Dubai, a vibrant city in the United Arab Emirates, is renowned for its towering skyscrapers, luxurious shopping malls, and captivating architecture.
However, this splendor lies in strict firearms regulations that restrict the ownership and usage of guns by citizens and visitors alike.
In this article, we will look at these laws regarding gun possession within Dubai and discuss some advantages and disadvantages of owning such weapons there.
Furthermore, an insight into obtaining permits for firearm purchases and details on what types of arms are permissible in Dubai will be provided.
Gun Ownership Laws in Dubai
In Dubai, the laws surrounding gun ownership are strictly enforced by local authorities.
To legally own a firearm, registration with the police and obtaining licenses are necessary.
You can only use firearms in specific instances, such as self-defense or hunting, and they may not be employed for recreational purposes.
Annually at Adihex Gun Show 2018, more than 1,764 legal weapons were sold, allowing up to three guns per individual owner.
Limitations on Gun Ownership in Dubai
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), firearms and ammunition exports and imports are regulated by transfer control law. Only Emirati nationals can receive gun licenses, which permit them to possess a limited amount of ammo.
Non-Emiratis may obtain a license for possessing or trading firearms, ammunition, fireworks, explosives, and military equipment if they provide an official no-objection certificate from their country of origin.
Those over 21 years old who meet certain criteria, such as obtaining a license from either the Ministry of Interior or Abu Dhabi Police GHQ, are eligible to purchase weapons within UAE borders.
Furthermore, one must meet qualifications such as being 21 years old with no psychological illnesses and being certified medically fit before obtaining gun permission.
In the UAE, those who import or have an illegal weapon may face severe penalties, including a minimum of six months in prison and a fine of no less than 15,000 Dirhams.
It is prohibited for any previously convicted person of crimes involving state security, terrorism, drugs, alcohol offenses against another individual, or financial crime to receive a firearms license.
Types of Firearms Allowed in Dubai
In Dubai, firearms are only permitted if they fit into certain categories.
These include hunting rifles, pistols up to 9 mm caliber, heritage swords, and daggers, hunting knives, and wooden or plastic archery units with a power of 8 joules or less, which do not require licensing.
Handguns are strictly forbidden unless the individual is in law enforcement or security-related work.
Automatic weapons, as well as those designed for military use, also cannot be brought into Dubai without a prior permit according to applicable regulations, and air guns that exceed 8 joules need special authorization too.
Requirements for Obtaining a Firearm in Dubai
In Dubai, owning a firearm is an exclusive privilege regulated by the local government.
To be eligible to possess a gun in this city, one must fulfill certain criteria and go through rigorous application procedures.
We will explain what those requirements are for obtaining guns in Dubai here:
1. Citizenship or Residency Status
To obtain a firearm in Dubai, one must be either a citizen or a legal city resident.
Only those with an established connection to Dubai can access firearms.
Non-residents may still purchase hunting weapons, but they must provide certification from their home country verifying the number and types of guns permitted for them.
2. Age Restrictions
Individuals must be at least 21 years of age to obtain a firearms license. The age restriction is to ensure that minors do not possess any firearm.
However, underage persons are allowed to purchase weapons with the permission and consent of their parents or guardian.
3. Background Checks
To obtain a firearms license, applicants must pass an extensive background check.
This assessment examines the individual’s criminal record, mental health history, and experiences with domestic violence.
By conducting this evaluation, we can ensure that those involved in violent or psychologically damaging situations do not own guns.
4. Firearm Training
All applicants must attend and complete a mandatory training course to receive a firearms license.
This program aims to teach individuals how to handle guns and teach them about related security measures, preservation techniques, and relevant legislation.
5. Health Certification
To be eligible for a firearms license, applicants must provide proof of physical and mental health from an authorized medical professional.
This certification should confirm that the individual can safely possess and operate a gun.
6. Gun Safety and Storage
In Dubai, all gun owners must abide strictly by firearm safety and storage rules.
