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South Africa — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in South Africa is between 3,700,000 1 2 3 and 7,200,0001 2 4

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in South Africa is between 6.62 and 12.885

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In South Africa, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 948,9576 (registered only)

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In South Africa, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 304,3936 (registered only)

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In South Africa, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 1,851,4496 (registered only)

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 206 countries, South Africa ranked at No. 207

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of privately owned guns in 206 countries, South Africa ranked at No.787

Proportion of Households with Firearms

In South Africa, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2001: 20%8

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

ChartThe number of licensed gun owners in South Africa is reported to be

2015: 1,757,9712
2014: 1,762,7386
2011: 1,845,0329
2001: 2,092,2428
1999: 2,027,41110 11
1996: 2,000,00012
1994: 2,400,0009

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in South Africa is

2015: 3.282
2014: 3.325
2011: 3.59
2001: 4.60
1999: 4.57
1996: 4.69
1994: 5.77

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in South Africa is reported to be

2015: 3,217,432‬2
2014: 3,124,9006
2011: 2,900,0009
2004: 3,737,67612
2003: 3,735,67613 14
2001: 3,667,2898
1999: 3,554,33615 13 14
1996: 3,503,57312
1994: 3,500,0009

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in South Africa is

2015: 5.995
2014: 5.9
2011: 5.64
2004: 7.88
2003: 7.99
2001: 8.06
1999: 8.01
1996: 8.21
1994: 8.41

Estimated Number of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms

ChartUnregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,16 but in South Africa there are estimated to be

2017: 2,351,000 17
2015: 643,48618 2
2014: 624,98018 6
2011: 580,00018 9
2005: 500,0003 to 4,000,0004
2004: 747,53518 12
2003: 747,13518 13 14
2001: 733,45818 8
1999: 710,86718 15 13 14
1996: 700,71518 12
1994: 700,00018 9

Estimated Rate of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

ChartUnregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,16 but in South Africa the rate of such firearms per 100 people is estimated to be

2017: 4.295
2015: 1.2
2014: 1.18
2011: 1.13
2004: 1.58
2003: 1.6
2001: 1.61
1999: 1.53
1996: 1.57
1994: 1.62

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of South Africa are reported to have 350,63619 20 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In South Africa, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms21

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in South Africa are reported to have between 250,48122 and 258,00023 firearms, with other government agencies holding approximately 660,00024 additional firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2015: 5,62225
2014: 4,978
2013: 4,357
2012: 4,295
2011: 3,793
2010: 4,217
2009: 4,806
2008: 5,642
2007: 5,521
2006: 6,126
2005: 5,936
2004: 6,905
2003: 8,602
2002: 9,232
2001: 9,346
2000: 9,500

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2015: 10.6125
2014: 9.50
2013: 8.39
2012: 8.35
2011: 7.42
2010: 8.32
2009: 9.61
2008: 11.43
2007: 11.33
2006: 12.73
2005: 12.51
2004: 14.76
2003: 18.66
2002: 20.02
2001: 20.55
2000: 21.15

Total Number of Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual male deaths resulting from firearms total

2015: 5,01825
2014: 4,406
2013: 3,832
2012: 3,694
2011: 3,290
2010: 3,638
2009: 4,209
2008: 4,852
2007: 4,748
2006: 5,207
2005: 5,021
2004: 5,827
2003: 7,414
2002: 7,917
2001: 8,026
2000: 8,181

Rate of Male Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of male gun death per 100,000 population is

2015: 19.1325
2014: 16.98
2013: 14.91
2012: 14.48
2011: 12.96
2010: 14.44
2009: 16.95
2008: 19.82
2007: 19.67
2006: 21.89
2005: 21.44
2004: 25.29
2003: 32.72
2002: 34.94
2001: 35.97
2000: 37.18

Total Number of Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual female deaths resulting from firearms total

2015: 56125
2014: 531
2013: 483
2012: 566
2011: 480
2010: 571
2009: 590
2008: 782
2007: 769
2006: 908
2005: 896
2004: 1,071
2003: 1,167
2002: 1,299
2001: 1,285
2000: 1,296

