A legacy of past political violence and the activities of criminal gangs has contributed to Honduras having one of the highest murder rates in the world. The National Violence Observatory (NVO), reports a murder rate higher than average in neighbourhood countries and security conditions in the country are a major concern. Most of Honduras’ major cities and several Honduran departments have homicide rates even higher than the national average, with illegal weapons being one of the main drivers of the high murder rate.
Guns and ammunition in Honduras are regulated by the Ministry of Defence. Private possession of some firearms are permitted under licence. Many of the guns in possession of the National Police have been confiscated after being used for crimes, some were turned in as certain weapons became illegal, and others are no longer in use by the police. In addition, most of Honduras' official weapons storage facilities have limited security, and are in need of maintenance: these factors can create the conditions for weapons to be misappropriated and used for crimes and violence.
The HALO Trust is working with the Honduran government, police and military, to transparently destroy surplus and confiscated weapons and improve the security of the country's weapon storage facilities. It is supported by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA). PM/WRA administers the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction (CWD) foreign assistance program to reduce the harmful worldwide effects of at-risk, illicitly-proliferated, and indiscriminately-used conventional weapons of war. The U.S. Department of State is currently supporting activities for small arms/light weapons (SA/LW) destruction, physical security upgrades, stockpile management training, and disposal training in Honduras, for the National Police, the Armed Forces and the Public Ministry.
The HALO Trust in Honduras is coordinating a transparent, multi-organisational process for performing ballistic tests on and then destroying weapons (both confiscated and obsolete) under the custody of the National Police of Honduras. While the weapons are to be destroyed by the National Police of Honduras, the Government forensics department will undertake ballistic tests under local legislation. The ultimate aim is to destroy and secure weapons to make Honduras safer.