U.S. Policy on Small/Light Arms Exports

Lora Lumpe, Federation of American Scientists
Prepared for American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Conference on Controlling Small Arms
11-12 December 1997, Washington, DC


This paper lays out the variety of channels through which small and light arms exit the United States today. It discusses what is publicly knowable about exports through each of these channels (that is, the level of governmental transparency surrounding such transfers) and about end-use monitoring provisions in place to guard against misuse or diversion of U.S.-source weapons. The paper concludes by making recommendations that could constructively reform U.S. policy and reinforce the Clinton administration's recent initiatives to curb illegal arms trafficking.

A Focus on the Illicit Firearm Trade

In his keynote speech before the 50th UN General Assembly, President Clinton focused on the global humanitarian and security threats posed by terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking. He stated, "No one is immune, not the people of Latin America or Southeast Asia, where drug traffickers wielding imported weapons have murdered judges, journalists, police officers and innocent passersby." Citing the facility with which such criminals obtain the weapons needed for their operations, President Clinton urged states to work with the United States "to shut down the grey markets that outfit terrorists and criminals with firearms."

This speech marked a turning point in U.S. policy on small arms transfers. Since 1995, efforts have evolved rapidly and on several fronts, most notably, as evidenced by President Clinton's remarks, in the area of seeking to curb the illicit traffic in such arms. In 1996, the administration prompted a change in U.S. law, closing a loophole which previously exempted U.S. citizens brokering arms deals in other countries from U.S. laws and regulations. The administration deepened its commitment to the issue in May 1997 and agreed to Mexican-backed "fast track" negotiations through the Organization of American States on a convention against illicit manufacture and trafficking of firearms, ammunition and related materials. That treaty was signed by the United States and 27 other western hemisphere governments on 14 November 1997. And last June, the "group of eight" industrialized countries (G-7 plus Russia) highlighted the threats posed by transnational crime and terrorism. The group reiterated its support for measures to curb illicit gun-running and agreed to consider the development of an international agreement to combat such traffic at its gathering in Birmingham, U.K. in May 1998.

The U.S. administration has also played a constructive role in relevant efforts over the past two years at the United Nations, in the preparation of the Panel of Governmental Experts' Report on Small Arms(1) and in development of the International Study on Firearm Regulations prepared by the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division of the Economic and Social Council(2). Both of these studies focus significantly on the illegal traffic in arms, as well.

At the same time it is pursuing these laudable initiatives, however, the U.S. government sells, gives or licenses for export hundreds of thousands of guns annually and vast quantities of ammunition. Many U.S.-source small and light arms enter into illegal circulation. In 1993, foreign governments reported 6,238 unlawfully acquired U.S.-origin firearms to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Over half--3,376--were discovered in Mexico.(3) According to President Clinton's statement at the signing of the OAS convention on illicit arms trafficking, in November 1997, the BATF received approximately 30,000 requests in 1996 from OAS member states to trace weapons used in crimes. For the most part, these weapons are legally sold, either domestically or abroad, and later re-transferred to another party in contravention of U.S. law.

The Channels of Supply

There are five principle means by which small arms and light weapons are exported abroad from the United States: government-negotiated sales (called foreign military sales, or FMS); free or low-cost transfers of surplus Pentagon arms; sales negotiated directly by the arms manufacturer or a middleman (direct commercial sales, or DCS); covert government-run supply operations; and illegal export of weapons. The legal arms supply channels are described in some detail below, with an attempt made to quantify the magnitude of small/light arms transfers through each in recent years, a description of the level of transparency surrounding each, and the prevalence of end-user checks in place to safeguard against diversion or misuse. Some general observations are made about illegal arms exports from the United States and covert government arms supply operations.

Three principal laws and two sets of implementing regulations govern small and light arms exports from the United States. The Arms Export Control Act is the primary law establishing procedures on sales of military equipment and related services. This law stipulates the purposes for which weapons may be transferred (self-defense, regional or collective defense, and internal security) and establishes a process by which the executive branch must give Congress advance notice of major sales valued at $14 million or more, whether the sale is negotiated by the government or directly by the arms industry or a broker. The Arms Export Control Act mandates that foreign government entities gain U.S. government approval before they re-transfer U.S.-origin arms to a third party.(4) This law also authorizes the government to engage in covert arms supply operations.(5)

The Arms Export Control Act is implemented by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which are overseen by the Office of Defense Trade Controls, in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the State Department. The ITAR contain a listing of all categories of equipment considered "munitions." Included in the list are all firearms except for non-military shotguns. Manufacturers or brokers wishing to export such arms must be registered with the Office of Defense Trade Controls, and they must obtain an individual export license from the State Department before making any arms shipment.

The ITAR also include a list of proscribed destinations. Currently, twenty-four governments and one insurgent group are ineligible to import any American weapons.(6) The State Department imposed these embargoes for a variety of reasons, including U.N. Security Council-mandated arms embargoes (which are binding for all U.N. members), chronic warfare, and/or a determination that the government is a sponsor of terrorist activity. In a few other cases, discussed below, the administration has established a policy prohibiting or restricting transfers of small arms and crowd control equipment to particular destinations because of human rights concerns, or concerns about diversion of weapons.

The Export Administration Act governs shipments of dual-use goods---technology with both military and civilian applications.(7) The Bureau of Export Administration at the Commerce Department administers this law through the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which contain the Commerce Control List of items regulated for export on foreign policy or national security grounds. Included in this list, under the heading of police equipment, are non-military shotguns, shotgun components, shotgun shells, stunguns and shock batons. Companies wishing to export such items must first obtain a license from the Commerce Department for all entities except those in NATO member countries, Australia, New Zealand or Japan. Governments deemed by the State Department to be "state sponsors of terrorism" are prohibited from receiving items controlled for export by the Commerce Department, but some other restrictions placed on State Department-licensed arms exports do not apply to those overseen by the Commerce Department.

The Foreign Assistance Act directs the provision of economic and military aid to foreign governments and militaries. This act provides the authority for the President and the Department of Defense to give away stocks of surplus American arms. It includes language barring military aid or arms sales to any country that shows a "gross and consistent" pattern of human rights abuse. The Foreign Assistance Act also contains certain proscriptions on the supply of equipment to foreign police forces, although many of the restrictions have been eroded by U.S. counter-narcotics programs over the past several years.

These three laws are amended yearly by Congress, usually through the annual foreign aid and defense authorization and appropriation acts, which set the levels of assistance and weapons procurement for the upcoming fiscal year.(8) The implementing regulations are updated often through notices in the Federal Register, the daily bulletin of the executive branch.

Government-Negotiated Foreign Military Sales

Through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, the U.S. government (represented by the Defense Department) negotiates weapons sales directly with foreign militaries. In addition to the weapons, the Pentagon usually contracts to deliver the goods, provide training in the operation and maintenance of the weapons, supply spare parts, and give performance assurances. FMS may cover sales of new equipment (procured by the Pentagon from U.S. weapons manufacturers), coproduction of weapons overseas, or sales from surplus Pentagon stocks.

An FMS deal is usually initiated with a request for weapons transmitted from the U.S. embassy in the customer country to the "implementing agency"---the Army or the Defense Logistics Agency in the case of small/light arms. Copies of the request are sent to several relevant government agencies, including the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs, the Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the Unified Command responsible for the region where the customer country is located. If no objections are raised, the implementing agency, in conjunction with the DSAA, begins to prepare the contract for the arms package. By law, the administration must notify Congress 15-30 days before offering a sales contract to a foreign customer, if the proposed sale is valued at $14 million or more.(9)

Congress has recently been notified of several major light weapons sales:

---In July 1997, the Pentagon disclosed plans to sell the Thai military 37,500 FN M16A2 assault rifles, 4,700 M4 carbines, 2,600 M203 grenade launchers, spare parts and ammunition at a cost of some $40 million.

---In the same month, the Department of Defense informed Congress of its planned sale of 130 M2 .50 caliber machine guns to Saudi Arabia, as part of a much larger ($1.075 billion) sale of light armored vehicles.