Rate of Female Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of female gun death per 100,000 population is

2015: 2.1025
2014: 2.01
2013: 1.84
2012: 2.18
2011: 1.87
2010: 2.24
2009: 2.34
2008: 3.14
2007: 3.13
2006: 3.73
2005: 3.73
2004: 4.51
2003: 4.98
2002: 5.54
2001: 5.55
2000: 5.66

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual homicides by any means total

2020: 19,84626
2019: 21,325
2018: 21,036
2017: 20,336
2016: 19,016
2015: 18,673
2014: 17,805
2013: 17,023
2012: 16,213
2011: 15,554
2010: 15,893
2009: 16,767
2008: 18,084
2007: 18,400
2006: 19,202
2005: 18,528
2004: 18,793
2003: 19,824
2002: 21,553
2001: 21,405
2000: 21,75827 28 29 30
1999: 22,60428 30 31
1998: 25,12728 30
1997: 24,486
1996: 25,470
1995: 26,877
1994: 26,83232 30

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

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

2018: 37.9633 34
2017: 37.0835
2016: 35.02
2015: 34.86
2014: 33.69
2013: 32.55
2012: 31.32
2011: 30.34
2010: 31.18
2009: 33.22
2008: 36.35
2007: 37.44
2006: 39.3
2005: 38.4
2004: 39.5
2003: 42.3
2002: 46.727 28 36
2001: 47.0
2000: 48.527 28 37 36
1999: 51.228 36
1998: 57.7
1997: 57.1
1996: 60.4
1995: 64.9
1994: 66.938

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual male homicides by any means total

2018: 18,25139
2017: 17,11235
2016: 16,112
2015: 16,294
2014: 15,623
2013: 12,233
2012: 13,993
2011: 13,323
2010: 13,346
2009: 14,377
2008: 15,748
2007: 15,943

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

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of male homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2018: 67.2539
2017: 63.0535
2016: 59.92
2015: 61.31
2014: 59.56
2013: 47.15
2012: 54.43
2011: 52.24
2010: 52.56
2009: 57.06
2008: 63.41
2007: 65.13

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual female homicides by any means total

2018: 2,77139
2017: 3,22435
2016: 2,904
2015: 2,416
2014: 2,234
2013: 4,832
2012: 2,266
2011: 2,286
2010: 2,594
2009: 2,457
2008: 2,436
2007: 2,544

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

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of female homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2018: 9.9039
2017: 11.6435
2016: 10.59
2015: 8.92
2014: 8.34
2013: 18.25
2012: 8.65
2011: 8.81
2010: 10.08
2009: 9.64
2008: 9.67
2007: 10.22

Gun Homicides

ChartIn South Africa, annual firearm homicides total

2019: 7,35140
2018: 7,15641
2017: 6,55135
2009: 5,51342
2008: 5,237
2006: 9,06328
2005: 8,597
2004: 9,021
2003: 9,714
2002: 10,130
2001: 10,274
2000: 10,72728 29 43 30
1999: 11,21228 43 30 44
1998: 12,41328 43 30
1997: 11,166
1996: 11,258
1995: 11,15428 30
1994: 11,13432 30

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2018: 12.9241
2017: 11.9535
2009: 11.2042
2008: 10.47
2006: 18.828 45 46
2005: 18.028 46
2004: 19.1
2003: 20.8
2002: 22.028
2001: 22.6
2000: 24.0
1999: 25.4
1998: 28.5
1997: 26.0
1996: 26.7
1995: 26.9
1994: 28.8032

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

ChartIn South Africa, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2018: 34%41 33
2017: 32.2%35
2013: 33%47
2007: 33%27
2006: 47.2%28
2005: 46.4%
2004: 48.0%
2003: 49.0%
2002: 47.0%
2001: 48.0%
2000: 49.3%
1999: 49.6%
1998: 49.4%
1997: 45.6%
1996: 44.2%
1995: 41.5%

