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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 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 539,68020 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 Ireland21 22 23 24

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in the United Kingdom are reported to have 43,00025 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 14426 27 28 29 30
2012: 123
2011: 137
2010: 155
2009: 15031 32 33
2008: 17434 35 36
2007: 13037 38 39
2006: 21140 41 42
2005: 16243 44 45
2004: 15646 47 48
2003: 16349 50 51
2002: 16952 53 54
2001: 15655 56 57
2000: 23458 59 60
1999: 21261 62 63
1998: 19664 65 66
1997: 18767 68 69
1996: 24770 71 72

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: 0.2373
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: 13773
2012: 120
2011: 126
2010: 147

Total Number of Female Gun Deaths

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

2013: 773
2012: 3
2011: 11
2010: 8

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual homicides by any means total

2014: 59474
2013: 14573
2012: 147
2011: 191
2010: 180
2009: 765
2008: 879
2007: 85675 76 77 78 79
2006: 83275 76 77 78
2005: 958
2004: 914
2003: 1,11275 76 77 78 80
2002: 95875 76 81 78
2001: 919
1999: 82875 76 81 82

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: 0.9274
2013: 0.2373
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: 38783
2013: 11173
2012: 99
2011: 139
2010: 126

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

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

2014: 20783
2013: 3473
2012: 48
2011: 52
2010: 54

Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 2326
2012: 12
2011: 32
2010: 27
2009: 2631 32 33 26
2008: 4034 35 36 26
2007: 1537 38 39 26
2006: 6140 41 42 26
2005: 3843 44 45 26
2004: 3646 47 48 26
2003: 2949 50 51 26
2002: 3952 53 54 26
2001: 3855 56 57 26
2000: 7158 59 60
1999: 4561 62 63 26
1998: 3364 65 66 26
1997: 4567 68 69
1996: 8470 71 72

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.0473
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%84

Male Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual male firearm homicides total

2013: 1873
2012: 10
2011: 28
2010: 21

Female Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female firearm homicides total

2013: 573
2012: 2
2011: 4
2010: 6

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual handgun homicides total

2013: 126
2012: 1
2008: 434 35 26
2007: 238 26
2006: 340 41 26
2005: 344 26
2004: 247 26
2003: 350 26
2001: 156 26

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.0026
2012: 0.00
2008: 0.013 26
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: 626
2012: 4
2011: 1085
2010: 686 26
2009: 431 32 26
2008: 434 35 26
2007: 637 38 39 26
2006: 840 41 42 26
2005: 643 44 45 26
2004: 1146 47 48 26
2003: 649 51 26
2002: 852 54 26
2001: 855 56 26

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: 0.0126
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.023 26
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: 1626
2012: 7
2011: 2885 87 88 26
2010: 2786 89 90 26
2009: 2231 32 33 26
2008: 3234 35 36 26
2007: 738 39 26
2006: 5040 41 42 26
2005: 2943 44 45 26
2004: 2346 47 48 26
2003: 2049 50 51 26
2002: 3152 53 54 26
2001: 2955 57 26

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: 0.0326
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.043 26
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: 4,82073
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: 7.6073
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: 3,82873
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: 99273
2012: 932
2011: 959
2010: 963

Gun Suicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual firearm suicides total

2013: 10627
2012: 92
2011: 9385 87 88 27
2010: 10986 89 90 27
2009: 10131 32 33 27
2008: 12034 35 36 27
2007: 10037 38 39 27
2006: 13040 41 42 27
2005: 11143 44 45 27
2004: 10246 47 48 27
2003: 11749 50 51 27
2002: 10852 53 54 27
2001: 10755 56 57 27
2000: 13458 59 60
1999: 14061 62 63 27
1998: 13664 65 66 27
1997: 13767 68 69
1996: 13370 71 72
1995: 18491 92 93

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.1773
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 27
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: 10473
2012: 91
2011: 88
2010: 107

Female Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual female firearm suicides total

2013: 273
2012: 1
2011: 5
2010: 2

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual handgun suicides total

2013: 227
2012: 1
2011: 187 27
2010: 190 27
2008: 434 35 27
2007: 137 27
2006: 240 41 27
2005: 144 27
2003: 449 50 27
2002: 352 53 27
2001: 255 57 27