---In June 1997, the Pentagon announced the proposed sale of 1,065 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and 213 gripstock missile launchers to Taiwan as part of a larger $307 million deal.

Due to a law passed in 1996, notifications to Congress of proposed FMS are now printed in the Federal Register, the daily bulletin of the executive branch. The notices are usually published within two weeks of transmittal to Congress, and the Federal Register is available via the internet, meaning that information on some government negotiated small/light arms sales is widely available to the public prior to finalization of the sales contract.(10) The vast majority of light weapons deals, however, fall below the $14 million notification threshold and receive little or no Congressional or public scrutiny.

Until recently, the only source of information on past shipments of government-brokered small arms sales was through submission of a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a law directing that the executive branch release all requested information to the public that is not exempt from disclosure (national security and foreign policy reasons are grounds for exemption). Detailed information obtained from the Defense Department in 1994 showed that between 1980-93, the Pentagon transferred nearly 50,000 pistols, over 170,000 rifles and shotguns, nearly 1,000 submachine guns, and more than 12,000 grenade launchers to 49 countries through FMS (see appendix 1).(11) Given the magnitude of the recent light arms sale to Thailand, mentioned above, these figures are surprisingly low, but still consequential. Among the data included were the following transfers:

El Salvador

1982-91 33,274 M16 assault rifles
1981-91 3,120 40mm grenade launchers
1982-91 267,000 hand grenades

Lebanon

1980-83 38,000 M16 assault rifles
1983-84 60,000 hand grenades
1983-84 120,000 81mm HE mortar rounds
1983-83 2,944 anti-personnel mines
1984 4,000 anti-tank mines

Somalia

1982-87 4,800 M16 assault rifles

Thailand

1980-90 347,588 hand grenades
1980 185,000 anti-personnel mines
1980 40,000 anti-tank mines

Zaire

1988 1,000 M16 assault rifles

In response to a subsequent FOIA request for the same information for the period 1994-96, the Department of Defense provided information on which small/light weapons were exported to which countries, and the date they were shipped, but declined to include the quantity delivered. Thus, while it is impossible to discern the magnitude of the exports, it was shown that during 1994-96:(12)

--Egypt took several deliveries of M2 .50 caliber machine guns;

--Lebanon and Oman each took one delivery of M2 .50 caliber machine guns;

--Bolivia, Bosnia, Jordan each took delivery of M60 7.62mm machine guns;

--Bolivia, Colombia and Tunisia each took delivery of M249 5.56mm machine guns; and

--Egypt, Estonia, Israel, Latvia and Lithuania all took delivery of M16A1 assault rifles.

A new requirement established in U.S. law in 1996 now causes the Pentagon to report to Congress (and the public) annually on all FMS deliveries, by country, and by weapon system, during the preceding year. The first iteration of the report, known as the "section 655 report" after the section of the Foreign Assistance Act which mandates it, was released in September 1997. It lists out nearly $12.7 billion of weapons exported in toto through FMS in fiscal year 1996. Among other small arms deliveries, it lists 30,450 rifles and 169 machine guns to Taiwan and 292 machine guns and 39 rifles to Thailand.(13) Detailed information of the sort contained in the section 655 report was provided to Congress throughout the 1970s, but the Reagan administration repealed the legislation mandating it in 1981. Reinstatement of this report greatly facilitates Congressional and public oversight of U.S. small arms sales policies.

According to a recent report on end-use monitoring of FMS shipments, "whether a minor item, which is readily available commercially [e.g., small arms] or a high technology weapon system, each defense item transfer must be preceded by formal agreement with appropriate end-use and retransfer restrictions."(14) The report goes on to note that the Defense Department's "physical security requirements for transfers to foreign governments of arms, ammunition and explosives are similar to those required by U.S. military forces." Security Assistance Offices, located in U.S. embassies around the world, are charged with in-country management of weapons sales programs, including oversight of end use. However, there is no indication that any routine or surprise end-use inspections are undertaken to assure physical control and non-transfer.

Theft of weapons from U.S. military depots is a significant source of black-market arms within and from the United States, and it is reasonable to assume that foreign control of arms sold through the FMS program are equally, if not more, vulnerable to theft and/or diversion. Allegations long persisted, for example, that the Thai government---whether through negligence or official policy---was diverting U.S.-supplied (and other) light arms to Khmer Rouge combatants in neighboring Cambodia. In December 1993, one of several Khmer Rouge arms depots on Thai soil was inadvertently exposed to the press, and U.S.-designed weapons were photographed in the arsenal.(15) The practice apparently continues on an ad hoc basis today, although pared down significantly in the past few years. Meanwhile, some of the U.S. M16 assault rifles and other light weapons that flowed into Cambodia, have been re-exported back through Thailand to rebels fighting the military government in Burma.(16)

Surplus Weapons Grants from the Government

In addition to sales of newly-manufactured weapons, the Pentagon gives away or sells at deep discount the vast oversupply of small/light weapons that it has in its post cold-war inventory. Most of this surplus is dispensed through the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. The Foreign Assistance Act defines EDA as weapons or other items owned by the U.S. government, which were not procured in anticipation of military assistance or sales requirements. Originally only the southern-tier members of NATO were cleared to receive EDA, but following the 1991 Gulf war, many Middle Eastern and North African states were added; anti-narcotics aid provisions expanded EDA eligibility to include South American and Caribbean countries; and the "Partnership for Peace" program made most Central and Eastern European governments eligible for free surplus arms.

Around 1995, largescale grants and sales of small/light arms began occurring (see appendix 2). In the past few years (1995-early 1998), over 300,000 rifles, pistols, machine guns and grenade launchers have been offered up, including:

---158,000 M16A1 assault rifles (principally to Bosnia, Israel, Philippines)

---124,815 M14 rifles (principally to the Baltics and Taiwan)

---26,780 pistols (principally to Philippines, Morocco, Chile, Bahrain)

---1,740 machine guns (principally to Morocco, Bosnia)

---10,570 grenade launchers (principally to Bahrain, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Morocco)

Excess equipment is generally transferred in furtherance of U.S. foreign policy goals, such as narcotics control, military alliance or encouraging participation in multilateral peacekeeping operations. In addition, there is a budgetary inducement for the military services to unload the surplus weapons, rather than bear the expense of storing or destroying them.

Most provisions of law that apply to sales of new weapons also apply to transfers of surplus arms. In fact, EDA are the most transparent of all U.S. arms exports. In 1993, at the urging of the arms industry, the Pentagon created a computer bulletin board on excess weapons sales and grants.(17) When the Pentagon notifies the foreign aid committees of Congress of upcoming EDA weapons transfers (required 30 days prior to shipment, no matter the value of the equipment, whether grant or for sale), the information is posted on the bulletin board. In addition, the section 655 report itemizes all grant EDA offered to each country during the preceding fiscal year.

That report also lists surplus weapons provided during the preceding year under special Presidential authority to "draw down" U.S. military equipment to meet emergency needs. The Foreign Assistance Act provides permission for the President to transfer on a grant basis up to $150 million of military articles from U.S. stocks annually.(18) The executive branch has used this provision increasingly in recent years, particularly in support of counter-narcotics efforts. In addition, Jordan and Bosnia have taken delivery of large quantities of surplus light arms under this emergency authority. The law requires the President to notify Congress of any planned drawdowns of equipment, and also to notify Congress upon completion of delivery.