Male Gun Homicide Victims

In South Africa, annual male firearm homicides total

2009: 4,89542

Rate of Male Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

In South Africa, the annual rate of male firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2009: 20.542

Female Gun Homicide Victims

In South Africa, annual female firearm homicides total

2009: 61142

Rate of Female Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

In South Africa, the annual rate of female firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2009: 2.5042

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual suicides by any means total

2016: 6,47648
2015: 6,505
2010: 6,278
2009: 6,47142
2008: 6,86849
2007: 6,593
2005: 5,741
2004: 6,155
2003: 6,125
2002: 5,896
2000: 5,30048

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

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2016: 11.9348
2015: 12.12
2010: 12.28
2009: 13.4042
2008: 14.1049
2007: 13.77
2005: 12.24
2004: 13.21
2003: 13.20
2002: 12.97
2000: 11.80

Male Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual male suicides by any means total

2016: 5,13848
2015: 5,155
2010: 4,870
2009: 5,30742
2000: 3,962

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

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of male suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2016: 19.1148
2015: 19.40
2010: 19.18
2009: 23.242
2000: 18.01

Female Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual female suicides by any means total

2016: 1,33848
2015: 1,350
2010: 1,407
2009: 1,15342
2000: 1,338

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

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of female suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2016: 4.8848
2015: 4.98
2010: 5.47
2009: 4.5042
2000: 5.84

Gun Suicides

In South Africa, annual firearm suicides total

2009: 78042

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

In South Africa, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2009: 1.8042

Male Gun Suicide Victims

In South Africa, annual male firearm suicides total

2009: 68642

Rate of Male Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of male firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2015: 0.0925
2014: 0.12
2013: 0.11
2012: 0.11
2011: 0.11
2010: 0.09
2009: 0.10
2008: 0.14
2007: 0.09
2006: 0.15
2005: 0.11
2004: 0.20
2003: 0.09
2001: 0.22
2000: 0.13

Female Gun Suicide Victims

In South Africa, annual female firearm suicides total

2009: 9342

Rate of Female Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of female firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2015: 0.0125
2014: 0.01
2013: 0.03
2012: 0
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.03
2005: 0.02
2004: 0.03
2003: 0.01
2001: 0.03
2000: 0.01

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2015: 5,50025 50
2014: 4,833
2013: 4,230
2012: 4,190
2011: 3,710
2010: 4,152
2009: 4,737
2008: 5,539
2007: 4,903
2006: 380
2005: 1,049
2004: 524
2003: 431
2001: 1,691
2000: 699
1999: 951 52

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2015: 10.2525
2014: 9.12
2013: 8.07
2012: 8.07
2011: 7.21
2010: 8.12
2009: 9.35
2008: 11.07
2007: 9.93
1999: 0.025 52

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2015: 4,90925 50
2014: 4,275
2013: 3,717
2012: 3,603
2011: 3,219
2010: 3,584
2009: 4,156
2008: 4,760
2007: 4,229
2006: 322
2005: 893
2004: 430
2003: 376
2001: 1,470
2000: 603

Rate of Unintentional Male Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of unintentional male shooting death per 100,000 population is

2015: 18.4725
2014: 16.30
2013: 14.33
2012: 14.02
2011: 12.62
2010: 14.11
2009: 16.49
2008: 19.17
2007: 17.28
2006: 1.33
2005: 3.75
2004: 1.84
2003: 1.63
2001: 6.59
2000: 2.74

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2015: 54825 50
2014: 518
2013: 472
2012: 553
2011: 469
2010: 561
2009: 574
2008: 771
2007: 672
2006: 58
2005: 149
2004: 94
2003: 54
2001: 215
2000: 94

Rate of Unintentional Female Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of unintentional female shooting death per 100,000 population is

2015: 2.0225
2014: 1.93
2013: 1.78
2012: 2.11
2011: 1.81
2010: 2.18
2009: 2.25
2008: 3.06
2007: 2.70
2006: 0.24
2005: 0.61
2004: 0.39
2003: 0.23
2001: 0.93
2000: 0.41

