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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 Adults Living in a Home With a Gun

In the United Kingdom, the percentage of adults living in a household with a firearm is reported to be

2015: 2%10

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%11
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%11
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: 710,21112 13 14
2010: 859,47715 4 16 6 17
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 18 8 2 14
2010: 2,157,44315 4 19 6 17
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 Unregistered and Illicit Firearms

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,20 but in the United Kingdom there are estimated to be

2017: 1,031,2652

Estimated Rate of Unregistered and Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted,20 but in the United Kingdom the rate of such 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 539,68021 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 Ireland22 23 24 25

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in the United Kingdom are reported to have 43,00026 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 14427 28 29 30 31
2012: 123
2011: 137
2010: 155
2009: 15032 33 34
2008: 17435 36 37
2007: 13038 39 40
2006: 21141 42 43
2005: 16244 45 46
2004: 15647 48 49
2003: 16350 51 52
2002: 16953 54 55
2001: 15656 57 58
2000: 23459 60 61
1999: 21262 63 64
1998: 19665 66 67
1997: 18768 69 70
1996: 24771 72 73

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: 0.2374
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: 13774
2012: 120
2011: 126
2010: 147

Total Number of Female Gun Deaths

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

2013: 774
2012: 3
2011: 11
2010: 8

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual homicides by any means total

2014: 59475
2013: 14574
2012: 147
2011: 191
2010: 180
2009: 765
2008: 879
2007: 85676 77 78 79 80
2006: 83276 77 78 79
2005: 958
2004: 914
2003: 1,11276 77 78 79 81
2002: 95876 77 82 79
2001: 919
1999: 82876 77 82 83

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: 0.9275
2013: 0.2374
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: 38784
2013: 11174
2012: 99
2011: 139
2010: 126

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

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

2014: 20784
2013: 3474
2012: 48
2011: 52
2010: 54

Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 2327
2012: 12
2011: 32
2010: 27
2009: 2632 33 34 27
2008: 4035 36 37 27
2007: 1538 39 40 27
2006: 6141 42 43 27
2005: 3844 45 46 27
2004: 3647 48 49 27
2003: 2950 51 52 27
2002: 3953 54 55 27
2001: 3856 57 58 27
2000: 7159 60 61
1999: 4562 63 64 27
1998: 3365 66 67 27
1997: 4568 69 70
1996: 8471 72 73

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.0474
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%85

Male Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male firearm homicides total

2013: 1874
2012: 10
2011: 28
2010: 21

Female Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female firearm homicides total

2013: 574
2012: 2
2011: 4
2010: 6

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual handgun homicides total

2013: 127
2012: 1
2008: 435 36 27
2007: 239 27
2006: 341 42 27
2005: 345 27
2004: 248 27
2003: 351 27
2001: 157 27

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.0027
2012: 0.00
2008: 0.013 27
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: 627
2012: 4
2011: 1086
2010: 687 27
2009: 432 33 27
2008: 435 36 27
2007: 638 39 40 27
2006: 841 42 43 27
2005: 644 45 46 27
2004: 1147 48 49 27
2003: 650 52 27
2002: 853 55 27
2001: 856 57 27

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: 0.0127
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.023 27
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: 1627
2012: 7
2011: 2886 88 89 27
2010: 2787 90 91 27
2009: 2232 33 34 27
2008: 3235 36 37 27
2007: 739 40 27
2006: 5041 42 43 27
2005: 2944 45 46 27
2004: 2347 48 49 27
2003: 2050 51 52 27
2002: 3153 54 55 27
2001: 2956 58 27

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: 0.0327
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.043 27
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: 4,82074
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: 7.6074
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: 3,82874
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: 99274
2012: 932
2011: 959
2010: 963

Gun Suicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual firearm suicides total

2013: 10628
2012: 92
2011: 9386 88 89 28
2010: 10987 90 91 28
2009: 10132 33 34 28
2008: 12035 36 37 28
2007: 10038 39 40 28
2006: 13041 42 43 28
2005: 11144 45 46 28
2004: 10247 48 49 28
2003: 11750 51 52 28
2002: 10853 54 55 28
2001: 10756 57 58 28
2000: 13459 60 61
1999: 14062 63 64 28
1998: 13665 66 67 28
1997: 13768 69 70
1996: 13371 72 73
1995: 18492 93 94