Section 623 of the Foreign Assistance Act requires the Department of Defense to supervise end-use of weapons provided under grant aid programs. This function is delegated to Security Assistance Offices located in overseas embassies. According to an August 1997 report on end-use monitoring, "As part of their normal duties, SAOs are responsible for observing and reporting on utilization by the host country of defense articles and defense services, including training." Again, there was no indication in the report, however, that this observation or reporting is routinely, or even occasionally, occurring in most recipient countries.(19) The State Department, however, does appear to conduct some end-use checks of small arms provided under the special drawdown authority in support of drug control operations. During 1995, the U.S. embassy in Bogota inspected M16A1 rifles, M60 machine guns, M9 pistols, shotguns, M79 grenade launchers, 60mm mortars, and ammunition that had been shipped to Colombian forces.(20)

In addition to concerns about the repressive nature of some of the governments taking delivery of weapons through this program (discussed below), the precedent of exporting---rather than destroying---surplus small arms is potentially dangerous. Several other countries have (or had) large surplus arms holdings. The Federal Republic of Germany, for example, inherited the entire military of the German Democratic Republic; many former Soviet republics inherited arsenals in excess of their ability or desire to field soldiers. Liberal transfers of excess arms by the United States, for economic or diplomatic gain, may be used as justification by these and other states for similar actions, contributing to a further proliferation of guns.

Some past U.S. transfers of surplus light weapons have come back to haunt American policymakers. Beginning in the 1950s, the Department of Defense gave or sold nearly 2.5 million World War 2-era military pistols, rifles and carbines to some 40 governments around the world (see appendix 3). South Korea, Vietnam, Turkey, Pakistan, Cambodia and the Philippines were the largest recipients of the weapons---M1911 .45 caliber pistols, M1 carbines and M1 Garand rifles. Now the pro-gun lobby in the United States is seeking to force the executive branch (through an act of Congress) to allow American citizens to import these old model, but still quite lethal weapons---referred to as "curios and relics" by the National Rifle Association. The Departments of Defense, State, Justice and Treasury, along with the White House, are firmly opposed to allowing these weapons into civilian circulation.

Industry Direct Arms Sales

Despite the large quantities of small/light arms sold through FMS and given away through surplus programs, the vast majority of such weapons are exported from America through direct commercial sales (DCS), negotiated between U.S. companies or brokers and foreign buyers. The foreign customer may be a government entity (e.g., interior ministry, justice ministry, ministry of defense, or national police), a corporation or person using the weapons for private security, or a gun vendor. DCS must be approved by the State Department's Office of Defense Trade Controls or the Commerce Department's Bureau of Export Administration, depending on the equipment. State Department-licensed sales are subject to the same Congressional notification procedure as are FMS (that is, for sales over $14 million). Commerce Department-licensed sales are not subject to any prior Congressional scrutiny.

In general, when the customer is a government entity, the choice of whether to use the government-to-government channel or to deal directly with the arms manufacturer or broker is up to the purchaser. Most public and policy attention focuses on government-negotiated FMS, since that program is much more visible and has accounted for the majority of U.S. arms exports in dollar terms over the years. Arms export licenses approved by the State Department's Office of Munitions Control (later renamed the Office of Defense Trade Controls) totaled some $2-3 billion annually during most of the cold war, with much of this believed to comprise small/light arms. By the mid-1980s, however, license approval averaged $10 billion annually, and since the 1990-91 Gulf war, licenses have shot up to an average of more than $25 billion a year. State Department officials are quick to point out that DCS license approvals do not represent final sales; they estimate that about a quarter to half of the licenses approved will result in actual exports. Still, this represents a dramatic increase in the value of industry-negotiated arms sales.

The growing popularity of direct sales is due to the fact that the commercial route is quicker, sometimes cheaper and entails less oversight than do government-negotiated sales. In addition, both the Commerce and State Departments are much less transparent about the deals they are licensing than the Pentagon is about sales it is negotiating.(21) Many foreign customers have viewed this secrecy with favor.

State Department-licensed Small Arms Exports

The section 655 report now makes it possible to tally the vast quantities of small arms, light weaponry and ammunition that the State Department is clearing for export. The report for 1996 lists out in great specificity some $470 million of small arms and ammunition which the State Department authorized manufacturers to export directly to foreign countries.(22) It is possible to quantify the value of licenses granted for ammunition and ammunition manufacturing equipment, carbines, grenades/grenade launchers, machine guns, submachine guns, pistols, M16 rifles, other rifles, etc. to each recipient country. It is important to note, though, that this information only concerns licenses that have been approved by the State Department, rather than actual delivery of items. These licenses are valid for four years.

Because the State Department previously refused to release any information about small arms sales it has licensed,(23) it is not possible to determine relative changes in the volume of exports or licenses over time. However, the State Department's Office of Defense Trade Controls reported in mid-1994 that it had experienced a recent noticeable increase in the number of applications for firearm and ammunition exports.(24) Data obtained by Congressional investigators showed that during 1989-93 the State Department granted 1,600 export licenses for over $100 million of pistols, revolvers and rifles to eight Latin American countries (see below).(25)
value of licenses no. of licenses no. of end-use checks
Argentina $47,747,115 686 7
Brazil $3,957,533 343 2
Colombia $643,785 39 0
Costa Rica $556,274 117 0
El Salvador $891,916 61 3
Guatemala $6,766,983 141 3
Mexico $34,362,973 108 3
Peru $11,704,189 137 3
Total $106,630,768 1,632 21

Around this same time, according to a State Department bulletin, foreign governments requested that the United States be more careful in licensing small arms and ammunition for export. Concerned about the quantity of firearms entering their countries, and the possibility for diversion to terrorists, drug-traffickers and criminals, governments requested that the U.S. government demand more extensive documentation for license applications. As a result, the State Department modified the regulations governing firearms exports in several ways. First, a firm and specific purchase order must be submitted with a license application. Second, a "nontransfer and use" certificate is required for export applications for 50 or more handguns or rifles, or 100,000 or more rounds of ammunition. Third, an import authorization issued by the importing government is now required, as well.(26)

In 1990, the State Department initiated a global end-use monitoring program known as "Blue Lantern." The program, required by an act of Congress,(27) is administered by overseas diplomatic posts, under the direction of the Office of Defense Trade Controls. Embassy personnel verify directly with local authorities and foreign firms or persons the bona fides of proposed transactions. They also perform some random spot checks. Some 3,000 cases have been initiated since the program began (on an estimated 50,000 licenses granted annually). Investigations are triggered when someone included in the State Department's watch list applies for an export license, or when other key flags indicating high risk transactions are raised. These include: requested equipment that does not match the known requirements or inventory of the foreign end user (including requests for spare parts); insufficient information about parties to the transaction; or involvement of a foreign broker in a third country. But information revealed through a Congressional hearing showed that the State Department conducted only 21 end-use checks on 1,600 license approvals granted for gun exports to Latin American countries during 1989-93 (see preceding page).

Nevertheless, according to an August 1997 report, the State Department believes that the Blue Lantern program has effectively disrupted several "grey arms market transactions" and had an important deterrent effect in dissuading bogus imports.(28) In 1996, thirty-one cases referred to Blue Lantern resulted in export license denial; nearly half of these cases were in Latin America, and most of the remainder were in Europe.(29) As a result of one recent investigation, the U.S. government instituted a ban on firearms exports for commercial purposes to Paraguay, and sales to the government and police are now subject to a high degree of scrutiny.(30) According to a U.S. embassy official in Asuncion, "The diversion of arms and munitions from Paraguay to neighboring countries (chiefly Brazil) is becoming a major regional issue. The Blue Lantern program provides us with a mechanism for measuring and controlling U.S. commercial exports to Paraguay."(31) The program also reportedly heightened British officials' awareness of the need to monitor more closely commercial U.S. small arms exports to the U.K. and uncovered two cases of fraudulent orders in Bolivia---one concerning sniper rifles allegedly for the government and the other involving phony import permits issued by the ministry of defense.(32)

A recent State Department Inspector General report agrees that the program is becoming more aggressive and effective, but acknowledges that it is still implemented unevenly at different embassies. In particular, the report cites communication problems between the embassies and the Washington, frivolous investigation requests, and sloppy or non-existent record keeping on investigations. The Inspector General took several recommendations from embassy personnel, one which would waive Blue Lantern checks for certain U.S. munitions list items, including hand guns or "other sporting armaments."(33)

Maintaining control over licensed manufacture in foreign countries of U.S.-design small/light arms is another area of concern. In 1988 the General Accounting Office disclosed that South Korean industry had violated the terms of a license by Colt for the manufacture of M16A1 assault rifles, producing them in excess of the permitted quantity and exporting the rifles without U.S. government approval. The State Department classified the names of the third-country recipients, but a member of Congress disclosed in a hearing that they were "hostile." The Pentagon maintained that the exported rifle, known as the K-2, is a "Koreanized" version of the M16, but with enough modification that it could be considered "indigenous" and, therefore, exempt from U.S. government export controls. Other countries which have produced M16A1 assault rifles under license are Canada, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan. Chartered Industries of Singapore now produces an M16 clone which it exports widely.

