Home PoA Implementation Kit

Brokering Control


: National Report on the Implementation of the ITI, 2008 
: 10/07/2008
National Report
: Sr. Carlos Quintanilla

National laws, regulations and administrative procedures:

Arms and Ammunition Act (Articles 52, 61)



National Marking Practices:

Since 2007 and as part of its efforts to mark and register small arms and light weapons, the State of Guatemala, through the Department of Arms and Ammunition Control (DECAM), has implemented new measures with a view to identifying and registering arms in the possession of civilian security forces for use by the State (Ministry of the Interior) and private security firms. To that end, the Government now issues a certificate of possession and/or licence to bear arms indicating, inter alia, the following information: make, model, calibre, registration number, length of barrel or barrels, calibre adaptations, and place and date of registration. Even though certain individuals and juridical persons have expressed reservations about the requirement to mark arms, DECAM has complied rigorously with the law and enforced this requirement. The procedure is followed only when arms do not have the relevant factory markings relating to make, model, calibre and registration number. As the body responsible for regulating arms and ammunition in Guatemala, DECAM marks arms and ammunition not marked at the time of manufacture using the technique of stamping. In order to ensure compliance with this regulation, the procedure is carried out at DECAM facilities and supervised by qualified personnel.

Marking at the time of import:

With regard to import procedures, DECAM registers small arms and light weapons on the basis of their ballistic fingerprint and, while doing so, ensures that they are adequately marked. In addition, a procedure is in place that enables DECAM to control small arms and light weapons from the moment they enter national territory, regardless of the customs point. As part of this procedure, DECAM verifies the certificate of origin and issues a certificate of ownership to the end-user.

Marking of SALW in the possession of government armed and security forces:

Measures against the removal or alteration of markings:

The State of Guatemala hereby declares that, since no small arms and light weapons are manufactured in its jurisdiction, it does not have any control measures relating to that activity. Nonetheless, DECAM ensures compliance with this regulation. With regard to the import of firearms, there are a number of procedures for verifying that the original information has not been altered. When a weapons sale/purchase between individuals is registered, the Act authorizes DECAM to verify that the weapon in question has been accurately and adequately marked and registered. In addition, companies that buy and sell weapons are subject to two random inspections a year, so that their weapons inventory can be physically checked, while armouries are subject to one inspection a year; one of the purposes of these inspections is to verify that the markings on such weapons have not been removed or altered. This is without prejudice to such additional inspections as are deemed necessary by DECAM.


Accurate and comprehensive records for all marked SALW within their territory:

The State of Guatemala, through DECAM, has adopted the following measures to ensure that accurate and comprehensive records are established for marked weapons in the national territory: (1) Establishment of a register of weapons based on their ballistic fingerprint, i.e. a physical weapons archive. (2) Implementation of an effective administrative system comprising the following components: (a) Procedural cross-checks allowing several people and/or control units to participate in the process; (b) A modern, secure and effective information system for controlling small arms and light weapons; (c) Backup files of registers and controls. In compliance with the provisions of section IV of the International Tracing Instrument, which refers to records and the cessation of activities of companies dealing in small arms and light weapons, all records over 10 years old are currently being converted into digital form; as a result, the physical archive is being cleaned up. Since DECAM was established 18 years ago, its records are also 18 years old. Companies whose activities are related to small arms and light weapons may cease their activities either at their own request or because they have violated article 47 of the Arms and Ammunition Act, which penalizes the existence of anomalies in a company’s inventory. In such cases, the inventory may, with the prior authorization of DECAM, be resold to another company so that the original company can be closed down for good.


Measures taken for undertaking traces and responding to tracing requests

Operational Informaton Exchange:

The State of Guatemala participates in the Central American Small Arms Control project (CASAC), which takes a regional approach to addressing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and works, inter alia, on the exchange of information for the purpose of controlling and tracing arms. There are also plans to harmonize regional legislation on the subject.

Needs and Request for Assistance::

Implementation challenges and opportunities:

One challenge facing States in the region is that of reducing the gap between effective regulations for arms manufacturers and national efforts to implement the International Tracing Instrument. In particular, Guatemala wishes to emphasize the need to mark all components of small arms and light weapons, since there have been cases where certain components (e.g. the barrel) have been replaced in order to commit illicit acts.