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United Kingdom — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

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StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in the United Kingdom is

2017: 3,260,6091 2

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in the United Kingdom is

2017: 5.033

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In the United Kingdom, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 524,4894 5 6

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In the United Kingdom, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 1,537,9677 8 5

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In the United Kingdom, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 14,5015 9

Proportion of Households with Firearms

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2005: 6.0%10
1999/2003: 3.0%
1995/98: 4.1%
1989: 5.2%

Proportion of Households with Handguns

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the percentage of households with one or more handguns is reported to be

2005: 0.4%10
1999/2003: 0.1%
1995/98: 0.4%
1989: 0.5%

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

ChartThe number of licensed gun owners in the United Kingdom is reported to be

2017: 710,21111 12 13
2010: 859,47714 4 15 6 16
2009: 852,035
2008: 816,562

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in the United Kingdom is

2017: 1.103
2010: 1.37
2009: 1.37
2008: 1.32

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in the United Kingdom is reported to be

2017: 2,229,344 17 8 2 13
2010: 2,157,44314 4 18 6 16
2009: 2,146,971
2006: 2,045,532
2005: 2,051,017

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in the United Kingdom is

2017: 3.443
2010: 3.44
2009: 3.45
2006: 3.36
2005: 3.40

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in the United Kingdom there are estimated to be

2017: 1,031,2652

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in the United Kingdom the rate of illicit firearms per 100 people is estimated to be

2017: 1.593

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of the United Kingdom are reported to have 539,68019 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In the United Kingdom, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm in England, Wales and Scotland, but carry one or more firearms in Northern Ireland20 21 22 23

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in the United Kingdom are reported to have 43,00024 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 14425 26 27 28 29
2012: 123
2011: 137
2010: 155
2009: 15030 31 32
2008: 17433 34 35
2007: 13036 37 38
2006: 21139 40 41
2005: 16242 43 44
2004: 15645 46 47
2003: 16348 49 50
2002: 16951 52 53
2001: 15654 55 56
2000: 23457 58 59
1999: 21260 61 62
1998: 19663 64 65
1997: 18766 67 68
1996: 24769 70 71

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.2372
2012: 0.20
2011: 0.22
2010: 0.25
2009: 0.24
2008: 0.28
2007: 0.21
2006: 0.35
2005: 0.27
2004: 0.26
2003: 0.27
2002: 0.28
2001: 0.26
2000: 0.40
1999: 0.36
1998: 0.34
1997: 0.32
1996: 0.42

Total Number of Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 13772
2012: 120
2011: 126
2010: 147

Total Number of Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 772
2012: 3
2011: 11
2010: 8

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual homicides by any means total

2014: 59473
2013: 14572
2012: 147
2011: 191
2010: 180
2009: 765
2008: 879
2007: 85674 75 76 77 78
2006: 83274 75 76 77
2005: 958
2004: 914
2003: 1,11274 75 76 77 79
2002: 95874 75 80 77
2001: 919
1999: 82874 75 80 81

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

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

2014: 0.9273
2013: 0.2372
2012: 0.20
2011: 0.22
2010: 0.25
2009: 1.24
2008: 1.42
2007: 1.41
2006: 1.38
2005: 1.60
2004: 1.53
2003: 1.87
2002: 1.62
2001: 1.56
1999: 1.413

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male homicides by any means total

2014: 38782
2013: 11172
2012: 99
2011: 139
2010: 126

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female homicides by any means total

2014: 20782
2013: 3472
2012: 48
2011: 52
2010: 54

Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 2325
2012: 12
2011: 32
2010: 27
2009: 2630 31 32 25
2008: 4033 34 35 25
2007: 1536 37 38 25
2006: 6139 40 41 25
2005: 3842 43 44 25
2004: 3645 46 47 25
2003: 2948 49 50 25
2002: 3951 52 53 25
2001: 3854 55 56 25
2000: 7157 58 59
1999: 4560 61 62 25
1998: 3363 64 65 25
1997: 4566 67 68
1996: 8469 70 71

