National gun laws

The majority of small arms are in the hands of private individuals - worldwide, around 60% of guns are possessed by civilians. There is a strong correlation between firearms ownership and gun death rates, especially for handgun ownership, as handguns are concealable and so commonly used in crime.

In 2006, the UN sub-commission on human rights endorsed principles to prevent human rights abuses by civilians with guns. Many countries regulate:

- types of weapons permitted. For example, prohibiting fully automatic weapons, or semiautomatic rifles. Given their use in crime, some countries also prohibit civilian possession of handguns.

- users of guns. Licensing the users of guns might involve requiring users to prove they have a genuine need of a firearm, also background checks to investigate whether the user is likely to be a risk to themselves or others.

- uses of guns. For example, prohibiting carrying or firing guns in a  public place.

Essential to enforcing the above regulations is firearm registration, linking every weapon to its last legal user and so identifying any point of diversion. This is part of a marking and tracing requirement.

Últimas noticias

On 15 November a man shot and killed his former girlfriend and a bystander before turning the gun on himself in a school in Soshanguve, South Africa.

23 November marked the first anniversary of the ‘Ampatuan Massacre’ where 57 people were killed by an armed group in Maguindanao province, the Philippines.

The Gun Control Coalition in Australia is concerned about proposed changes to the Tasmanian Firearms Act 1996 after the government began a public consultation which could lead to a review.

The sources and life-cycles of guns used to kill 511 police officers in the United States since 2000 are traced in a new study by The Washington Post.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence applauds the Obama Administration’s nomination of a new director for the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Latest resources

There are no resources to display