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South Africa — 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 South Africa is

2017: 5,351,0001
2013: 3,400,0002 3 4 5

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 9.701
2013: 6.616 5

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In South Africa, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 1,286,6287 8 9 (registered only)

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In South Africa, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 453,4867 8 9 (registered only)

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In South Africa, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 2,784,4207 8 9 (registered only)

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, South Africa ranked at No. 1710

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, South Africa ranked at No. 505

Proportion of Households with Firearms

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

2001: 20%11

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

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

2011: 1,500,0002
2001: 2,092,24211
1999: 2,027,41112 9
1996: 2,000,00013
1994: 2,400,0002

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

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

2011: 2.926
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

2017: 3,000,0001
2011: 2,900,0002
2007: 3,000,00014
2005: 3,737,6765
2004: 3,737,67613
2003: 3,735,6767 15
2001: 3,667,28911
1999: 3,554,3368 7 15
1996: 3,503,57313
1994: 3,500,0002

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

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

2011: 5.646
2007: 6.08
2005: 7.77
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

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,16 but in South Africa there are estimated to be 500,0003 to 4,000,0004

Estimated Rate of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,16 but in South Africa the rate of such firearms per 100 people is estimated to be 1.13 to 8.326

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of South Africa are reported to have 350,63617 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In South Africa, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms18

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in South Africa are reported to have 250,48119 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2015: 5,62220
2014: 4,97820
2013: 4,357
2012: 4,295
2011: 3,794
2010: 4,21721
2009: 4,806
2008: 5,642
2007: 5,521
2005: 15,00022
2000: 5,20123
1999: 3,90624

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: 10.4720
2014: 9.39
2013: 8.31
2012: 8.27
2011: 7.37
2010: 8.25
2009: 9.48
2008: 11.28
2007: 11.18
2005: 31.18
2000: 11.58
1999: 8.81

Total Number of Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual male deaths resulting from firearms total

2015: 5,01820
2014: 4,40620
2013: 3,832
2012: 3,694
2011: 3,290
2010: 3,638
2009: 4,209
2008: 4,852
2007: 4,748

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: 18.8820
2014: 16.80
2013: 14.77
2012: 14.37
2011: 12.90
2010: 14.33
2009: 16.71
2008: 19.54
2007: 19.40

Total Number of Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual female deaths resulting from firearms total

2015: 56120
2014: 53120
2013: 483
2012: 566
2011: 481
2010: 571
2009: 590
2008: 782
2007: 769

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: 2.0720
2014: 1.98
2013: 1.82
2012: 2.16
2011: 1.85
2010: 2.22
2009: 2.32
2008: 3.10
2007: 3.09

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual homicides by any means total

2016: 19,01625
2015: 7,20120
2014: 5,314
2013: 5,019
2012: 4,928
2011: 4,989
2010: 5,059
2009: 5,089
2008: 5,467
2007: 5,648
2006: 19,202
2005: 18,528
2004: 18,793
2003: 19,824
2002: 21,553
2001: 21,405
2000: 21,75826 27 23 28
1999: 22,60427 28 24
1998: 25,12727 28
1997: 24,486
1996: 25,470
1995: 26,877
1994: 26,83229 28

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

2016: 35.0225
2015: 13.4220
2014: 10.03
2013: 9.57
2012: 9.49
2011: 9.70
2010: 9.90
2009: 10.04
2008: 10.93
2007: 11.44
2006: 39.3
2005: 38.4
2004: 39.5
2003: 42.3
2002: 46.726 27 30
2001: 47.0
2000: 48.526 27 31 30
1999: 51.227 30
1998: 57.7
1997: 57.1
1996: 60.4
1995: 64.9
1994: 66.932

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual male homicides by any means total

2015: 6,35320
2014: 4,67020
2013: 4,393
2012: 4,271
2011: 4,294
2010: 4,381
2009: 4,405
2008: 4,756
2007: 4,921

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

2015: 23.9020
2014: 17.80
2013: 16.93
2012: 16.61
2011: 16.84
2010: 17.25
2009: 17.48
2008: 19.15
2007: 20.10

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual female homicides by any means total

2015: 80120
2014: 60120
2013: 588
2012: 615
2011: 650
2010: 664
2009: 673
2008: 698
2007: 715

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

2015: 2.9620
2014: 2.24
2013: 2.22
2012: 2.35
2011: 2.50
2010: 2.58
2009: 2.64
2008: 2.77
2007: 2.87

Gun Homicides

ChartIn South Africa, annual firearm homicides total

2015: 9420
2014: 10020
2013: 88
2012: 68
2011: 44
2010: 34
2009: 35
2008: 28
2007: 135
2006: 9,06327
2005: 8,597
2004: 9,021
2003: 9,714
2002: 10,130
2001: 10,274
2000: 10,72727 23 33 28
1999: 11,21227 33 28 34
1998: 12,41327 33 28
1997: 11,166
1996: 11,258
1995: 11,15427 28
1994: 11,13429 28