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0472
2012: 0.02
2011: 0.05
2010: 0.04
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.06
2007: 0.02
2006: 0.10
2005: 0.06
2004: 0.06
2003: 0.05
2002: 0.07
2001: 0.06
2000: 0.12
1999: 0.08
1998: 0.06
1997: 0.083
1996: 0.14

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

In the United Kingdom, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2012: 8%83

Male Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male firearm homicides total

2013: 1872
2012: 10
2011: 28
2010: 21

Female Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female firearm homicides total

2013: 572
2012: 2
2011: 4
2010: 6

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual handgun homicides total

2013: 125
2012: 1
2008: 433 34 25
2007: 237 25
2006: 339 40 25
2005: 343 25
2004: 246 25
2003: 349 25
2001: 155 25

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0025
2012: 0.00
2008: 0.013 25
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.00
2005: 0.00
2004: 0.00
2003: 0.01
2001: 0.00

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual long gun homicides total

2013: 625
2012: 4
2011: 1084
2010: 685 25
2009: 430 31 25
2008: 433 34 25
2007: 636 37 38 25
2006: 839 40 41 25
2005: 642 43 44 25
2004: 1145 46 47 25
2003: 648 50 25
2002: 851 53 25
2001: 854 55 25

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0125
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.023 25
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.01
2004: 0.02
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.01
2001: 0.01

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual gun homicides (other) total

2013: 1625
2012: 7
2011: 2884 86 87 25
2010: 2785 88 89 25
2009: 2230 31 32 25
2008: 3233 34 35 25
2007: 737 38 25
2006: 5039 40 41 25
2005: 2942 43 44 25
2004: 2345 46 47 25
2003: 2048 49 50 25
2002: 3151 52 53 25
2001: 2954 56 25

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

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

2013: 0.0325
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.043 25
2010: 0.04
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.05
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.08
2005: 0.05
2004: 0.04
2003: 0.03
2002: 0.05
2001: 0.05

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual suicides by any means total

2013: 4,82072
2012: 4,443
2011: 4,391
2010: 4,186
2009: 5,675
2008: 5,706
2007: 5,377
2006: 5,554
2005: 5,671
2004: 5,850
2003: 5,731
2002: 5,826
2001: 5,932
2000: 6,124
1999: 6,255
1998: 6,354
1997: 5,816
1996: 5,877
1995: 6,083
1994: 6,045
1993: 6,212
1992: 6,378
1991: 6,317
1990: 6,437

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

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2013: 7.6072
2012: 7.05
2011: 7
2010: 6.71
2009: 11.3
2008: 11.4
2007: 10.8
2006: 11.3
2005: 11.5
2004: 12.0
2003: 11.8
2002: 12.1
2001: 12.4
2000: 12.9
1999: 13.2
1998: 13.5
1997: 12.4
1996: 12.4
1995: 13.0
1994: 12.8
1993: 13.3
1992: 13.7
1991: 13.6
1990: 13.9

Male Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male suicides by any means total

2013: 3,82872
2012: 3,511
2011: 3,432
2010: 3,223

Female Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female suicides by any means total

2013: 99272
2012: 932
2011: 959
2010: 963

Gun Suicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual firearm suicides total

2013: 10626
2012: 92
2011: 9384 86 87 26
2010: 10985 88 89 26
2009: 10130 31 32 26
2008: 12033 34 35 26
2007: 10036 37 38 26
2006: 13039 40 41 26
2005: 11142 43 44 26
2004: 10245 46 47 26
2003: 11748 49 50 26
2002: 10851 52 53 26
2001: 10754 55 56 26
2000: 13457 58 59
1999: 14060 61 62 26
1998: 13663 64 65 26
1997: 13766 67 68
1996: 13369 70 71
1995: 18490 91 92

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.1772
2012: 0.15
2011: 0.15
2010: 0.17
2009: 0.16
2008: 0.19
2007: 0.16
2006: 0.21
2005: 0.18
2004: 0.17
2003: 0.20
2002: 0.18
2001: 0.18
2000: 0.233
1999: 0.243 26
1998: 0.23
1997: 0.233
1996: 0.23
1995: 0.32

Male Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male firearm suicides total