Commerce Department-licensed Exports of Shotguns

The Commerce Department is also secretive about what precisely it is licensing for export to which particular entities in foreign countries, but it is possible to glean some data. In response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act about shotgun exports licensed during 1991-93, the Department released country-specific data on the quantity and dollar value of licenses approved for the commodity category that includes shotguns (as well as shotgun components, shotgun shells, stun guns and shock batons). According to this information, over $100 million in exports of these items were approved during the three-year period (see appendix 4 for value by country). At an average price of $200 per shotgun, this translates into roughly 500,000 guns approved for export during this three-year period.

Although it is impossible to know with certainty, since this information is not released, the bulk of these licenses were probably for 18 or 20" Mossberg, Maverick and/or Winchester 12-gauge shotguns, shells, rifle scopes and sights. Smith & Wesson, EI Dupont de Nemour, Bausch and Lomb Inc., Olin Corporation, Valor Corporation of Florida, and U.S. Repeating Arms are some of the principal U.S. manufacturers and exporters of these weapons and components.

No doubt boosted by active assistance from the Commerce Department, in the form of letters to overseas embassy staff instructing them to promote gun sales, shotgun exports have apparently increased in recent years, as well. In fiscal year 1995, the Commerce Department approved 1,301 licenses, valued at over $75 million---nearly as much as it had licensed during 1991-93.(34) The following year, Commerce signed-off on over $67 million in shotgun exports, while rejecting just under 50 applications (valued at nearly $3 million) for shipment to entities in Vietnam, Nigeria, Indonesia and other countries.(35) Taken together, these figures represent foreign sales of approximately 700,000 12-gauge shotguns in 1995-96. These figures actually under-represent total sales, since U.S. manufacturers and middlemen do not need a license to export crime control items to destinations in NATO member countries, Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

The guns are exported both to private dealers for commercial resale, and to ministries of justice, interior or defense for use in the importing country. Section 6(n) of the Export Administration Act imposes controls on the export of police equipment principally because of human rights concerns. According to a recent Commerce Department report, "Applications for licenses will generally be considered favorably on a case-by-case basis, unless there is evidence that the government of the importing country may have violated internationally recognized human rights and that the judicious use of export controls would be helpful in deterring the development of a consistent pattern of violations or in distancing the United States from such violations."(36) The document goes on to say that the State Department's annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices will be consulted in making licensing decisions. Information on which states received high levels of gun export licenses from the Commerce Department in 1995-96 is not publicly available, but appendix 4 lists several recipient countries during the 1991-93 time period with severe human rights violations, high levels of armed violence, or a history of diversion. Among the countries of greatest concern on these grounds are Guatemala, Israel, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Export Administration performs no dedicated end-use monitoring on exports of shotguns, components, and ammunition. BXA's Office of Enforcement Support is responsible for preventing and investigating export control violations. It has over 140 staff, half of whom are special agents, located in Washington headquarters and eight field offices around the country. These agents are empowered to make arrests, carry firearms, execute search warrants and seize goods about to be illegally exported. The enforcement office also examines export license applications to assess risk of diversion, but the focus is on major strategic weapons---especially technologies used in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or missiles. In 1996, the Commerce Department, through the Office of Enforcement Support and Foreign Commercial Service staff in overseas embassies, conducted 427 pre-license checks and 234 post-shipment verifications (on tens of thousands of export licenses granted annually). Two cases closed during that year dealt with illegal exports of light weapons.(37)

Covert Government Arms Supply

Clandestine U.S. government operations are another way in which small/light arms are exported from or by America. The National Security Act of 1947 authorizes covert political and military operations, including secret arms supply. The president must first make a "finding" that the operation is vital to U.S. national security. Section 505 of the act requires the Central Intelligence Agency, or other government agencies engaging in such activities, to notify the Congressional committees responsible for oversight of U.S. intelligence community activities of any arms supply operation undertaken valued at $1 million or more.

During the 1970s, and particularly during the Reagan administration, covert arms supply operations run by the Central Intelligence Agency (or the National Security Council) were a major source of small/light arms to insurgent groups around the world. Some of this weaponry was manufactured in America; some, in an effort to hide U.S. support of the operation, was not.

Because these programs are classified, little is known with any precision about the frequency, magnitude and specifics of covert arms supply. Information is sketchy even for the most public of these operations, which armed, trained and financed guerrillas fighting communist-backed state forces in Nicaragua, Angola and Afghanistan.

The classified operation to arm various mujahideen factions fighting in Afghanistan to liberate the country from Soviet invaders began in 1979. Before it ended in 1991, the CIA had shipped via Pakistan an estimated 400,000 AK-47 assault rifles; an undisclosed quantity of Stinger portable anti-aircraft missile launchers and missiles; vast quantities of Italian-made anti-personnel mines; 60,000 archaic rifles, 8,000 light machine guns and over 100,000,000 rounds of ammunition from Turkey; 40-50 Oerlikon Swiss-designed anti-aircraft guns; mortars from Egypt; Blowpipe surface-to-air missiles from Britain; and 100,000 rifles from India.(38)

Covert U.S. aid to insurgents in Angola began in 1974 and continued until 1992. It is estimated that during the 1970s, the CIA provided some $300 million in aid, most of it through neighboring Zaire, and much of it in the form of light weaponry. Former CIA operative John Stockwell wrote that in the early phase of the operation (1970s), the CIA provided 7,771 7.62mm rifles; 12,215 .30 cal carbines; 4,210 66mm light anti tank weapons, and 410 grenade launchers.(39) It is not publicly known how many weapons were transferred to the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and President Mobuto in Zaire when the operation was intensified by the Reagan administration in the mid-1980s.

The recycling of weapons transferred through the CIA or White House covert pipeline is a major contributor to continuing violence and instability today in Central America, South Asia and Southwest Africa. Because of the secret and un-accountable nature of these transactions, they feed directly into the global black arms market.

It is generally believed that the use of covert military supply operations has greatly diminished in the 1990s, and yet calls for armed destabilization of the regimes in Iran and Iraq persist. Most recently, it has been reported that the CIA is considering plans for covert support to Iraqi Kurdish and Shiite groups to sabotage the Iraqi economy and propel the overthrow of President Hussein.(40) On-going covert arms supply to forces opposing the Sudanese regime is also reported, as well.

Illegal Exports

In part, the Clinton administration's recent focus on the illicit arms traffic was spurred by the concerns of the Mexican government about the proliferation of illegal U.S. weapons in the hands of Mexican drug-traffickers and other criminals. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), Mexico is one of the leading recipients of illicitly exported U.S. weapons. Guns flow from and through America to Mexico in several ways.