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn South Africa, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2015: 325
2014: 925
2013: 3
2012: 9
2011: 6
2010: 453
2009: 5
2008: 41
2007: 458
1999: 4854 52

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

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

2015: 0.0125
2014: 0.02
2013: 0.01
2012: 0.02
2011: 0.01
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.08
2007: 0.93
1999: 0.115 52

Male Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn South Africa, annual male shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2015: 325
2014: 825
2013: 3
2012: 9
2011: 5
2010: 2
2009: 1
2008: 35
2007: 382

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

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of unknown-cause male shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2015: 0.0125
2014: 0.03
2013: 0.01
2012: 0.04
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.01
2009: 0
2008: 0.14
2007: 1.56

Female Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn South Africa, annual female shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2014: 025
2013: 0
2012: 0
2011: 1
2010: 1
2009: 4
2008: 6
2007: 74
2006: 805
2005: 719
2004: 930
2003: 1,097
2001: 999
2000: 1,195

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

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of unknown-cause female shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2011: 025
2010: 0
2009: 0.02
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.30
2006: 3.27
2005: 2.96
2004: 3.87
2003: 4.62
2001: 4.31
2000: 5.22

Legal Intervention Gun Homicides

In South Africa, annual legal-intervention gun homicides total

2011: 125

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In South Africa, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence55 56 57 58 59 60 61

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, South Africa was ranked 'medium'62

Home-made Guns

In South Africa, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be low63 64 61

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In South Africa, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72

Firearm Exports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms exported from South Africa is reported by manufacturers to be

2018: 1,27873
2017: 1,37173
2016: 1,49974

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

ChartThe annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from South Africa is reported by Customs to be US$

2017: 35,000,000
2003475875 (2011):

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, South Africa was categorized as 'mid-level'76

Firearm Imports

In South Africa, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law65 66 67 68 69 70 71

Firearm Imports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms imported to South Africa is reported to be

2018: 63,96073
2017: 34,54373
2016: 59,167

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

ChartThe annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to South Africa is reported by Customs to be US$

2017: 41,000,000
2016: 32,000,00077

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in South Africa is high78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In South Africa, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law87 88 89

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in South Africa include66 69 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

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, South Africa scored

2020: 13.25
2019: 12.7590
2018: 11.5091
2016: 11.2592
2014: 3.5093
2013: 2.0094
2012: 2.0095
2011: 2.0096
2010: 2.0097
2009: 2.0098
2008: 2.0099
2007: 2.00100
2006: 2.25101
2005: 4.00102
2004: 3.50103

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in South Africa is categorised as restrictive104

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in South Africa includes the Firearms Control Act 2000,105 the Firearms Control regulations 2004,106 the National Conventional Arms Control Act of 200269 and the Domestic Violence Act107

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in South Africa are regulated by the National Commissioner108 and the South African Police Service109

Right to Possess Firearms

In South Africa, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law110 111 112

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In South Africa, civilians are not allowed to possess semi-automatic firearms without special endorsement,113 automatic firearms and specifically modified firearms114

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In South Africa, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited114 47

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In South Africa, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited, with few exceptions114 113

Regulation of Handguns

In South Africa, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence114 113 47

Law Regulates Long Guns

In South Africa, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law113 47

Gun Ownership and Possession

In South Africa, only licensed gun owners112 115 116 47 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in South Africa are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting, target shooting, collection, personal protection, work113 117 118 119 120 121

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in South Africa is 21 years, with some exceptions that may include the fact that the applicant conducts a business, is gainfully employed, a dedicated hunter, a dedicated sports person or a private collector122 120

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in South Africa must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, medical, domestic violence, addiction, employment, and previous firearm licence123 124 125 126 47 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In South Africa, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required127

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in South Africa stipulates123 124 125 126 107 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In South Africa, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required123 128 116 129 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In South Africa, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every two to ten years130

