Skip to comments.United Nation Office for Disarmament Affairs: Small Arms - (Marking, Tracing, Ownership)
Posted on 07/26/2012 9:41:00 AM PDT by xzins
Insurgents, armed gang members, pirates, terrorists - they can all multiply their force through the use of unlawfully acquired firepower. The illicit circulation of small arms, light weapons and their ammunition destabilizes communities, and impacts security and development in all regions of the world.
Programme of Action Implementation Support System: PoA-ISS
UN Meetings on small arms
Secretary-General's report on small arms (2011)
Secretary-General's report on small arms (2008)
The illicit trade in small arms, light weapons and ammunition wreaks havoc everywhere. Mobs terrorizing a neighbourhood. Rebels attacking civilians or peacekeepers. Drug lords randomly killing law enforcers or anyone else interfering with their illegal businesses. Bandits hijacking humanitarian aid convoys. In all continents, uncontrolled small arms form a persisting problem.
Small arms are cheap, light, and easy to handle, transport and conceal. A build-up of small arms alone may not create the conflicts in which they are used, but their excessive accumulation and wide availability aggravates the tension. The violence becomes more lethal and lasts longer, and a sense of insecurity grows, which in turn lead to a greater demand for weapons.
Most present-day conflicts are fought mainly with small arms, which are broadly used in inter-State conflict. They are the weapons of choice in civil wars and for terrorism, organized crime and gang warfare.
Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and collecting them
Observer status for the Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States in the General Assembly
Addressing the negative humanitarian and development impact of the illicit manufacture, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons and their excessive accumulation
Promotion at the regional level in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe of the United Nations programme of action on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects
The majority of conflict deaths are caused by the use of small arms, and civilian populations bear the brunt of armed conflict more than ever. Also, small arms are the dominant tools of criminal violence. The rate of firearms-related homicides in post-conflict societies often outnumbers battlefield deaths. These weapons are also linked to the increasing number of killings of UN employees and peacekeepers, as well as workers from humanitarian and non-governmental organizations.
Small arms facilitate a vast spectrum of human rights violations, including killing, maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, torture, and forced recruitment of children by armed groups. More human rights abuses are committed with small arms than with any other weapon. Furthermore, where the use of armed violence becomes a means for resolving grievances and conflicts, legal and peaceful dispute resolution suffers and the rule of law cannot be upheld.
Contemporary armed conflict is the main cause of people fleeing their homes, and is now the most common cause of food insecurity. Armed violence can aggravate poverty, inhibit access to social services and divert energy and resources away from efforts to improve human development. Countries plagued by armed violence are behind in attaining the Millennium Development Goals. High levels of armed violence impede economic growth. According to the World Bank, nothing undermines investment climates as much as armed insecurity.
Reliable data sets on small arms can only be built if countries provide information on production, holdings, trade, legislation and use. But of all transparency measures on weapons systems, those on small arms are the least developed. According to the Small Arms Survey, "more is known about the number of nuclear warheads, stocks of chemical weapons and transfers of major conventional weapons than about small arms".
There are no accurate figures for the number of small arms and light weapons currently in circulation globally. Sources estimate the total to be at least 875 million. The majority of small arms - generally the only category of weapons not falling under Government monopoly of possession and use - are in private hands.
Sources of small arms supplies to areas of crisis and conflict are varied. Domestically, small arms can enter illicit circulation through distribution, theft, leakage, divergence, pilferage or resale. Shipments of small arms to conflict zones from abroad are most often small-scale consignments - a steady trickle of weapons across porous borders. The cumulative destabilizing force of such small-scale trade is not to be underestimated, particularly in unstable regions where small arms are traded from one conflict to another.
Governments have a responsibility to ensure public safety and they have an interest in providing human security and development to their citizens. So they should ensure that small arms from Government stocks or from private ownership are not misused and do not enter illicit circuits, where their use may contribute to instability and to exacerbating poverty.
To attain those goals, within the UN, countries have agreed on several commitments on small arms control: the Firearms Protocol, the Programme of Action on small arms - including an Instrument on marking and tracing - and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
The topic of small arms comes up in other discussions as well. Countries are giving separate attention to closely related issues, such as armed violence, child soldiers, the protection of civilians in armed conflict, ammunition, the arms trade treaty and the UN register of conventional arms.