On 14 March of last year, when federal agents opened two crates in a "left cargo" hold at the Otay Mesa border crossing near San Diego, they uncovered the largest illegal shipment of arms ever intercepted in the United States en route to Mexico. The weapons---thousands of unassembled grenade launchers and parts for M2 automatic rifles---had been sitting unclaimed for two months. The shipment had originated in Vietnam, where America left behind large quantities of weapons, including M2 automatic rifles.(41) Before the arms returned home, they were well-traveled, having gone from Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore to Bremerhaven, Germany, through the Panama Canal and up to Long Beach, California, where the weapons entered the United States in two large, sealed containers.(42) The contents were falsely represented as hand tools and strap hangers, but U.S. Customs at Long Beach did not inspect the cargo, since the shipment was "in-bond"---that is, the items were simply transiting the United States to another country, in this case Mexico. In-bond cargo containers typically remain sealed as they move from ship to truck to border. According to a Customs source, "in the normal course of business, no one would have ever opened them. [The arms] were discovered through a fluke."(43) (The shipment was held up at the border because the Mexican freight forwarder commissioned to get the crates to Mexico City did not have an address for the purchaser.) The in-bond system is built on trust, and on the Customs Department's lack of resources. Customs has fewer than 135 inspectors at the port of Long Beach, the nation's busiest port.(44)

Nevertheless, the Customs Department has successfully thwarted a number of illegal arms export efforts, many of them involving small arms shipments. For instance, in 1997 several defendants were indicted for attempting to export illegally 53 AR-15 rifles from the United States to Colombia. In another case in 1997, Customs blocked an attempt to import surface to air missiles from Bulgaria for transhipment to Colombia. The Department also successfully prosecuted a former Venezuelan secret service agent for the unlawful shipment of 120 firearms to Venezuela between 1993-95.(45) Unfortunately, there is no way to know what percentage of the illegal trade is being intercepted.

Large and relatively well-organized arms shipments like the one intercepted in San Diego last March are thought to be unusual. A more routine way of smuggling arms across the border is the hormiga (ant) run: repeated trips across the border with one or a few guns. A legally eligible or "straw" purchaser buys a few weapons (often cheap .22 and .25 caliber pistols, "38 specials," and 9mm pistols) from gun stores in El Paso and other American border towns and hands them over to the trafficker, who smuggles them across the border, generally either on foot or in the trunk of a car. This process is repeated thousands of times a year, as smugglers make repeated trips to gun stores and shows in Florida, Texas and California, in particular.(46)

Some legal constraints are now in place, but lack of investigative and regulatory resources reduce their efficacy. The "Brady Bill" mandates a national system of background checks prior to gun purchases. Until that system is up and running (by November 1998), a mandatory five-day waiting period prior to purchase is in effect. And a rule recently enacted by the Clinton administration requires purchasers to show that they have lived for at least three months in the state where they are buying a gun. And the 1994 assault weapons ban curbs purchases by civilians of automatic and semi-automatic weapons.

The Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 (sponsored by the NRA) requires that multiple sales be reported to the BATF and local law enforcement agencies, so that they can monitor multiple gun purchases and investigate if they suspect criminal intent. But currently only three states---Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina---have laws that prevent people from buying more than one gun a month. In all other states, straw purchasers can buy significant quantities of guns and ammunition from gun dealers at one time and pass them on to smugglers for clandestine shipment. A 1991 BATF report describes a number of such transactions, including a 1989 case in which three Arizona residents purchased 93 assault rifles and 22 handguns for a well known Mexican narcotics trafficker, who then smuggled them into Mexico.(47)

U.S. military depots are another likely source of supply. In 1993, the General Accounting Office (GAO) found that small arms parts were routinely stolen from a number of U.S. military repair shops and warehouses. The parts were then sold to gun dealers or to walk-in customers at gun shows around the United States. GAO investigators were able to purchase military small arms parts at 13 of 15 gun shows they visited. They were able to buy everything needed to convert a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle into a fully automatic M16, as well as 30-round M16 magazine clips still in their original packages.(48) Given the paucity of end-use checks performed on U.S.-supplied arms (described above), it is reasonable to assume that theft from Mexican depots contributes to the black market in arms, as well.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The United States continues, as during the cold war, to be a major exporter of light weaponry around the world, and by all available evidence, legal exports of shotguns, small arms and ammunition have been increasing in recent past years. Because other governments are not open about their light weapons shipments, it is not possible to rank the United States' place in the global small arms trade; however, give the sheer magnitude of U.S. licenses and sales---in 1996 the State Department approved $470 million of small arms exports, the Commerce Department approved $75 million of shotgun exports, and the Department of Defense gave away 50,000 assault rifles and over 10,000 grenade launchers---it is reasonable to speculate that America dominates the market (as it does the market for larger weapons systems).

In the 1990s, America's threat perceptions have shifted dramatically. No longer facing a global nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union and its allies, civil and regional wars (and the chaos they spawn), drug trafficking, international terrorism, and other forms of transnational crime are now considered among the most serious threats. The administration has identified a link between the illegal traffic in arms and several of these threats, but it has yet to acknowledge the link between massive legal U.S. light arms exports and the illegal traffic. Other governments understand this connection, and they have been pressing the United States to be more restrictive and careful in its supply. Initiatives like the recently-concluded OAS treaty, when ratified and fully implemented, should help curb illicit gun-running, but there is more that the Clinton administration could be doing to reinforce its stated goal of shutting down the grey market in arms.

Embargo light arms to repressive regimes. Several of the countries currently receiving large quantities of arms through surplus programs or buying weapons through commercial channels are engaged in conflict or have extremely poor human rights records. Bahrain, for instance, has received significant quantities of free machine guns, ammunition and grenade launchers in recent years. At the same time, government forces have fired live ammunition and tear gas into crowds of demonstrators demanding a restoration of the parliament, which the ruling family dissolved in 1975. In addition to some measure of representative democracy, protestors are demanding freedom of speech, the release of political prisoners, and the return of deported dissidents. Israel, the leading beneficiary of U.S. military and economic aid, used U.S.-supplied arms in its deadly 1996 assault in Lebanon, in which an ambulance and a U.N. refugee camp were apparently targeted as they were thought to be shielding Hezbollah guerrillas. Under surplus grant arms programs, Israel has received nearly 75,000 M16A1 rifles, 2,500 M204 grenade launchers, and large quantities of ammunition. Morocco, also a major recipient of U.S. surplus small arms, is governed by a highly repressive monarchy which has illegally occupied the Western Sahara for 20 years and long thwarted a negotiated peace process.

And, according to the State Department's 1996 human rights report, the Colombian police and armed forces were responsible for "widespread human rights abuse" in 1995, including political and extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture.(49) Colombia is a major recipient of grant surplus arms for counter-narcotics purposes.

Small arms---and assault rifles in particular---have long been the principal symbol of state repression, used by police, internal security forces and allied militias to crush opposition movements, eliminate dissidents and terrorize populations. The Christmas-time massacre in Chiapas of 45 unarmed civilians, carried out by government-affiliated paramilitary forces with high-powered AK-47 assault rifles is one of countless examples. In addition to being immoral, transfers of such tools to repressive governments likely encourage insurgent forces to seek countervailing arms through the black-market---the principal source of supply open to them.

The Clinton administration has, in at least two recent cases, announced a policy of barring sales of small arms to U.S. friends or allies on human rights grounds. In February 1994, the State Department announced that it would deny licenses for the transfer of small or light arms and lethal crowd control items to Indonesia. Later that same year, Congress passed law codifying this ban until certain human rights conditions are met. The ban is still in place.

According to a July 1997 State Department report to Congress on Turkey's use of U.S. supplied weapons, "U.S. policy is to restrict the sale of arms that clearly could be used to repress a civilian population, such as small arms and violent crowd-control devices."(50) But the report goes on to note that Turkey now produces the majority of its own pistols, rifles and hand-held automatic weapons. And Turkey's paramilitary Jandarama and the Turkish National Police---the forces most prominently cited in the commission of gross human rights abuses in Turkey---have purchased M16 and AR-15S assault rifles and M203 grenade launchers through State Department-licensed commercial sales. According to the State Department report, "In July 1995, in Tunceli province, following the death of several of their comrades, members of these special teams went on a rampage, indiscriminately firing on shops and residential buildings and attacking individuals at random."(51) The State Department said that no resources are available generally to monitor the end-use of U.S. supplied weapons in Turkey, to ensure that they are not being used in the commission of gross abuses, but "mission personnel have seen some of this equipment, which is still in service."

A comprehensive ban on small arms exports---those overseen by the Departments of Commerce, State, Defense and intelligence agencies---should be implemented on all repressive forces, as identified by the State Department in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights.

