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Sri Lanka — 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 Sri Lanka is

2017: 494,0001
2007: 300,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2017: 2.401
2007: 1.52

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Sri Lanka ranked at No. 1023

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Sri Lanka ranked at No. 1332

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Sri Lanka is reported to be

2017: 35,0001
2007: 30,5002

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Sri Lanka is 0.154

Estimated Number of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms

ChartUnregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,5 but in Sri Lanka there are estimated to be

2017: 459,0001
2008: 50,0006

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Sri Lanka are reported to have 509,7007 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Sri Lanka are reported to have 134,0008 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Sri Lanka, annual homicides by any means total

2016: 5309
2015: 487
2014: 553
2013: 619
2012: 676
2011: 732
2010: 763
2009: 1,099
2008: 2,002
2007: 1,663
2006: 2,045
2005: 1,221
2004: 1,37710 11
2003: 1,310
1997: 1,85112
1996: 1,775
1995: 1,614

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

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

2016: 2.389
2015: 2.21
2014: 2.53
2013: 2.86
2012: 3.15
2011: 3.44
2010: 3.62
2009: 5.26
2008: 9.67
2007: 8.2
2006: 10.2
2005: 6.1
2004: 7.010 11
2003: 6.710 13 11
2002: 4.513
2001: 4.1
2000: 5.1
1999: 4.7
1998: 4.3
1997: 9.9812 13
1996: 9.7012
1995: 8.91

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Sri Lanka, annual male homicides by any means total

2016: 40014
2015: 376
2014: 428
2013: 473
2012: 505
2011: 547
2010: 595
2009: 896
2008: 1,653

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

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

2016: 3.9914
2015: 3.77
2014: 4.30
2013: 4.77
2012: 5.10
2011: 5.55
2010: 6.05
2009: 9.15
2008: 16.94

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Sri Lanka, annual female homicides by any means total

2016: 13014
2015: 111
2014: 125
2013: 146
2012: 171
2011: 185
2010: 168
2009: 203
2008: 349

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

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

2016: 1.2114
2015: 1.03
2014: 1.17
2013: 1.38
2012: 1.62
2011: 1.77
2010: 1.62
2009: 1.97
2008: 3.42

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Sri Lanka, annual firearm homicides total

2004: 29111
2003: 174
1997: 56212
1996: 516
1995: 449

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Sri Lanka, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2004: 1.4411
2003: 0.85
1997: 3.0312
1996: 2.82
1995: 2.48

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

ChartIn Sri Lanka, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2004: 21.1%13
2003: 13.3%

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Sri Lanka, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence15

Home-made Guns

In Sri Lanka, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be moderate16 17

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

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

2016: 4,495,76318
2015: 46,684
2014: 10,762
2012: 110,942
2011: 3,14819

Firearm Imports

In Sri Lanka, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law20

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

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

2016: 1,230,20018
2015: 2,554,312
2014: 1,782,680
2013: 218,011
2012: 1,220,698
2011: 104,79019

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Sri Lanka is high21 22 23

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Sri Lanka, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law20 24

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Sri Lanka is categorised as restrictive25

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Sri Lanka includes the Firearms Ordinance No. 33 of 1916, last amended in August 199626

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Sri Lanka are regulated by the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order27

Right to Possess Firearms

In Sri Lanka, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law28 29

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Sri Lanka, only licensed gun owners30 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Sri Lanka are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm31

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Sri Lanka must pass a background check which considers technical aptitude and mental health32 records

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Sri Lanka, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every year32

Licensing Records

In Sri Lanka, authorities maintain a record33 34 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Sri Lanka, the law requires35 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 Sri Lanka, licensed firearm dealers are required36 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Sri Lanka, licensed gun makers are required37 38 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Sri Lanka, State agencies are required39 40 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 Sri Lanka, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without a permit to acquire41

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Sri Lanka, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful42

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Sri Lanka, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law39 43 44 45

Firearm Tracing

In Sri Lanka, state authorities carry out35 24 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Sri Lanka, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm46 is five to 20 years in prison, depending on the repetition of offence47

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Sri Lanka, it is state policy48 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development, was not signed49 by Sri Lanka.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has not been signed50 by Sri Lanka

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has not been signed51 by Sri Lanka

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Sri Lanka 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 Aspects52

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Sri Lanka against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 7453 54 55 56 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Sri Lanka has submitted one or more national reports57 24 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Sri Lanka, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated58 24

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Sri Lanka, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated58 24

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Sri Lanka submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent58 24

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated24 by Sri Lanka to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided24 to Sri Lanka by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Sri Lanka has not declared59 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Sri Lanka has been a Member State of the United Nations since 195560

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list61 Sri Lanka as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


Short References

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Sydney School of Public Health, 24 January.
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8.

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12.

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17.

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18.

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19.

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21.

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22.

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23.

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24.

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25.

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27.

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28.

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31.

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32.

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33.

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34.

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35.

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36.

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37.

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39.

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44.

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45.

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