2013: 10472
2012: 91
2011: 88
2010: 107

Female Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female firearm suicides total

2013: 272
2012: 1
2011: 5
2010: 2

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual handgun suicides total

2013: 226
2012: 1
2011: 186 26
2010: 189 26
2008: 433 34 26
2007: 136 26
2006: 239 40 26
2005: 143 26
2003: 448 49 26
2002: 351 52 26
2001: 254 56 26

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of handgun suicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0026
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.003 26
2010: 0.00
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.00
2005: 0.00
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.01
2001: 0.00

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the number of long gun suicides is

2013: 5426
2012: 40
2011: 4384 86 87 26
2010: 5985 88 89 26
2009: 5530 31 32 26
2008: 6433 34 35 26
2007: 5236 37 38 26
2006: 7339 40 41 26
2005: 5642 43 44 26
2004: 5045 46 47 26
2003: 5948 49 50 26
2002: 5251 52 53 26
2001: 5954 55 56 26

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of long gun suicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0826
2012: 0.06
2011: 0.073 26
2010: 0.09
2009: 0.09
2008: 0.10
2007: 0.08
2006: 0.12
2005: 0.09
2004: 0.08
2003: 0.10
2002: 0.09
2001: 0.10

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual gun suicides (other) total

2013: 5026
2012: 51
2011: 4984 86 87 26
2010: 4985 88 89 26
2009: 4630 31 32 26
2008: 5233 34 35 26
2007: 4736 37 38 26
2006: 5539 40 41 26
2005: 5442 43 44 26
2004: 5245 46 47 26
2003: 5448 49 50 26
2002: 5351 52 53 26
2001: 4654 55 56 26

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

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

2013: 0.0826
2012: 0.08
2011: 0.083 26
2010: 0.08
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.08
2007: 0.08
2006: 0.09
2005: 0.09
2004: 0.09
2003: 0.09
2002: 0.09
2001: 0.08

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2013: 527
2012: 6
2011: 284 87 27
2010: 885 27
2009: 1130 27
2008: 533 27
2007: 336 38 27
2006: 539 40 41 27
2005: 142 27
2004: 345 47 27
2003: 448 49 27
2002: 251 53 27
2001: 354 55 27
2000: 1257 58
1999: 660 27
1998: 727
1996: 270
1995: 1490 91

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0272
2012: 0.02
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.02
2009: 0.02
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.00
2004: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.00
2001: 0.01
2000: 0.023
1999: 0.013 27
1998: 0.0127
1996: 0.003
1995: 0.02

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2013: 572
2012: 6
2011: 1
2010: 8

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2013: 072
2012: 0
2011: 1
2010: 0

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2013: 127
2006: 139 27
2000: 257

Rate of Unintentional Handgun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by handgun per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0027
2006: 0.003
2000: 0.00

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2013: 227
2012: 3
2011: 187 27
2010: 385 27
2009: 530 27
2008: 333 27
2007: 138 27
2006: 240 41 27
2005: 142 27
2003: 248 49 27
2002: 251 53 27
2001: 154 27

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.0027
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.003 27
2010: 0.00
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.00
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.00
2005: 0.00
2003: 0.00
2002: 0.00
2001: 0.00

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional shooting deaths by firearm (other) total

2013: 227
2012: 3
2011: 184 27
2010: 585 27
2009: 630 27
2008: 233 27
2007: 236 27
2006: 239 27
2005: 227
2004: 345 47 27
2003: 248 27
2002: 127
2001: 254 55 27

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

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by firearm (other) per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0027
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.003 27
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.00
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.00
2005: 0.00
2004: 0.01
2003: 0.00
2002: 0.00
2001: 0.00

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 1028
2012: 13
2011: 1084 87 28
2010: 1185 89 28
2009: 830 28
2008: 733 28
2007: 1136 38 28
2006: 1339 41 28
2005: 1142 44 28
2004: 1545 47 28
2003: 1348 49 50 28
2002: 2051 53 28
2001: 854 56 28
2000: 1757 59
1999: 2160 61 62
1998: 2763 64 65
1997: 568
1996: 2869 70 71
1995: 3290 91