Provide more transparency. As evidenced by this paper, there is an increasingly high level of transparency around U.S. small and light arms exports. And yet, compiling this information from the various sources is time-consuming and difficult. Moreover, some key information is still withheld from the public. In particular, the section 655 report should include information on which State Department-licensed arms are actually shipped abroad, in addition to listing out those items licensed for export. The State Department needs this information in a computerized and searchable form in order to facilitate and improve end-use verification of weapons exports it is authorizing. In addition, increased transparency would allow the non-governmental community, as well as Congressional staff, to play an important role in aiding the administration's efforts to curb the illicit arms traffic by providing oversight through research and questioning of discrepancies in the data. This information is also important to aid and relief workers, who might be working in a region where a sudden influx of guns has occurred. Transparency around such shipments could prove to be an early warning indicator of pending violence and instability. On a more positive note, increased openness about weapons shipments could serve as a confidence-building measure among forces within a state, or states in a region, potentially heading off some purchases spurred on by "fear of the unknown." Finally, the U.S. government and/or non-governmental groups could use the example of relative openness by the U.S. government in terms of its small/light arms exports to press for similar levels of transparency by other small arms exporters.

Controlling the domestic gun market is vital to U.S. national security. Given that drug-traffickers and terrorists have been identified as a major post-cold war threat, the United States must do more to prevent such criminals from obtaining lethal firepower in America. The "Brady Bill" (requiring a five-day waiting period and criminal check prior to gun sales) and the ban on sales of assault rifles have complicated business for gun-runners. Also needed is a national law limiting customers to one gun purchase per month. Such a measure would, according to BATF findings, help curb the multiple-gun straw purchases that often end up on the black market.

Take the issue seriously. Finally, a policy of reflexive approval of large shipments of light arms to security forces and private actors in friendly states around the world should give way to a new, more restrictive norm. In short, in light of the increased security threat posed by the illicit traffic in arms (as stated by the administration), the issue of light arms proliferation in general should be viewed more seriously. As part of this recognition, there is perhaps a need for the administration to press Congress for increased resources for Customs and Commerce Department special investigations and routine inspections. In addition, rather than relegating light arms to the back burner as is currently the case at the Commerce Department, or removing them from end-use coverage entirely, as is under consideration by the State Department, these agencies need to undertake more frequent "end-use" inspections of small/light arms shipments to ensure that legal transfers are not being diverted into the black market..


Appendix 1: Select Pentagon Small Arms Exports, 1980-93
Pistols/revolvers Rifles/shotguns Submachine guns Grenade launchers
Antigua 2
Australia 30
Bahrain 6,473 350
Belgium 2
Belize 24 500
Bolivia 745 1,847 180
Canada 8
Chad 8,503 657
Colombia 3,232 1,921 396
Costa Rica 1,130 4,750 140
Dominica 19
Dominican Republic 1,600 3,812 701
Ecuador 148 2,371 200
Egypt 335
El Salvador 1,900 52,389 3,864
Fiji 57 1,108 103
Greece 50
Grenada 32 94 10
Honduras 1,116 13,116 681
Italy 2
Japan 672 96
Jordan 500 305
Kuwait 4,229 1,078 166
Lebanon 38,000 22
Liberia 400 25
Malawi 1,500 150
Mexico 5,000
Morocco 64 1
Niger 500 10
Oman 1,022
Panama 8,695 57
Papua New Guinea 300
Peru 30 734 95
Phillippines 14,344 1,857
Portugal 35
St. Kitts 29
St. Lucia 22
St. Vincent 29 39
Saudi Arabia 880 218
Senegal 1,715 74
Somalia 4,800 150
Spain 11
Sudan 5
Taiwan 571
Thailand 6,064 21,139 937
Tunisia 477 5
Zaire 1,000
TOTALS 49,596 170,345 976 12,036

Pistols & revolvers includes: M1911 (45 Cal), M1911A1 (45 Cal), SWK22 Master (38 Cal), 4IN BBL SW (38 Cal), 2IN BBL SP (38 Cal), M9 (9mm)

Rifles & shotguns includes: M16A1Mod653 (5.56mm), M14A1 (7.62mm), M16A1 (5.56mm), M14 (7.62mm), M1D Sniper (30 cal), M14 MM NM GR (7.62mm), M16A2 (5.56mm), 12 Gauge RT 201N BBL, 12 Gauge M500 MOSSB; Submachine guns includes: M3A1 (45 Cal), M231 (5.56mm)

Grenade launchers includes: M203 (40mm), M79 (40mm), M75 M5 SS, M239 Smoke Grenade, M243 Smoke Grenade, M239, M257, M259 Smoke Grenade

Source: Defense Security Assistance Agency, 14 September 1994


Appendix 2: Surplus Light Arms and Ammunition Exports, 1991-97
Item
Recipient
Year Quantity/

Rounds

Transfer Method/ Cost

.38 caliber pistol Argentina 1996 1000 EDA (free)
Bahrain 1995 2,000 EDA (free)
Costa Rica 1995 1,000 EDA sale ($26,000)
Greece 1995 236 EDA (free)
Guyana 1995 30 EDA sale ($814)
Morocco 1995 1,298 EDA (free)
M1911 .45 caliber pistol Chile 1994 1,500 EDA sale ($17,610)
Greece 1995 275 EDA (free)
Philippines 1995 16,448 EDA sale ($193,099)
M8 pistol Greece 1995 3,000 EDA (free)
shotgun Germany 1996 7 EDA sale ($2,263)
L86A1 5.56mm machine gun U.K. 1996 32 EDA sale ($7,766)
M21 sniper rifle Greece 1995 9 EDA (free)
SA 80 rifle U.K. 1996 491 EDA ($85,876)
M14 rifle Belize 1995 15 EDA sale ($828)
Chile 1995 12 EDA sale ($662)
Estonia 1998 40,500 EDA (free)
Latvia 1996 10,000 EDA (free)
Lithuania 1998 40,000 EDA (free)
Philippines 1995 3,638 EDA sale ($200,817)
Taiwan 1995 30,450 EDA sale ($1,680,840)
Turkey 1995 200 EDA (free)
M16A1 rifle Belize 1995 200 EDA sale ($45,428)
Bosnia 1996 46,100 Drawdown (free)
Egypt 1995 10,000 EDA (free)
Guyana 1995 30 EDA sale ($2,673)
Israel 1995 64,744 EDA (free)
1997 10,000 EDA (free)
Lithuania 1997 200 EDA (free)
Philippines 1995 22,500 EDA sale ($2 M)
Uruguay 1995 4,562 EDA sale ($660,526)
M1 carbine Mexico 1991 48,178 EDA (free)
M1200 carbine Greece 1995 102 EDA (free)
M3A1 submachine gun Greece 1996 2,221 EDA (free)
Morocco 1995 300 EDA (free)
M60 machine gun Bosnia 1996 1,000 Drawdown (free)
Jordan 1996 40 Drawdown (free)
M85 machine gun Bahrain 1997 65 EDA (free)
Bosnia 1996 45 Drawdown (free)
Egypt 1996 4 EDA (free)
Jordan 1996 50 Drawdown (free)
Morocco 1996 300 EDA (free)
1997 849 EDA (free)
Oman 1996 100 EDA (free)
Spain 1996 300 EDA sale ($782,400)
Turkey 1996 30 EDA (free)
M240 machine gun Bosnia 1996 45 Drawdown (free)
Jordan 1996 50 Drawdown (free)
Morocco 1996 120 EDA/FMS
M-79 grenade launcher Bahrain 1995 15 EDA (free)
Egypt 1995 5,000 EDA (free)
Greece 1995 2,500 EDA (free)
M-203 grenade launcher Bahrain 1995 102 EDA (free)
Jordan 1995 200 EDA (free)
M-204 grenade launcher Israel 1995 2,469 EDA (free)
M-239 grenade launcher Bahrain 1997 65 EDA (free)
Morocco 1996 120 EDA (free)
Oman 1996 100 EDA (free)
hand grenade Germany 1996 55,664 EDA sale ($531,591)
hand grenade, red smoke Jordan 1996 12,700 EDA (free)
Mexico 1997 1075 EDA (free)
Morocco 1997 1000 EDA (free)
7.62mm grenade cartridge Jordan 1996 1,060,000 EDA (free)
Morocco 1997 100,000 EDA (free)
40mm grenade Jordan 1995 37,000 EDA (free)
Turkey 1995 37,000 EDA (free)
.22 caliber tracer ammunition Jordan 1996 4,000,000 EDA (free)
.30 caliber ammunition Honduras 1992 9,060 EDA sale ($7,030)
Israel 1994 2,000 EDA (free)
.45 caliber ball cartridge Jordan 1995 12,000 EDA (free)
.50 caliber ammunition Bahrain 1996 2,601,000 EDA (free)
Bosnia 1996 285,110 Drawdown (free)
Egypt 1996 5,000,000 EDA (free)
Israel 1997 1,000,000 EDA (free)
Jordan 1996 8,281,300 EDA (free)
Morocco 1996 202,230 EDA (free)
1997 1,193,350 EDA (free)
.50 cal. tracer ammunition Bahrain 1996 10,000 EDA (free)
Jordan 1996 46,052 EDA (free)
Morocco 1997 36,000 EDA (free)
.50 cal blank ammunition Morocco 1997 137,762 EDA (free
5.56mm tracer ammo Estonia 1998 380,000 EDA (free)
Israel 1997 11,898,000 EDA (free)
M16 ammunition (5.56mm) Bosnia 1996 17,000,000 Drawdown (free)
M60 ammunition (7.62mm) Bosnia 1996 2,000,000 Drawdown (free)
7.62mm ball ammunition Estonia 1998 1,328,300 EDA (free)
Lithuania 1998 1,500,000 EDA (free)
7.62mm blank ammunition Estonia 1998 1,000,000 EDA (free)
Lithuania 1998 500,000 EDA (free)
7.62mm tracer ammunition Estonia 1998 81,219 EDA (free)
7.62mmX51 cartridge Germany 1996 7,700,000 EDA ($2,041,340)