The rules include keeping firearms in a secure place when not being used and ensuring that they are inaccessible to minors or anyone who has not been authorized to use them.
7. Renewal of License
You must renew gun licenses issued by the UAE every three years, and individuals must pass a background check and complete a firearms training course.
Licensing applications can be made through the UAE Ministry of Interior or Abu Dhabi Police GHQ.
The government has implemented programs to speed up procedures for obtaining hunting weapons and coordinating licensing authorities in other GCC countries and beyond.
Popular Reason for Owning a Firearm in Dubai
In Dubai, having a firearm can bring several benefits to its owner, such as providing personal protection, allowing them to go hunting, or participating in sporting activities.
1. Personal Protection
The low crime rate in Dubai makes owning a firearm a replaceable option for individuals and families looking to increase their protection.
Although the likelihood of being involved in criminal activity is already minimal, obtaining a gun license from the Dubai Police can provide even greater peace of mind.
Licenses are only available to Emirati nationals, and those granted permission must adhere to restrictions on ammunition amounts.
For those interested in hunting, Dubai offers numerous reserves where you can enjoy this activity.
Having a firearm to hunt with provides an exciting and unique experience for both residents and visitors of the city.
For those looking for a thrilling experience, Dubai offers numerous shooting ranges to practice sports and recreational shooting. Access to a firearm can provide an exciting challenge that many find enjoyable.
Disadvantages of Owning a Firearm in Dubai
Owning a firearm in Dubai has its benefits, yet there are also drawbacks, such as stringent rules and punishments, high prices, and limited accessibility.
1. Strict Regulations and Penalties
In Dubai, stringent regulations are in place regarding firearms, and any violations can lead to hefty fines or imprisonment.
The government takes a no-tolerance policy when it comes to violating gun laws.
Even minor infractions may be subject to serious repercussions, like not registering a firearm or failing to renew one’s license, which could result in jail time and monetary penalties.
As such, this strict enforcement of gun rules can impede people from contemplating owning weapons within the emirate.
Carrying arms without prior consent is forbidden, along with importing, manufacturing, and exporting these items for military purposes.
Obtaining licenses requires an application process which then needs 60 days before obtaining approval from relevant authorities, while silence means rejection
In case someone possesses weaponry illegally, they will face at least six months behind bars plus/or a Dh6000 fine according to Law No:4 2013
2. High Costs
In Dubai, owning a firearm comes with considerable costs, such as the fees for firearms training courses and licenses, prices of the gun itself, and annual renewal expenses, together with background checks.
Moreover, the high cost of guns and ammunition in this city may be difficult for people who wish to have firearms for protection or recreational purposes.
3. Limited Availability
In Dubai, only licensed firearm dealers can sell firearms and ammunition to individuals. The limitation can make it difficult for people who want guns for personal protection, hunting, or recreational purposes.
Moreover, the limited availability of these weapons often leads to higher prices than in other areas where gun ownership is not as restricted.
It is illegal in Dubai for a person with an authorized weapon license to possess any firearm in public places, even if they have a permit from authorities.
To sum up, owning a firearm in Dubai is tightly regulated and can be costly and time-consuming to acquire. One has several advantages, such as for self-protection, hunting, or recreational activities.
However, the disadvantages should also be considered, like heavy regulations with harsh penalties, high costs, and limited availability.
Therefore those wishing to own a firearm in Dubai must consider all these factors carefully before deciding, seeking advice from local authorities or firearms experts if necessary.
Can Tourists Buy a Gun in Dubai?
If you are not a national of Dubai or UAE at large, that doesn’t mean you can’t buy a gun. However, it must fall under the category of hunting weapons.
Remember that non-Emirati nationals can’t acquire a license to own a gun. What one needs under these circumstances is a no-objection certificate.
It is your country that will offer this documentation. It should state the types and number of pieces you can own or carry.
You can buy a gun in Dubai and the rest of the UAE if you meet these requirements. Ensure you buy your weapons from the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX).
Which Weapons Can You Buy in Dubai?