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2015: 0.1820
2014: 0.19
2013: 0.17
2012: 0.13
2011: 0.09
2010: 0.07
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.06
2007: 0.27
2006: 18.827 35 36
2005: 18.027 36
2004: 19.1
2003: 20.8
2002: 22.027
2001: 22.6
2000: 24.0
1999: 25.4
1998: 28.5
1997: 26.0
1996: 26.7
1995: 26.9
1994: 28.8029

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2013: 33%37
2007: 33%26
2006: 47.2%27
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

ChartIn South Africa, annual male firearm homicides total

2015: 8320
2014: 91
2013: 83
2012: 55
2011: 38
2010: 28
2009: 26
2008: 23
2007: 115

Rate of Male Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2015: 0.3120
2014: 0.35
2013: 0.32
2012: 0.21
2011: 0.15
2010: 0.11
2009: 0.10
2008: 0.09
2007: 0.47

Female Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn South Africa, annual female firearm homicides total

2015: 1120
2014: 9
2013: 4
2012: 12
2011: 5
2010: 6
2009: 9
2008: 5
2007: 20

Rate of Female Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2015: 0.0420
2014: 0.03
2013: 0.02
2012: 0.05
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.02
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.08

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn South Africa, annual handgun homicides total

2000: 6,72428
1999: 7,183
1998: 7,032
1997: 6,590
1996: 6,696
1995: 9,019
1994: 9,144

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2000: 14.976
1999: 16.20
1998: 16.06
1997: 15.25
1996: 15.69
1995: 21.40
1994: 21.97

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn South Africa, annual long gun homicides total

2000: 2,60328
1999: 3,071
1998: 3,037
1997: 2,722
1996: 1,300
1995: 1,421
1994: 1,423

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2000: 5.806
1999: 6.92
1998: 6.94
1997: 6.30
1996: 3.05
1995: 3.37
1994: 3.42

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn South Africa, annual gun homicides (other) total

2000: 1,52728
1999: 1,757
1998: 2,185
1997: 1,868
1996: 2,592
1995: 291
1994: 618

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

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

2000: 3.406
1999: 3.96
1998: 4.99
1997: 4.32
1996: 6.07
1995: 0.69
1994: 1.48

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual suicides by any means total

2015: 48320
2014: 58420
2013: 592
2012: 492
2011: 359
2010: 394
2009: 372
2008: 442
2007: 421
2000: 1,78223
1999: 1,15724 38

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

2015: 0.9020
2014: 1.10
2013: 1.13
2012: 0.95
2011: 0.70
2010: 0.77
2009: 0.73
2008: 0.88
2007: 0.85
2000: 3.97
1999: 2.616 38

Male Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual male suicides by any means total

2015: 37720
2014: 46120
2013: 470
2012: 376
2011: 284
2010: 300
2009: 280
2008: 346
2007: 316

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

2015: 1.4220
2014: 1.76
2013: 1.81
2012: 1.46
2011: 1.11
2010: 1.18
2009: 1.11
2008: 1.39
2007: 1.29

Female Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn South Africa, annual female suicides by any means total

2015: 10520
2014: 12120
2013: 120
2012: 115
2011: 75
2010: 94
2009: 92
2008: 96
2007: 104

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

2015: 0.3920
2014: 0.45
2013: 0.45
2012: 0.44
2011: 0.29
2010: 0.37
2009: 0.36
2008: 0.38
2007: 0.42

Gun Suicides

ChartIn South Africa, annual firearm suicides total

2015: 2520
2014: 3620
2013: 36
2012: 28
2011: 33
2010: 2721
2009: 29
2008: 34
2007: 25
1999: 40439 38

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2015: 0.0520
2014: 0.07
2013: 0.07
2012: 0.05
2011: 0.06
2010: 0.05
2009: 0.06
2008: 0.07
2007: 0.05
1999: 0.916 38

Male Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn South Africa, annual male firearm suicides total

2015: 2320
2014: 3220
2013: 29
2012: 27
2011: 28
2010: 24
2009: 26
2008: 34
2007: 22

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: 0.0920
2014: 0.12
2013: 0.11
2012: 0.11
2011: 0.11
2010: 0.09
2009: 0.10
2008: 0.14
2007: 0.09

Female Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn South Africa, annual female firearm suicides total

2015: 220
2014: 420
2013: 7
2012: 1
2011: 5
2010: 3
2009: 3
2007: 3

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: 0.0120
2014: 0.01
2013: 0.03
2012: 0
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2007: 0.01

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2015: 5,50020
2014: 4,83320
2013: 4,230
2012: 4,190
2011: 3,710
2010: 4,152
2009: 4,737
2008: 5,539
2007: 4,903
1999: 940 38

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: 10.2520
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: 0.026 38

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2015: 4,90920
2014: 4,27520
2013: 3,717
2012: 3,603
2011: 3,219
2010: 3,584
2009: 4,156
2008: 4,760
2007: 4,229

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: 18.4720
2014: 16.30
2013: 14.33
2012: 14.02
2011: 12.62
2010: 14.11
2009: 16.49
2008: 19.17
2007: 17.28