Note: In some cases, data in this appendix is based on the Pentagon's notifications to Congress of intended transfers, rather than actual deliveries, since delivery data was not available for several years. When possible, we relied on actual deliveries. This appendix is not complete; transfers of the categories of equipment covered here which were made under emergency drawdown authority are, for the most part, not included. Sources: Defense Security Assistance Agency, House International Relations Committee, Excess Defense Articles Bulletin Board


Appendix 3: Foreign Military Sales and Grants of World War 2-era Surplus Arms, 1950-96
Recipient M1911 pistols M1 Carbines M1 Garand rifles Totals by Recipient
Bolivia 1,213 9,033 4,034 14,280
Cambodia 16,439 31,207 23,009 70,655
Chile 1,510 266 1,181 2,957
Colombia 221 957 1,178
Costa Rica 1,026 6,000 7,026
Dominican Rep. 1,500 1,500
Ecuador 30 30 60
El Salvador 916 786 1,702
Ethiopia 2,287 2,086 4,373
Fiji 57 57
Greece 10,834 32,002 5,607 48,443
Guatemala 1,141 5,000 8,549 14,690
Honduras 1,677 5,150 1,369 8,196
Indonesia 1,429 24,418 25,847
Iran 27,914 32 27,946
Italy 100,000 100,000
Japan 1,168 1,168
Jordan 18,827 18,827
Laos 2,968 1,245 13,160 17,373
Lebanon 100 5,000 5,100
Liberia 5,087 767 3,850 9,704
Morocco 1,130 1,130
Nigeria 100 100
Pakistan 13 118,627 118,640
Panama 409 79 30 518
Paraguay 138 30,749 30,887
Peru 10 10
Philippines 27,632 15 32,705 60,352
St. Kitts 22 22
St. Lucia 22 22
St. Vincent/ Grenada 54 54
Saudi Arabia 5,000 5,000
South Korea 12,811 999,641 299,061 1,311,513
Taiwan 743 2,398 1,309 4,450
Thailand 11,041 15,066 8,854 34,961
Tunisia 92 160 6,636 6,888
Turkey 48,546 136,670 185,216
United Nations 5,000 5,000
Uruguay 1,552 7,424 7,422 16,398
Vietnam 88,925 127,891 102,641 319,457
Totals by Gun 278,370 1,245,761 957,569 2,481,700

Note: Some of the surplus gun exports listed in Appendix 2 may be duplicated here. Source: Data provided by the State Department to the Office of Senator Frank Lautenberg, 26 September 1996


Appendix 4: Shotgun Exports Licensed by Commerce Dept., 1991-93

Recipient no./value of licenses for commodity OA84C Recipient no./value of licenses for commodity OA84C
Albania 2/ $1,240 Lebanon 2/ $11,518
Algeria 2/ $370 Liechtenstein 1/ $5,250
Andorra 7/ $704,552 Lithuania 7/ $453,593
Argentina 104/ $10,041,640 Macao 4/ $3,220
Australia 5/ $91,408 Malaysia 16/ $150,519
Austria 78/ $3,996,467 Malta 1/ $1,778
Bahamas 3/ $9,978 Mexico 34/ $3,157,455
Bangladesh 6/ $15,704 Montserrat 1/ $1,710
Barbados 8/ $13,224 Mozambique 1/ $2,435
Belgium 4/ $1,312,394 Nepal 2/ $579
Belize 8/ $18,824 The Netherlands 1/ $3,232
Bermuda 1/ $3,112 Neth. Antilles 8/ $35,228
Bolivia 25/ $1,084,933 New Caledonia 11/ $30,021
Botswana 3/ $7,255 Nicaragua 14/ $591,478
Brazil 48/ $252,334 Nigeria 6/ $89,625
Bulgaria 10/ $566,428 Norway 7/ $76,967
Chile 40/ $1,208,813 Oman 1/ $467
China 1/ $32,250 Pakistan 37/ $7,069,539
Colombia 18/ $949,543 Panama 58/ $1,566,633
Costa Rica 27/ $488,122 Papua New Guinea 10/ $64,417
Cyprus 4/ $18,749 Paraguay 57/ $2,875,177
Czech Republic 7/ $68,025 Peru 27/ $2,300,885
Dominica 5/ $40,489 Philippines 41/ $3,865,650
Dom. Republic 90/ $1,070,584 Poland 7/ $550,404
Ecuador 63/ $1,111,575 Qatar 4/ $167,875
Egypt 4/ $8,041 Romania 6/ $130,128
El Salvador 66/ $707,171 Russia 39/ $7,349,121
Estonia 7/ $1,704,997 Rwanda 1/ $404
Finland 52/ $2,895,730 Saudi Arabia 14/ $5,478,476
France 4/ $88,237 Singapore 25/ $433,443
French Guiana 2/ $120,000 Slovakia 1/ $270,000
The Gambia 2/ $2,100 Slovenia 1/ $125,000
Georgia 1/ $210,500 South Africa 7/ $837,991
Germany 3/ $42,925 Spain 1/ $18,379
Ghana 12/ $1,174,602 Surinam 7/ $32,589
Grenada 1/ $726 Sweden 77/ $9,419,883
Guatemala 55/ $2,531,484 Switzerland 93/ $4,441,647
Guinea 2/ $195,201 Taiwan 1/ $6,990
Guyana 9/ $9,750 Tanzania 2/ $2,005
Honduras 4/ $121,588 Thailand 135/ $6,134,985
Hong Kong 49/ $1,265,271 Trinidad & Tobago 21/ $29,651
Hungary 12/ $1,159,371 Turkey 2/ $154,000
Iceland 1/ $540 UAE 14/ $531,261
Indonesia 4/ $36,201 Uganda 1/ $1,293
Iran 1/ $219 Ukraine 5/ $2,253,875
Ireland 15/ $214,821 United Kingdom 5/ $50,387
Israel 41/ $3,689,794 Uruguay 48/ $1,449,694
Italy 2/ $105,500 Venezuela 220/ $9,691,215
Jamaica 11/ $110,151 Zambia 1/ $3,668
Jordan 9/ $329,300 Zimbabwe 8/ $20,988
Kenya 1/ $2,988 TOTALS 2083/ $117,270,285
Korea (South) 10/ $592,982
Kuwait 13/ $767,114
Kazakhstan 24/ $3,831,270
Latvia 2/ $304,082

Source: Department of Commerce, 21 April 1995

1 This export commodity category includes shotguns, stun guns, shock batons, shotgun shells (buckshot), shotgun components (barrels, scopes, sights, etc.).