Licensing Records

In South Africa, authorities maintain a record131 132 133 134 67 135 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in South Africa are permitted to possess 1 firearm per firearm licence136

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in South Africa are permitted to possess up to 2,400 primers or 200 cartridges per firearm, for all those other than dedicated hunters or sports-shooters137 138

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In South Africa, the law requires131 132 139 140 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 South Africa, licensed firearm dealers are required131 141 142 143 67 140 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In South Africa, licensed gun makers are required131 144 145 140 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In South Africa, State agencies are required131 146 147 148 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 South Africa, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited unless conducted by a licensed firearm dealer149 72

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In South Africa, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful149 150 71

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

ChartThe number of licensed firearm dealers in South Africa is reported to be

2006: 50150
2000: 720
1999: 644151

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In South Africa, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is 4 months for civilian competency certificates and 30 days for individual security officer certificates152

Regulation of Gun Shows

In South Africa, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are regulated153 154 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in South Africa include155 156 157 158 159 160 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 South Africa include155 156 55 161 56 159 160 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in South Africa include162 148 163 164 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in South Africa include155 165 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In South Africa, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited166 47

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In South Africa, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed without a permit166 47

Gun Free Zones

In South Africa, private guns are prohibited in educational institutions, churches, community centres, health facilities, NGOs, taverns, banks, corporate buildings, government buildings and some public spaces such as sport stadiums167 168

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In South Africa, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm169 is up to 15 years in prison170

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

African Union

In June 2006, as a member of the African Union, South Africa 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 2006171 172

Southern African Development Community

As a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), South Africa signed the SADC Declaration Concerning Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials in March 2001. This laid the ground for the August, 2001 adoption of the legally binding SADC Protocol on Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials173

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 2006174 by South Africa.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified175 by South Africa

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 ratified176 by South Africa

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, South Africa 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 Aspects177

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored South Africa against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 95178 179 180 181 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, South Africa has submitted one or more national reports182 183 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In South Africa, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated183

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In South Africa, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated184 183

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of South Africa submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent184

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated183 by South Africa to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided183 to South Africa by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, South Africa has not declared185 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, South Africa has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945186

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists187 South Africa 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 16,188 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.

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual homicides by any means total

2020: 19,84626
2019: 21,325
2018: 21,036
2017: 20,336
2016: 19,016
2015: 18,673
2014: 17,805
2013: 17,023
2012: 16,213
2011: 15,554
2010: 15,893
2009: 16,767
2008: 18,084
2007: 18,400
2006: 19,202
2005: 18,528
2004: 18,793
2003: 19,824
2002: 21,553
2001: 21,405
2000: 21,75827 28 29 30
1999: 22,60428 30 31
1998: 25,12728 30
1997: 24,486
1996: 25,470
1995: 26,877
1994: 26,83232 30

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

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

2018: 37.9633 34
2017: 37.0835
2016: 35.02
2015: 34.86
2014: 33.69
2013: 32.55
2012: 31.32
2011: 30.34
2010: 31.18
2009: 33.22
2008: 36.35
2007: 37.44
2006: 39.3
2005: 38.4
2004: 39.5
2003: 42.3
2002: 46.727 28 36
2001: 47.0
2000: 48.527 28 37 36
1999: 51.228 36
1998: 57.7
1997: 57.1
1996: 60.4
1995: 64.9
1994: 66.938

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual male homicides by any means total

2018: 18,25139
2017: 17,11235
2016: 16,112
2015: 16,294
2014: 15,623
2013: 12,233
2012: 13,993
2011: 13,323
2010: 13,346
2009: 14,377
2008: 15,748
2007: 15,943

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

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of male homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2018: 67.2539
2017: 63.0535
2016: 59.92
2015: 61.31
2014: 59.56
2013: 47.15
2012: 54.43
2011: 52.24
2010: 52.56
2009: 57.06
2008: 63.41
2007: 65.13

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual female homicides by any means total

