Serbia is awash in weapons, many of them left over from the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
It now ranks third in the world for gun ownership, with an estimated 39 firearms per 100 people, trailing the United States with 121 and Yemen with 53, according to the 2018 Small Arms Survey.
Almost 95 percent of gun owners in Serbia today are men, often middle-aged and older, according to an October 2022 report by the Flemish Peace Institute, an independent research group. The most frequent reasons for gun ownership “were not linked to tradition and customs,” but for self-protection and hunting, the report said. The researchers found that most Serbs believed that the most effective ways to protect against gun violence were a greater police presence, “violence awareness campaigns and stricter gun-control regulations.”
The exact number of guns in Serbia has been difficult to ascertain. According to The Small Arms Survey, there were approximately 2.7 million firearms in civilian hands at the end of 2017, but fewer than half were registered with the government.
— Cora Englebrecht in What’s Behind Serbia’s Gun Violence
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