1. U.N. General Assembly document A/52/298

2. U.N. Economic and Social Council document E/CN.15/1997/4.

3. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, "International Traffic in Arms Annual Report for FY 93."

4. See section 3. This provision technically refers only to government-negotiated arms transfers, but the State Department has interpreted it to apply to commercially-negotiated sales, as well. The law will likely be modified soon to make this coverage explicit.

5. See section 40(h), which references covert arms supply operations authorized under title V of the National Security Act. Section 505 of that act requires the administration to notify Congressional intelligence oversight committees of clandestine arms exports valued at $1 million or more.

6. As of January 1998, the governments of Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), and Zaire (now called Democratic Republic of the Congo) are unable to import munitions from the United States, as is UNITA in Angola. See the State Department's embargo reference chart, http://www.pmdtc.org/country.html Not all of these destinations are prohibited from importing police equipment, including shotguns, licensed by the Commerce Department.

7. Technically this law lapsed in 1994, but it continues to be implemented under emergency powers of the President. Congress will likely rewrite and reinstate the law soon.

8. Both the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act, as most recently amended, are published annually by the Congressional foreign relations committees. The joint committee print, entitled Legislation on Foreign Relations, is available for purchase from the Government Printing Office.

9. Fifteen days pre-notification is required for NATO allies and "major non-NATO allies," such as Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. For all other countries, Congress has 30 days to review proposed sales.

10. The Federal Register is on-line through the Government Printing Office homepage at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html

11. Defense Security Assistance Agency, 19 September 1994.

12. Office of the Asst. Secretary of Defense, 8 November 1996. Some of the deliveries reported here were sales or grants of Excess Defense Articles, and are reported in greater detail in Appendix 2.

13. U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense, "Foreign Military Assistance Act Report to Congress, Fiscal Year 1996," September 1997.

14. The White House, "End-Use Monitoring of Defense Articles, Defense Services and Related Technology," 18 August 1997. This report is required annually by section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act, which Congress added in 1996 because of concerns about inadequate end-use monitoring of government-negotiated arms exports.

15. Craig Etcheson, "Punish Thai Military Over Khmer Rouge Aid," The Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly, 27 June 1994; "Wimon Promises 'Stricter Controls,'" The Nation (Bangkok), 10 December 1993.

16. Philip Shenon, "Cambodia Arms Flow Back to Thailand," New York Times, 7 March 1993.

17. 17The EDA bulletin board can be reached by dialing up 703/604-6469 on a computer modem. The telephone number, for assistance, is 703/604-6591.

18. See section 506 of the Foreign Assistance Act.

19. 19The White House, "End-Use Monitoring of Defense Articles...," 18 August 1997, p. 2.

20. 20U.S. Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, "End-Use Monitoring Report," February 1997, p. 12.

21. 21The Commerce and State Departments cite section 12(c) of the Export Administration Act as blocking the release of information on sales they are licensing, even for items long ago shipped abroad. This section of law states that "information obtained for the purpose of consideration of, or concerning, license applications...shall be withheld from public disclosure unless the release of such information is determined by the Secretary to be in the national interest." The provision presumably is intended to safeguard sensitive business information about deals in the works, but why the information would remain proprietary after the sale has been won and the commodities have been shipped is not clear.

22. U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense, "Foreign Military Assistance Act Report to Congress, Fiscal Year 1996," September 1997.

23. 23A request under the Freedom of Information Act in 1994 for information on small arms exports licensed by the State Department during 1980-93 yielded nothing. The State Department claimed that section 12(c) specifically exempted the information from disclosure.

24. U.S. Department of State, Defense Trade News, Vol. 5, No. 3 (July and October 1994), p. 6.

25. U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, A Review of Arms Export Licensing, Senate Hearing 103-670, p. 37.

26. U.S. Department of State, Defense Trade News, Vol. 5, No. 3 (July and October 1994), pp. 6, 13.

27. See section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act.

28. The White House, "End-Use Monitoring of Defense Articles, Defense Services, and Related Technology," 18 August 1997.

29. Ibid., p. 5.

30. A Blue Lantern check found a false order for firearms by the national police in Paraguay. The fraudulent documents misspelled the name of the chief of police and provided an identification number which referred to a traffic accident, rather than a purchase order. U.S. Department of State, Congressional Presentation Document for Foreign Operations for Fiscal Year 1999, p. 1160.

31. U.S. Department of State, Office of Audits, Memorandum Report 6-CI-023, "Review of Department of State Export Controls and Watchlist Process," September 1996, p. 6.

32. Ibid., p. 7.

33. U.S. Department of State, Office of Audits, Memorandum Report 6-CI-023, "Review of Department of State Export Controls and Watchlist Process," September 1996.

34. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Export Administration, Export Administration Annual Report 1995 and 1996 Report on Foreign Policy Controls, March 1996, p. III-8.

35. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Export Administration, Export Administration Annual Report 1996, January 1997 (manuscript copy), p. III-9.

36. Ibid., p. III-7

37. Ibid., pp. II-95-111.

38. Chris Smith, "Light Weapons and Ethnic Conflict in South Asia," Lethal Commerce, Jeffrey Boutwell et al., eds. (Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1995), pp. 62-4.

39. Lucy Mathiak, "Light Weapons and Internal Conflict in Angola," Lethal Commerce, pp. 81-97; John Stockwell, In Search of Enemies (New York: W.W. Norton, 1978) pp. 265-8.

40. Tim Wiener, "CIA Drafts Covert Plan to Topple Saddam," New York Times, 26 February 1998.

41. The M2 is a World War-2 era rifle, identical to the M1 used by the Mexican police, except that it has a small selector switch that converts it into a fully automatic weapon.

42. Valerie Alvord, "Illegal Weapons Were Well-Traveled," San Diego Union Tribune, 21 March 1997.

43. San Diego Union Tribune, 14 March 1997.

44. Anne-Marie O'Connor and Jeff Leeds, "U.S. Agents Seize Smuggled Arms," Los Angeles Times, 17 March 1997. A recent Congressional hearing focused on the adequacy of the Customs Department's $2.1 billion budget, noted that Customs has just 167 people in its investigative unit in Los Angeles, less than half the number in each the New York and Florida branches. Jeff Leeds, "Customs Staffing Disparity Seen to Favor East," Washington Post, 20 October 1997.

45. U.S. Department of Justice, Export Control Enforcement Unit, "Significant Export Control Cases," 5 September 1997.

46. As of July 1997, there were 108,591 federally-licensed firearms dealers in the United States. Of these, 1,860 were in Arizona; 7,138 in California; 955 in New Mexico; and 7,922 in Texas. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, most of the U.S.-origin firearms traced to crimes in Mexico during 1994-97 came from Houston, Tuscon, Phoenix, El Paso and Dallas.

47. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Firearms Division, International Traffic in Arms, Report to Congress (1991), p. 132.

48. U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), Small Arms Parts: Poor Controls Invite Widespread Theft, Report GAO/NSIAD-94-21.

49. U.S. Department of State, "Colombia," Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1995.

50. According to the report, "The U.S. has not sold violent crowd-control devices to Turkey in several years. Arms sales are reviewed on a case by case basis." U.S. Department of State, "U.S. Military Equipment and Human Rights Violations," submitted to Congress on 1 July 1997, p. 3.

51. Ibid, pp. 6.


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