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.0027
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.003 27
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: 5427
2012: 40
2011: 4385 87 88 27
2010: 5986 89 90 27
2009: 5531 32 33 27
2008: 6434 35 36 27
2007: 5237 38 39 27
2006: 7340 41 42 27
2005: 5643 44 45 27
2004: 5046 47 48 27
2003: 5949 50 51 27
2002: 5252 53 54 27
2001: 5955 56 57 27

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: 0.0827
2012: 0.06
2011: 0.073 27
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: 5027
2012: 51
2011: 4985 87 88 27
2010: 4986 89 90 27
2009: 4631 32 33 27
2008: 5234 35 36 27
2007: 4737 38 39 27
2006: 5540 41 42 27
2005: 5443 44 45 27
2004: 5246 47 48 27
2003: 5449 50 51 27
2002: 5352 53 54 27
2001: 4655 56 57 27

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: 0.0827
2012: 0.08
2011: 0.083 27
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: 528
2012: 6
2011: 285 88 28
2010: 886 28
2009: 1131 28
2008: 534 28
2007: 337 39 28
2006: 540 41 42 28
2005: 143 28
2004: 346 48 28
2003: 449 50 28
2002: 252 54 28
2001: 355 56 28
2000: 1258 59
1999: 661 28
1998: 728
1996: 271
1995: 1491 92

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: 0.0273
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 28
1998: 0.0128
1996: 0.003
1995: 0.02

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2013: 573
2012: 6
2011: 1
2010: 8

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United Kingdom, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2013: 073
2012: 0
2011: 1
2010: 0

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

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

2013: 128
2006: 140 28
2000: 258

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: 0.0028
2006: 0.003
2000: 0.00

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

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

2013: 228
2012: 3
2011: 188 28
2010: 386 28
2009: 531 28
2008: 334 28
2007: 139 28
2006: 241 42 28
2005: 143 28
2003: 249 50 28
2002: 252 54 28
2001: 155 28

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: 0.0028
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.003 28
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: 228
2012: 3
2011: 185 28
2010: 586 28
2009: 631 28
2008: 234 28
2007: 237 28
2006: 240 28
2005: 228
2004: 346 48 28
2003: 249 28
2002: 128
2001: 255 56 28

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: 0.0028
2012: 0.00
2011: 0.003 28
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: 1029
2012: 13
2011: 1085 88 29
2010: 1186 90 29
2009: 831 29
2008: 734 29
2007: 1137 39 29
2006: 1340 42 29
2005: 1143 45 29
2004: 1546 48 29
2003: 1349 50 51 29
2002: 2052 54 29
2001: 855 57 29
2000: 1758 60
1999: 2161 62 63
1998: 2764 65 66
1997: 569
1996: 2870 71 72
1995: 3291 92

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: 0.0229
2012: 0.02
2011: 0.023 29
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: 1073
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: 073
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: 129
2004: 1
2003: 149 29
2002: 152
2001: 129

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: 0.0029
2004: 0.00
2003: 0.003 29
2002: 0.003
2001: 0.0029

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2013: 329
2012: 6
2011: 685 88 29
2010: 686 90 29
2009: 431 29
2008: 334 29
2007: 237 39 29
2006: 440 42 29
2005: 743 45 29
2004: 846 48 29
2003: 549 51 29
2002: 1452 54 29
2001: 755 57 29

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: 0.0029
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.013 29
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: 629
2012: 7
2011: 485 88 29
2010: 586 90 29
2009: 431 29
2008: 434 29
2007: 937 39 29
2006: 940 29
2005: 443 29
2004: 746 29
2003: 749 50 51 29
2002: 552 29
2001: 155 29

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: 0.0129
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.013 29
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: 030
2012: 8
2011: 385 87
2010: 486
2009: 431 32
2008: 234
2007: 138
2006: 240
2005: 143

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 licence94 95 96

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, the United Kingdom was ranked 'medium'97

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In the United Kingdom, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law98 99 100 101 102

Firearm Exports (Number)

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

2017: 54,534103
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: 152,381,404104
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 law100 112 113 102

Firearm Imports (Number)

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

2017: 4,615103
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: 235,891,929104
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 include101 128 99 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 2002,98 the Export Control Order 2008,145 the Import, Export and Customs Powers (Defence) Act 1939,100 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 84

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 84

Law Regulates Long Guns

In the United Kingdom, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law159 153 84

Gun Ownership and Possession

In the United Kingdom, only licensed gun owners160 150 161 155 157 162 84 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 84 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 96 154 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 acquire94 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 unlawful94 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 law96 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 84

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In the United Kingdom, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited195 84

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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