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While guerrilla movements in the 1960s and 1970s in Bolivia gave way to widespread crime, political violence, as well as drug and weapons trafficking, gun violence remained limited[1] and the homicide rate is one of the lowest in the region.[2] In terms of Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM), Bolivia enacted a national legislation on the weapons and ammunition control for the first time in 2013.[3] Nonetheless, it has been deemed insufficient to tackle illegal arms trafficking[4] and the vast majority of firearms in circulation in the country remain unregistered.[5] The country accessed the UNODC firearms protocol in 2019[6] and notably receives assistance from UNLIREC and UNODC to combat illicit firearms trafficking.[7]


[1] Aaron Karp, “Surplus Arms in South America. A Survey”, Small Arms Survey, Working Paper 7, 2009,

[2] DCAF, “Bolivia Country Profile”, 12.05.15,

[3] Charles Parkinson, “Bolivia Enacts First Fun Control Law”, InsightCrime, 19.09.13,

[4] DCAF, “Bolivia Country Profile”, 12.05.15,

[5] Small Arms Survey, “Civilian Firearms Holdings”, 2017,

[6] UNODOC, “The Global Firearms Programme conducted an assessment mission to Bolivia after the State formally accessed to the Firearms Protocol”, 2019,

[7] Arms Trade Treaty, “UNLIREC delivers its assistance package ‘Enhancing Public Security through Crime Prevention and Firearms Control in the Andean Region’”, 2014,; UNODC, “La UNODC apoya a Bolivia en la prevención y el combate del tráfico ilícito de armas de fuego”, n.d.,

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Map of Bolivia

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the beginning of data collection in 1979 by the Small Arms Survey, no accidental explosions have been reported in Bolivia.

Source: UEMS Database (December 2021); Small Arms Survey. ‘Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS)’.

Cases of diversion

Several cases of diversion have been reported in Bolivia (Table 2).

Table 2: Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition, and explosives in Bolivia





La Paz

Local media reported that at least four 9mm pistols were allegedly stolen from the arms depot of the Eduardo Abaroa Naval Military School.[1]



The Bolivian Ministry of Defence reported that an armed group made up of Brazilian and Bolivian nationals attacked a Bolivian border post at the Bolivian-Brazilian border and stole 9 AK rifles, 9 magazines and 5 pistols.[2]


Nueva Esperanza

The Bolivian Public Prosecutor Office reported that six Brazilians nationals raided a Bolivian border post at the Brazilian-Bolivian border and stole 11 rifles, three pistols, 700 cartridges, 1 shotgun and three 22mm calibre pistols from the military personnel on duty there.[3]


[1] Miguel Angel Melendres Galvis, « Armada Boliviana investiga supuesto robo de armas en Escuela Naval Militar », País,

[2]Aldo Eyzaguirre, « Asalto y robo de armas en un puesto militar boliviano en la frontera con Brasil », Defensa, 18.06.18,

[3] N.d., « Brasil: Capturan a implicados en robo de armas en Bolivia », Correo Del Sur, 19.12.2015,


Destruction, use, or export of ammunition as an indicator of a state’s ability to identify and decrease aging, unsafe, or surplus ammunition.  

Insufficient information on the disposal of ammunition in Bolivia.


Further requirements for an effective through-life management of ammunition in the country.

To further enhance safe and secure ammunition management, the following needs have been identified for Bolivia:

  • Development or refinement of standards and procedures on stockpile management.
  • Capacity development for the destruction of surplus stockpiles.

Source: PoA Report 2022, Bolivia. Please note that PoA reports focus on SALW and not specifically on ammunition.

Published Date: Wednesday 31 of August 2022