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.1774
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 28
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: 10474
2012: 91
2011: 88
2010: 107

Female Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female firearm suicides total

2013: 274
2012: 1
2011: 5
2010: 2

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual handgun suicides total

2013: 228
2012: 1
2011: 188 28
2010: 191 28
2008: 435 36 28
2007: 138 28
2006: 241 42 28
2005: 145 28
2003: 450 51 28
2002: 353 54 28
2001: 256 58 28

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.0028
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.003 28
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: 5428
2012: 40
2011: 4386 88 89 28
2010: 5987 90 91 28
2009: 5532 33 34 28
2008: 6435 36 37 28
2007: 5238 39 40 28
2006: 7341 42 43 28
2005: 5644 45 46 28
2004: 5047 48 49 28
2003: 5950 51 52 28
2002: 5253 54 55 28
2001: 5956 57 58 28

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: 0.0828
2012: 0.06
2011: 0.073 28
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: 5028
2012: 51
2011: 4986 88 89 28
2010: 4987 90 91 28
2009: 4632 33 34 28
2008: 5235 36 37 28
2007: 4738 39 40 28
2006: 5541 42 43 28
2005: 5444 45 46 28
2004: 5247 48 49 28
2003: 5450 51 52 28
2002: 5353 54 55 28
2001: 4656 57 58 28

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: 0.0828
2012: 0.08
2011: 0.083 28
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: 529
2012: 6
2011: 286 89 29
2010: 887 29
2009: 1132 29
2008: 535 29
2007: 338 40 29
2006: 541 42 43 29
2005: 144 29
2004: 347 49 29
2003: 450 51 29
2002: 253 55 29
2001: 356 57 29
2000: 1259 60
1999: 662 29
1998: 729
1996: 272
1995: 1492 93

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: 0.0274
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 29
1998: 0.0129
1996: 0.003
1995: 0.02

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2013: 574
2012: 6
2011: 1
2010: 8

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2013: 074
2012: 0
2011: 1
2010: 0

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

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

2013: 129
2006: 141 29
2000: 259

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: 0.0029
2006: 0.003
2000: 0.00

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

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

2013: 229
2012: 3
2011: 189 29
2010: 387 29
2009: 532 29
2008: 335 29
2007: 140 29
2006: 242 43 29
2005: 144 29
2003: 250 51 29
2002: 253 55 29
2001: 156 29

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: 0.0029
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.003 29
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: 229
2012: 3
2011: 186 29
2010: 587 29
2009: 632 29
2008: 235 29
2007: 238 29
2006: 241 29
2005: 229
2004: 347 49 29
2003: 250 29
2002: 129
2001: 256 57 29

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: 0.0029
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.003 29
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: 1030
2012: 13
2011: 1086 89 30
2010: 1187 91 30
2009: 832 30
2008: 735 30
2007: 1138 40 30
2006: 1341 43 30
2005: 1144 46 30
2004: 1547 49 30
2003: 1350 51 52 30
2002: 2053 55 30
2001: 856 58 30
2000: 1759 61
1999: 2162 63 64
1998: 2765 66 67
1997: 570
1996: 2871 72 73
1995: 3292 93

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: 0.0230
2012: 0.02
2011: 0.023 30
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: 1074
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: 074
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: 130
2004: 1
2003: 150 30
2002: 153
2001: 130

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: 0.0030
2004: 0.00
2003: 0.003 30
2002: 0.003
2001: 0.0030

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2013: 330
2012: 6
2011: 686 89 30
2010: 687 91 30
2009: 432 30
2008: 335 30
2007: 238 40 30
2006: 441 43 30
2005: 744 46 30
2004: 847 49 30
2003: 550 52 30
2002: 1453 55 30
2001: 756 58 30

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: 0.0030
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.013 30
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: 630
2012: 7
2011: 486 89 30
2010: 587 91 30
2009: 432 30
2008: 435 30
2007: 938 40 30
2006: 941 30
2005: 444 30
2004: 747 30
2003: 750 51 52 30
2002: 553 30
2001: 156 30