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

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

2013: 0.0228
2012: 0.02
2011: 0.023 28
2010: 0.02
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.02
2006: 0.02
2005: 0.02
2004: 0.03
2003: 0.02
2002: 0.03
2001: 0.01
2000: 0.033
1999: 0.04
1998: 0.05
1997: 0.01
1996: 0.05
1995: 0.06

Male Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 1072
2012: 13
2011: 9
2010: 11

Female Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 072
2012: 0
2011: 1
2010: 0

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual deaths by handgun in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 128
2004: 1
2003: 148 28
2002: 151
2001: 128

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

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unknown-cause handgun deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0028
2004: 0.00
2003: 0.003 28
2002: 0.003
2001: 0.0028

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual deaths by long gun in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 328
2012: 6
2011: 684 87 28
2010: 685 89 28
2009: 430 28
2008: 333 28
2007: 236 38 28
2006: 439 41 28
2005: 742 44 28
2004: 845 47 28
2003: 548 50 28
2002: 1451 53 28
2001: 754 56 28

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

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unknown-cause long gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0028
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.013 28
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.00
2007: 0.00
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.01
2004: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.02
2001: 0.01

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual deaths by firearm (other) in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 628
2012: 7
2011: 484 87 28
2010: 585 89 28
2009: 430 28
2008: 433 28
2007: 936 38 28
2006: 939 28
2005: 442 28
2004: 745 28
2003: 748 49 50 28
2002: 551 28
2001: 154 28

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

ChartIn the United Kingdom, the annual rate of unknown-cause gun deaths (other) per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0128
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.013 28
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.01
2004: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.01
2001: 0.00

Legal Intervention Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual legal-intervention gun homicides total

2013: 029
2012: 8
2011: 384 86
2010: 485
2009: 430 31
2008: 233
2007: 137
2006: 239
2005: 142

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In the United Kingdom, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence93 94 95

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, the United Kingdom was ranked 'medium'96

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In the United Kingdom, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law97 98 99 100 101

Firearm Exports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms exported from the United Kingdom is reported by manufacturers to be

2017: 54,531102
2016: 36,071
2015: 101,546
2014: 87,652
2013: 98,511
2012: 131,894
2011: 27,513
2010: 67,029
2009: 59,969
2008: 277,551
2007: 255,847
2006: 358,904

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

ChartThe annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from the United Kingdom is reported by Customs to be US$

2016: 152,381,404103
2015: 159,670,011
2014: 203,075,850
2013: 188,134,307
2012: 174,266,049103 104 105
2011: 112,052,237106
2010: 79,000,000107
2001: 61,000,000104

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, the United Kingdom was categorized as 'major'108 109 110

Firearm Imports

In the United Kingdom, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law99 111 112 101

Firearm Imports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms imported to the United Kingdom is reported to be

2017: 4,081102
2016: 4,467
2015: 1,104
2014: 2,666
2013: 30,061
2012: 4,246
2011: 3,573
2010: 7,734
2009: 39,211
2008: 26,791
2007: 59,436
2006: 519

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

ChartThe annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to the United Kingdom is reported by Customs to be US$

2016: 235,891,929103
2015: 224,924,468
2014: 245,788,887
2013: 208,130,096
2012: 227,816,473103 113 114 115 116
2011: 121,643,569106 117 118
2010: 180,000,000119
2001: 71,000,000113 120

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in the United Kingdom is moderate121 122

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In the United Kingdom, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law123 124 125 126

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in the United Kingdom include100 127 98 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, the United Kingdom scored

2017: 19.25128
2016: 19.75129
2014: 19.50130
2013: 19.25131
2012: 19.75132
2011: 20.00133
2010: 18.75134
2009: 19.00135
2008: 19.25136
2007: 16.00137
2006: 13.75138
2005: 16.50139
2004: 15.00140

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in the United Kingdom is categorised as restrictive141

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in the United Kingdom includes the Firearms Act 1968,142 the Export Control Act 2002,97 the Export Control Order 2008,143 the Import, Export and Customs Powers (Defence) Act 1939,99 the Import of Goods (Control) Order 1954,111 the European Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons,144 145 the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012, the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 2003,146 and the Convention of 1 July 1969 on Reciprocal Recognition of Proofmarks on Small Arms147

