencies are required46 54 55 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 Rwanda, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without an authorisation from the Commissioner General of the National Police42 12

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Rwanda, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful56 57

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in Rwanda is obliged42 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Background Checks for Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in Rwanda is obliged42 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In Rwanda, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to the number specified in the licence49 50

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Rwanda, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined43 44

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Rwanda, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated43 44 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Rwanda do not include43 44 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 Rwanda include57 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Rwanda include55 58 59 60 61 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Rwanda include21 29 59 60 61 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Rwanda, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law62 54 47 63 52

Firearm Tracing

In Rwanda, state authorities carry out64 62 54 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Rwanda, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit36 41 12 65 66 67 40

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Rwanda, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit36 41 12 65 66 67 40

Gun Free Zones

In Rwanda, private guns are prohibited in areas specified by the Minister in charge of the National Police68

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Rwanda, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm69 is five years in prison and/or a fine70 71 72 73 74

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Rwanda are known to have75 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Small Arms Destroyed

ChartIn Rwanda, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be

2017: 130,00076
2009: 30,26675
2006/05: 7,500

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Rwanda, it is state policy13 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

African Union

In June 2006, as a member of the African Union, Rwanda 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 200677 78

Regional Centre on Small Arms

In March 2000, as a member of the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), Rwanda adopted the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa, then on 21 April 2004 adopted the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States, a legally-binding multilateral protocol of which the RECSA is depository. The Nairobi Protocol has since been signed, and ratified79 80 by Rwanda

United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa

In November 2010, as a member of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC), Rwanda adopted the Central Africa Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition, Parts and Components that can be used for their Manufacture, Repair and Assembly, known as the ‘Kinshasa Convention. A legally binding multilateral treaty for which UNSAC is depository, the Kinshasa Convention has since been signed, but not yet ratified81 82 83 by Rwanda

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 200784 by Rwanda.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified85 by Rwanda

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 ratified86 by Rwanda

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Rwanda 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 Aspects87

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Rwanda against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 10288 89 90 91 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Rwanda has submitted one or more national reports92 93 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Rwanda, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated94 93

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Rwanda, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated95 96

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Rwanda submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent93

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated93 by Rwanda to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided93 to Rwanda by other UN Member States

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Rwanda has been a Member State of the United Nations since 196297

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list98 Rwanda as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

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