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: 0.0130
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.013 30
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: 031
2012: 8
2011: 386 88
2010: 487
2009: 432 33
2008: 235
2007: 139
2006: 241
2005: 144

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 licence95 96 97

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, the United Kingdom was ranked 'medium'98

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In the United Kingdom, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law99 100 101 102 103

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: 152,381,404104
2015: 159,670,011
2014: 203,075,850
2013: 188,134,307
2012: 174,266,049104 105 106
2011: 112,052,237107
2010: 79,000,000108
2001: 61,000,000105

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'109 110 111

Firearm Imports

In the United Kingdom, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law101 112 113 103

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: 235,891,929104
2015: 224,924,468
2014: 245,788,887
2013: 208,130,096
2012: 227,816,473104 114 115 116 117
2011: 121,643,569107 118 119
2010: 180,000,000120
2001: 71,000,000114 121

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in the United Kingdom is moderate122 123

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In the United Kingdom, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law124 125 126 127

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in the United Kingdom include102 128 100 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

2018: 20.00129
2017: 19.25130
2016: 19.75131
2014: 19.50132
2013: 19.25133
2012: 19.75134
2011: 20.00135
2010: 18.75136
2009: 19.00137
2008: 19.25138
2007: 16.00139
2006: 13.75140
2005: 16.50141
2004: 15.00142

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in the United Kingdom is categorised as restrictive143

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in the United Kingdom includes the Firearms Act 1968,144 the Export Control Act 2002,99 the Export Control Order 2008,145 the Import, Export and Customs Powers (Defence) Act 1939,101 the Import of Goods (Control) Order 1954,112 the European Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons,146 147 the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012, the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 2003,148 and the Convention of 1 July 1969 on Reciprocal Recognition of Proofmarks on Small Arms149

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in the United Kingdom are regulated by the Chief Officer of the Police150 and the European Commission147

Right to Possess Firearms

In the United Kingdom, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law151 152 150

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In the United Kingdom, civilians are not allowed to possess semi automatic and automatic firearms, handguns and armour piercing ammunition153 154 155 156

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In the United Kingdom, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited153 154 155 156 85

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In the United Kingdom, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited153 154 157 158 156

Regulation of Handguns

In the United Kingdom, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is prohibited153 154 155 157 158 156 85

Law Regulates Long Guns

In the United Kingdom, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law159 153 85

Gun Ownership and Possession

In the United Kingdom, only licensed gun owners160 150 161 155 157 162 85 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 collection150 159 163 164 165

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 shotguns166 165

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 addiction167 168 169 165 85 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In the United Kingdom, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required170 169

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in the United Kingdom stipulates171 172 173 174 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 required175 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 years176 169 162

Licensing Records

In the United Kingdom, authorities maintain a record15 4 16 6 17 154 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 firearms150

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in the United Kingdom are permitted to possess only approved quantities of ammunition150 177

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In the United Kingdom, the law requires178 15 4 19 6 17 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 required179 154 180 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 required179 97 154 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 required181 178 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 acquire95 182

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In the United Kingdom, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful95 183 184 158

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in the United Kingdom is obliged168 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 obliged168 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 include185 186 169 187 188 189 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 include175 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 include181 190 191 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in the United Kingdom include192 186 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 law97 113 178

Firearm Tracing

In the United Kingdom, state authorities carry out193 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 are194 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 prohibited195 85

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In the United Kingdom, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited195 85

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In the United Kingdom, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm196 is five to 10 years in prison, depending on gun type197 188 189

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in the United Kingdom are known to have198 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: 850199
2003: 43,908200
1996: 23,000201

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: 3,988199
2013: 406202
2009/14: 3,348203

Small Arms Destroyed

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

2017: 3,668204
2016: 2,063
2015: 9,837181
2013: 1,383205
2012: 2,167206
1997/99: 185,000207
1992/2007: 543,000198
1992-2001: 540,000207

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In the United Kingdom, it is state policy208 181 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 Parliament209 210

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 reports211 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, lists212 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 2006213 by the United Kingdom.

Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified214 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 ratified215 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 Aspects216

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. 35217 218 219 220 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 reports221 222 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 designated223 222

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In the United Kingdom, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated222

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 apparent224 223 222

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated222 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 declared225 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 1945226

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists227 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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