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Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms
Definition and Selection Criteria
The estimated number of unregistered and illicit firearms in civilian possession.
It is important to recognise that such firearms cannot be counted, and while most jurisdictions require the registration of all civilian firearms, not all do (see list below). In this category, only estimates can be attempted
If an authoritative local estimate of illicit guns is not available, an international rule of thumb from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime1 may be cited. The UNODC estimates a territory's illicit firearm stockpile at between 10% and 20% of the known number of firearms lawfully possessed by civilians. In developed nations with a tightly regulated firearm market, GunPolicy.org cites the lower, 10% end of the UNODC range.
Countries* that do not require the registration of all civilian firearms include:
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Congo (ROC)
- New Zealand
- United States of America
*This list might not be comprehensive, and includes countries with limited registration requirements.