Small Arms Trade

Does the proliferation of small arms promote violence?

  • By:John Felton
  • Content Type: Report
  • Publisher: CQ Press
    • Publication year: 2012
    • Online pub date:
  • DOI:


From brutal civil wars in Africa to vicious drug-cartel rivalries in Mexico, violence around the world has one thing in common: vast quantities of hand-held weapons such as Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Nearly a billion small arms are scattered across the globe, about three-quarters of them in civilian hands. Many have been recycled from recent conflicts, such as last year's Libyan civil war; some have come from former Soviet Union stockpiles. While most are used for hunting, sport shooting and personal protection, millions end up in the hands of rebel groups, gangs and criminals. Some experts argue that the growing proliferation of small weapons can exacerbate a potentially violent situation, but others insist the mere presence of weapons does not necessarily promote ...

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