Accidental Shootings Decreased by 17% in South East Europe in 2022

SEESAC’s latest In Focus Armed Violence Monitor reveals noteworthy statistics about accidental shootings reported in South East Europe in 2022.

Accidental shootings refer to incidents in which a firearm/ammunition/explosive device is discharged or activated unintentionally, causing injury or death to oneself or others, but also property damage.

A total of 65 accidental shootings were reported in South East Europe in 2022, which is 17% less than in 2021.

These incidents mainly occurred due to improper handling of weapons, during their regular maintenance, hunting, and as a result of weapon malfunction or bullet ricocheting, among other cases.

Accidental shootings resulted in 67 victims, of whom 10 people died, and 57 were injured. Twelve victims, all boys, were 18 or younger, showing that accidental shootings pose the greatest risk to this age group compared to all other types of firearm incidents recorded by SEESAC’s Armed Violence Monitoring Platform.

In 30 cases, victims sustained self-injuries with firearms/explosives and ammunition, while 31 incidents were caused by someone other than the victim. A similar trend was seen in 2021.

Handguns were the most frequently reported weapon in accidental shootings, being reported in 19 incidents, closely followed by rifles/shotguns with 16 incidents. The opposite pattern was observed in 2021.

In both 2021 and 2022, nearly 40% of accidental shootings were caused by weapons in legal possession when the legal status of weapon possession was indicated.

In 2022, rural areas experienced a higher frequency of accidental shootings compared to urban areas, which is the only type of firearm incident that shows this trend.

36% of accidental shootings took place at homes/yards in both years. At least seven accidental shootings in 2022 occurring at home/yards were the result of improper handling of weapons. 

Accidental shootings can have serious consequences on the victim, their family and community and are often preventable.

More data on firearms incidents in South East Europe is available on the Armed Violence Monitoring Platform.

To read the report, please click here.


About the Armed Violence Monitoring Platform (AVMP)

The Armed Violence Monitoring Platform (AVMP) has been established by SEESAC with EU funding within the framework of EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2356 and is currently supported through EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/2111, in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South-East Europe. It captures data on firearm-related incidents happening in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, Kosovo* and the Republic of Moldova with the purpose of making essential data available to all interested parties working on small arms and light weapons control.

The data is gathered daily from the relevant authorities' official websites, as well as print and online media. The collected data range from the type of incident, firearms used, age and gender of the victim and the perpetrator, outcome of the incident, etc. Basic data analysis is also provided for various data sets aiming to discover trends related to the incidents.

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).