You are at liberty to buy the following weapons in Dubai;
- Air guns with less than 8 joules thus don’t need a license
- Heritage swords or daggers
- Hunting knives
- Hunting rifles
- Pistols not exceeding 9 mm caliber
- Wooden or plastic archery units
Can a Dubai Cop Have a Gun?
Yes, the law allows these professionals to carry firearms. However, what one can carry also depends on the units one works under.
For instance, police officers can carry semi-automatic handguns. Their options include SIG Sauer and Caracal pistols.
On the other hand, the Special Emergency Units have a wide range of weapons they can carry. They include the following;
- Flash grenades
- Glock 17 pistols
- Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine gun
- Ithaca 37 shotguns, M4 and Colt M16 variants
- X26 tasers
Penalties and Sanctions in Dubai
If you import or possess an illegal firearm in the UAE, facing the law is inevitable. However, the penalties and sanctions differ from one culprit to another.
For instance, imprisonment can be between 6 months and 10 years. You may also incur a fine of at least 15000 Dhs or a combination of imprisonment and fine.
If the National Security Court handles your case, expect the consequences to be worse than that. You also have no right to appeal its sentence.
Which Countries Don’t Allow Guns?
Whereas not even a single country in this world has banned guns, some are quite strict regarding who can buy or handle them. That’s understandable, given guns’ importance and, at the same time, the danger they pose to people.
Some countries only allow a small percentage of their population to own guns. You will be surprised by how few firearms licenses are in such places.
They include the following;
For example, only several departments, the judicial, correctional, and military police, can own guns in China. No one should violate its law regarding firearms, including those revolving around lending, renting, transporting, trading, manufacturing, assembling, altering, or holding one.
Its counterpart, Japan, has the strictest firearm laws. Only the military and the police can have a handgun in this country.
Besides, target shooters and hunters can also have air guns and shotguns. However, there are strict conditions under which you can also possess them.
On the other hand, some countries don’t allow their civilians to own firearms. Excellent examples of such states include the following;
- Solomon Islands
About Gun Laws in Other Countries
Having looked at Dubai and UAE, let’s focus on other parts of the world.
Can You Own a Gun in Canada?
There is a national law prohibiting Canadians from selling, purchasing, or transferring a handgun. It is an attempt by the government to mitigate gun violence within its borders.
Can You Own a Gun in France?
As a civilian, you aren’t allowed to carry a weapon publicly. However, under certain circumstances where your life is at exceptional risk, the government won’t hesitate to make an exception.
Thanks to the special form, such a person will get a license that will last for a year. It allows you to carry a handgun and limits your rounds to 50.
Whereas such a law exists, it is usually rare to get such authorization.
Can You Own a Gun in Saudi Arabia?
Yes, one can own a firearm in Saudi Arabia. That includes women who can now enjoy this right too.
Can You Own a Gun in Russia?
If you have owned a shotgun for 5 years, you can buy a rifle in Russia. Whereas handguns are prohibited, there are exceptions.
They are allowed in practical shooting competitions and events. Since there are many, one can say that handguns are allowed to a greater extent.
Nevertheless, these handguns shouldn’t leave the shooting club.
Can You Own a Gun in Germany?
Possession of firearms in Germany is regulated by its Weapon Act. You can’t buy or own a gun without a weapons possession card.
If you are a collector, that’s enough to allow you to do your business. However, if you plan to carry a loaded one, ensure that you have a weapons license too.
Can You Shoot in Dubai?
If you are a shooting sports fan, all is not lost while staying in Dubai. There are various shooting ranges with various options to explore.
They are safe and secure, giving you a great place to practice shooting. Since they meet all the international standards, don’t hesitate to visit one to master the art of precision.
- Overview of gun laws by nation – Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_of_gun_laws_by_nation
- Those over 21 can buy weapons in the UAE. Here are the guidelines – GulfToday – https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2022/05/09/those-over-21-can-buy-weapons-in-the-uae-here-are-the-guidelines