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn South Africa, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2015: 54820
2014: 51820
2013: 472
2012: 553
2011: 469
2010: 561
2009: 574
2008: 771
2007: 672

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: 2.0220
2014: 1.93
2013: 1.78
2012: 2.11
2011: 1.81
2010: 2.18
2009: 2.25
2008: 3.06
2007: 2.70

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2015: 320
2014: 920
2013: 3
2012: 9
2011: 6
2010: 421
2009: 5
2008: 41
2007: 458
1999: 4841 38

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: 0.0120
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: 0.116 38

Male Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2015: 320
2014: 820
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: 0.0120
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: 020
2013: 0
2012: 0
2011: 1
2010: 1
2009: 4
2008: 6
2007: 74

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: 020
2010: 0
2009: 0.02
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.30

Legal Intervention Gun Homicides

In South Africa, annual legal-intervention gun homicides total

2011: 120

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 licence42 43 44 45 46 47

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, South Africa was ranked 'medium'48

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In South Africa, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56

Firearm Exports (Number)

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

2017: 1,37157
2016: 1,49958

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from South Africa is reported by Customs to be US$20,034,75859 (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'60

Firearm Imports

In South Africa, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law49 50 51 52 53 54 55

Firearm Imports (Number)

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

2017: 34,54357
2016: 59,167

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to South Africa is reported by Customs to be US$23,643,43759 (2011)61 62 63 64

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in South Africa is high65 66 67 68 69

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In South Africa, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law70 71 72

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in South Africa include50 53 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

2018: 11.5073
2016: 11.2574
2014: 3.5075
2013: 2.0076
2012: 2.0077
2011: 2.0078
2010: 2.0079
2009: 2.0080
2008: 2.0081
2007: 2.0082
2006: 2.2583
2005: 4.0084
2004: 3.5085

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in South Africa is categorised as restrictive86

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in South Africa includes the Firearms Control Act 2000,87 the Firearms Control regulations 2004,88 the National Conventional Arms Control Act of 200253 and the Domestic Violence Act89

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in South Africa are regulated by the National Commissioner90 and the South African Police Service91

Right to Possess Firearms

In South Africa, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law92 93 94

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In South Africa, civilians are not allowed to possess semi-automatic firearms without special endorsement,95 automatic firearms and specifically modified firearms96

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In South Africa, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited96 37

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In South Africa, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited, with few exceptions96 95

Regulation of Handguns

In South Africa, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence96 95 37

Law Regulates Long Guns

In South Africa, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law95 37

Gun Ownership and Possession

In South Africa, only licensed gun owners94 97 98 37 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, work95 99 100 101 102 103

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 collector104 102

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 licence105 106 107 108 37 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In South Africa, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required109

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in South Africa stipulates105 106 107 108 89 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 required105 110 98 111 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 years112

Licensing Records

In South Africa, authorities maintain a record113 114 115 116 51 117 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 licence118

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-shooters119 120

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In South Africa, the law requires113 114 121 122 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 required113 123 124 125 51 122 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 required113 126 127 122 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In South Africa, State agencies are required113 128 129 130 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 dealer131 56

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In South Africa, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful131 132 55

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

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

2006: 50132
2000: 720
1999: 644133

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 certificates134

Regulation of Gun Shows

In South Africa, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are regulated135 136 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in South Africa include137 138 139 140 141 142 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 include137 138 42 143 43 141 142 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 include130 144 145 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in South Africa include137 146 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In South Africa, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law147 121 148 149 150 43

Firearm Tracing

In South Africa, state authorities carry out151 152 149 153 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 not154 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In South Africa, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited155 37

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In South Africa, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed without a permit155 37

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 stadiums156 157

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In South Africa, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm158 is up to 15 years in prison159

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in South Africa are known to have160 161 162 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

2013: 4,936163
2012: 4,876
2010: 42,329160 164
2005: 62,404161 164
1994: 900164

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

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

2013: 20,145165
2012: 25,615
2011: 19,327166
2010: 21,268167
2009: 17,824168
2008: 17,157169
2007: 13,120170
2006: 182,315161 171
2005: 23,813170
2004: 30,208170 171
2003: 21,607
2002: 19,756170
2001: 15,421
1999: 14,272
1998: 20,702172 170
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

2014: 36,750173 174
2013: 56,051175
2012: 119,810176
2011: 46,527177
2010: 167,240178
2009/14: 306,111174
2009: 111,491179
2008: 64,408180
2007: 74,592181
2006: 161,049
2005: 88,114
2004: 79,657
2003: 72,158
2002: 26,768
2001: 16,223181 162
2000: 12,416181
1999: 115,711182
1998/2001: 262,667

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In South Africa, it is state policy183 184 185 186 130 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, 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 2006187 188

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 Materials189

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 2006190 by South Africa.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified191 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 ratified192 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 Aspects193

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. 95194 195 196 197 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 reports198 199 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 designated200 199

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In South Africa, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated200 199

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 apparent200

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated199 by South Africa to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided199 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 declared201 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 1945202

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists203 South Africa as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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