2018: 2,77139
2017: 3,22435
2016: 2,904
2015: 2,416
2014: 2,234
2013: 4,832
2012: 2,266
2011: 2,286
2010: 2,594
2009: 2,457
2008: 2,436
2007: 2,544

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

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of female homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2018: 9.9039
2017: 11.6435
2016: 10.59
2015: 8.92
2014: 8.34
2013: 18.25
2012: 8.65
2011: 8.81
2010: 10.08
2009: 9.64
2008: 9.67
2007: 10.22

Gun Homicides

ChartIn South Africa, annual firearm homicides total

2019: 7,35140
2018: 7,15641
2017: 6,55135
2009: 5,51342
2008: 5,237
2006: 9,06328
2005: 8,597
2004: 9,021
2003: 9,714
2002: 10,130
2001: 10,274
2000: 10,72728 29 43 30
1999: 11,21228 43 30 44
1998: 12,41328 43 30
1997: 11,166
1996: 11,258
1995: 11,15428 30
1994: 11,13432 30

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn South Africa, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2018: 12.9241
2017: 11.9535
2009: 11.2042
2008: 10.47
2006: 18.828 45 46
2005: 18.028 46
2004: 19.1
2003: 20.8
2002: 22.028
2001: 22.6
2000: 24.0
1999: 25.4
1998: 28.5
1997: 26.0
1996: 26.7
1995: 26.9
1994: 28.8032

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

ChartIn South Africa, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2018: 34%41 33
2017: 32.2%35
2013: 33%47
2007: 33%27
2006: 47.2%28
2005: 46.4%
2004: 48.0%
2003: 49.0%
2002: 47.0%
2001: 48.0%
2000: 49.3%
1999: 49.6%
1998: 49.4%
1997: 45.6%
1996: 44.2%
1995: 41.5%

Male Gun Homicide Victims

In South Africa, annual male firearm homicides total

2009: 4,89542

Rate of Male Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

In South Africa, the annual rate of male firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2009: 20.542

Female Gun Homicide Victims

In South Africa, annual female firearm homicides total

2009: 61142

Rate of Female Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

In South Africa, the annual rate of female firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2009: 2.5042

Conflict Deaths

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

Disarmament

Authorities in South Africa are known to have189 190 191 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

ChartIn South Africa, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be

2020: 46,714192
2017: 15,148193
2016: 3,857
2015: 5,042194
2014: 4,332
2013: 4,936195
2012: 4,876
2011: 20,404196
2010: 42,329189 197
2009: 14,260196
2008: 11,479
2007: 18,817
2005: 62,404190 197
1994: 900197

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

ChartIn South Africa, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2019: 7,593198
2018: 19,061
2017: 17,479193
2016: 8,465
2015: 5,341199
2014: 10,113
2013: 20,145200
2012: 25,615
2011: 19,327201
2010: 21,268202
2009: 17,824203
2008: 17,157204
2007: 13,120205
2006: 14,735190 206
2005: 23,813205
2004: 30,208205 206
2003: 21,607
2002: 19,756205
2001: 15,421
1999: 14,272
1998: 20,702207 205
1997: 14,970
1996: 18,154
1995: 16,290
1994: 14,789

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2021: 25,000208
2019: 50,000+209 210
2017: 12,418193
2016: 14,382
2015: 9,477194
2014: 42,729194 211 212
2013: 56,051213
2012: 119,810214
2011: 46,527215
2010: 167,240216
2009: 111,491217
2008: 64,408218
2007: 74,592219
2006: 161,049
2005: 88,114
2004: 79,657
2003: 72,158
2002: 26,768
2001: 16,223219 191
2000: 12,416219
1999: 115,711220
1998/2001: 262,667

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In South Africa, it is state policy221 222 223 224 148 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

Marking and Tracing

Firearm Marking

In South Africa, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law225 139 226 227 228 56

Firearm Tracing

In South Africa, state authorities carry out229 230 227 231 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In South Africa, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not originally232 recorded in a register

Global Peace Index

To see where South Africa ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index, and then click on South Africa on the map or in the "Select Country" menu on the right of the web page


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