Weapons watchdog the Small Arms Survey has released its latest report on gun ownership around the world.
The survey includes statistics from over 230 countries, and is based on the ownership of revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles, carbines, assault rifles and sub- and light machine guns, held by civilian, military and law-enforcement groups.
It estimates that there are now more than one billion firearms in the world. 857 million (85%) are in civilian hands, 133 million (13%) are in military arsenals, and 23 million (2%) are owned by law enforcement agencies.
The new studies suggest that the global stockpile has increased over the past decade, largely due to civilian holdings, which grew from 650 million in 2006 to 857 million in 2017.
Virtually all countries show higher numbers, although national ownership rates vary widely, reflecting factors such as national legislation, a country’s gun culture, historical and other factors, the report found.
National ownership rates vary from about 120.5 firearms for every 100 residents in the United States to less than 1 firearm for every 100 residents in countries like Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, and several Pacific island states.
Civilian-held legal and illicit firearms
|1||United States||393 300 000|
|2||India||71 100 000|
|3||China||49 700 000|
|4||Pakistan||43 900 000|
|5||Russian Federation||17 600 000|
|6||Brazil||17 500 000|
|7||Mexico||16 800 000|
|8||Germany||15 800 000|
|9||Yemen||14 900 000|
|10||Turkey||13 200 000|
|11||France||12 700 000|
|12||Canada||12 700 000|
|13||Thailand||10 300 000|
|14||Italy||8 600 000|
|15||Iraq||7 600 000|
|16||Nigeria||6 200 000|
|17||Venezuela||5 900 000|
|18||Iran||5 900 000|
|19||Saudi Arabia||5 500 000|
|20||South Africa||5 400 000|
|21||Colombia||5 000 000|
|22||Ukraine||4 400 000|
|23||Afghanistan||4 300 000|
|24||Egypt||3 900 000|
|25||Philippines||3 800 000|
While the number of register civilian gun owners is relatively low in South African compared to other countries, the country stands out due to the high number of unregistered/illicit firearms in civilian hands.
The survey estimates that there are currently 5,351,000 firearms in civilian possession in the country – placing it as the 20th highest in the world behind countries such as Saudi Arabia (5.5 million) and Iran (5.9 million).
Of these, approximately 3 million are registered (legal) firearms, while the remaining 2.35 million are unregistered. This means that there are effectively 9.65 civilian firearms per every 100 persons in the country.
In comparison, there are approximately 250,481 firearms registered to law enforcement in the country, and around 350,636 total military firearms.