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in the United Kingdom are regulated by the Chief Officer of the Police148 and the European Commission145

Right to Possess Firearms

In the United Kingdom, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law149 150 148

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In the United Kingdom, civilians are not allowed to possess semi automatic and automatic firearms, handguns and armour piercing ammunition151 152 153 154

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In the United Kingdom, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited151 152 153 154 83

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In the United Kingdom, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited151 152 155 156 154

Regulation of Handguns

In the United Kingdom, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is prohibited151 152 153 155 156 154 83

Law Regulates Long Guns

In the United Kingdom, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law157 151 83

Gun Ownership and Possession

In the United Kingdom, only licensed gun owners158 148 159 153 155 160 83 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in the United Kingdom are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting, target shooting or collection148 157 161 162 163

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in the United Kingdom is 14 years for licence, 17 years for purchase, or 21 years to purchase shotguns164 163

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in the United Kingdom must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health and addiction165 166 167 163 83 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In the United Kingdom, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required168 167

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in the United Kingdom stipulates169 170 171 172 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In the United Kingdom, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required173 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In the United Kingdom, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every five years174 167 160

Licensing Records

In the United Kingdom, authorities maintain a record14 4 15 6 16 152 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in the United Kingdom are permitted to possess only an approved number of firearms148

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in the United Kingdom are permitted to possess only approved quantities of ammunition148 175

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In the United Kingdom, the law requires176 14 4 18 6 16 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 the United Kingdom, licensed firearm dealers are required177 152 178 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In the United Kingdom, licensed gun makers are required177 95 152 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In the United Kingdom, State agencies are required179 176 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 the United Kingdom, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without a permit to acquire93 180

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In the United Kingdom, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful93 181 182 156

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in the United Kingdom is obliged166 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 the United Kingdom is obliged166 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in the United Kingdom include183 184 167 185 186 187 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 the United Kingdom do not include173 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in the United Kingdom include179 188 189 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in the United Kingdom include190 184 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In the United Kingdom, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law95 112 176

Firearm Tracing

In the United Kingdom, state authorities carry out191 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In the United Kingdom, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are192 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In the United Kingdom, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited193 83

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In the United Kingdom, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited193 83

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In the United Kingdom, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm194 is five to 10 years in prison, depending on gun type195 186 187

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in the United Kingdom are known to have196 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 the United Kingdom, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered in recent arms amnesty and collection programmes is reported to be

2016: 850197
2003: 43,908198
1996: 23,000199

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

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

2016: 3,988197
2013: 406200
2009/14: 3,348201

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2017: 3,668202
2016: 2,063
2015: 9,837179
2013: 1,383203
2012: 2,167204
1997/99: 185,000205
1992/2007: 543,000196
1992-2001: 540,000205

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In the United Kingdom, it is state policy206 179 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

European Union

As a member of the European Union, the United Kingdom is bound by the provisions of the ‘EU Firearms Directive’ – the 2007 Legislative Resolution on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons of the European Parliament207 208

European Union Export Reporting

Under the European Union Common Position on Arms Exports, the United Kingdom is bound to declare its transfers of military technology and equipment. Independent monitoring provides detailed comparisons of arms export reporting compliance across EU member states, and records that the United Kingdom has submitted one or more national reports209 on its arms transfers

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, lists210 the United Kingdom as an elected member

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 2006211 by the United Kingdom.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified212 by the United Kingdom

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 ratified213 by the United Kingdom

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, the United Kingdom 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 Aspects214

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored the United Kingdom against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 35215 216 217 218 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, the United Kingdom has submitted one or more national reports219 220 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In the United Kingdom, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated221 220

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In the United Kingdom, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated220

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of the United Kingdom submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent222 221 220

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated220 by the United Kingdom to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, the United Kingdom has declared223 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, the United Kingdom has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945224

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists225 the United Kingdom as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

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

Global Peace Index

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


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