Monitoring the Proliferation of Small Arms

All studies indicate that, in both the military and criminal sphere,
the greatest percentage of violent deaths occur from the use
of light weapons and small arms.  

-Oscar Arias Sánchez, A Scourge of Guns

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UN Conference on
Small Arms

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INDEX

Introduction || Coalitions: SAWG and IANSA|| Efforts to Combat the Illicit Traffic in Small and Light Arms || U.S. Government Documents || U.S. Government Agencies || FAS Arms Sales Monitoring Project Reports|| Links and Other Organizations || Suggested Reading || Technical Information on Small Arms

   

INTRODUCTION

There are around forty wars raging in countries around the world today. These wars are being fought primarily with small arms and light weapons carried by individual soldiers or on light vehicles. Few combatants involved (whether state or non-state actors) produce any, let alone the bulk, of these munitions. Most light arms being used in these conflicts are imported--either through legal international channels, or through the black market. Statistics on light weapons trafficking are hard to come by (none of the standard sources of information on the arms trade, such as the SIPRI Yearbook, provide such data), but the available evidence suggests that this trade is flourishing in the post-Cold War era. The Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers has begun to develop a comprehensive database of world-wide military small arms production and transfers.

The widespread availability of small arms and light weapons compounds the difficulty of alleviating civil crises, and it may actually encourage the resort to warfare (as opposed to non-military means of conflict resolution and state formation). The spread of light weapons is also increasing the duration of civil conflicts, which have tremendous costs in terms of human suffering, economic development deferred, and political development stunted. Small arms are also the weapons of choice for abusive forces within both government, 

This campaign will increase awareness of the dangers posed by the easy availability (past, present and future) of light weapons. It will also consider and promote appropriate policy reforms. These goals will be achieved through the development of a database on black market gun-running and publication of a series of in-depth regional case studies, the first of which is a 1996 monograph on the light weapons trade in Latin America by Michael Klare and David Anderson.

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 COALITIONS

An international network of nongovernmental organizations working to address the proliferation and misuse of small arms

           An alliance of nongovernmental organizations working to reform U.S. policy on small arms sales

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EFFORTS TO COMBAT THE ILLICIT TRADE IN SMALL ARMS/LIGHT WEAPONS

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US GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS

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US GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS - Illicit Arms Transfers

  • "Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Scheme to Arm Colombian Terror Group with 4,000 Grenades and 2,000 Firearms," News Release, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 9 August 2005. August 1986.
  • Report on Arms Caches Seized in Chile, August 1986.
  • Libya: Supplying Terrorist Weapons, Central Intelligence Agency, Directorate of Intelligence, 6 December 1984.

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    U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

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    FAS ARMS SALES MONITORING PROJECT PUBLICATIONS/PRESENTATIONS:

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     LINKS AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS:

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    SUGGESTED READING

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     TECHNICAL INFORMATION ON SMALL ARMS:

    The Picatinny Arsenal homepage highlights U.S. Army small/light weapons development
    and procurement plans.