The small arms industry appears to be fragmenting, bringing manufacturers closer to potential markets. More than 1,000 companies in about 100 countries are involved in some aspect of small arms production, with significant producers in around 30 countries. Conservative estimates mention 7.5 to 8 million small arms being produced per year.
Licensed production is now a common feature worldwide, sometimes leaving questions as to where responsibility lies with regard to the export of production techniques. Craft production, carried out in private workshops, is practiced in some regions and remains largely outside of control systems.
If national law enforcement officials were able to trace small arms back to their last legitimate owner, who might then be held accountable, this would form an effective measure against illicit trade and diversion. For that purpose, it is essential that the weapon be marked upon production and import, and that appropriate records be kept. Existing stocks should also be marked. Although many weapons are marked upon production and import, international cooperation in marking and tracing of small arms is in its infancy.
The vast majority of small arms are sold and transferred legally, but global patterns of supply of small arms and light weapons have changed profoundly over the past few decades. This has complicated controls. In the past, arms markets were relatively easy to survey, with far fewer supply outlets and less intermediate activity. Typically, closing a deal and delivering the goods were done by State authorities or Government agents. The use of private intermediaries has become common practice. These actors now routinely arrange transactions for defence industries, armed forces, law enforcement agencies and suppliers to Government as well as private entities, operating in a particularly globalized environment and often from multiple locations.
Contemporary traders, agents, brokers, shippers and financiers may well combine activities, making it difficult at times to distinguish small arms trade from brokering. Governments must assure that the shipments handled through these often complex networks are regulated according to the rule of law.
Investigations of arms embargo violations by the monitoring groups of the Security Council have exposed some international networks involved in the illicit trade and brokering of small arms. These brokers and dealers exploit legal loopholes, evade customs and airport controls and falsify documents such as passports, end-user certificates, cargo papers and flight schedules. Illicit activities by certain brokers and traders - and by the Government officials they collude with - have violated every UN arms embargo, with small arms and ammunition as the main items transferred.
A recurring problem concerning the proliferation of small arms, in particular in zones of crisis and conflict, is the absence of a normative framework for all States to guide decisions regarding arms transfers.
Information on global ammunition flows is difficult to obtain. More than 80 per cent of ammunition trade seems to remain outside of reliable export data. However, ammunition forms a key component of tackling the small arms topic in all its aspects. In contexts of sustained use, ammunition stockpiles are rapidly depleted. Preventing their resupply in unlawful situations should be a matter of prime concern. Furthermore, these stockpiles present a two-fold problem of security and safety - research shows that much of the non-State actors' ammunition are illicitly diverted from State security forces, and ammunition warehouses located in densely populated areas have exploded in a number of countries, causing thousands of casualties. Therefore, security as well as safety measures with regard to ammunition stockpiles need to be urgently addressed.
Stockpile management and control is one of the most acute small arms problems. "Leaking" Government stockpiles are prominent sources of illegal small arms in circulation. Generally, surplus and obsolete weapons are better destroyed than stored. In post conflict settings, the immediate destruction of surplus weapons and ammunition removes possible fuel for new instability.
The results of collection and destruction programmes are mixed. Often, projects have had only marginal impact on security, presumably because it is typically the obsolete weapons that are destroyed, and because affected communities do not always participate in the design and implementation of collection programmes. Also, disarmament programmes tend to focus on weapons rather than ammunition. Most importantly, for weapons collection programmes to have a lasting effect, they must be embedded in robust efforts linked to violence reduction, reconciliation, security sector reform and peacebuilding.
Especially see below where it says: "may need to be regulated"
The IPU has permanent observer status at the United Nations:
THE ROLE OF PARLIAMENTS IN STRENGTHENING CONTROL OF TRAFFICKING IN SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS AND THEIR AMMUNITION
Resolution adopted by consensus* by the 114th Assembly (Nairobi, 12 May 2006)
The 114th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,
Deeply concerned by the tremendous human suffering, especially for women and children, who are the most vulnerable in armed conflicts, associated with the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW),
Stressing that, by definition, SALW include all arms that can be used by one person alone and all associated ammunition, including grenades, rockets, missiles, mortar shells and man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS), and that landmines can be considered as having similar effects,
Recalling that items such as daggers, machetes, clubs, spears, and bows and arrows are also frequently used in armed conflicts and criminal acts, and that, although they do not fall under the SALW category, their use may need to be regulated,
I truly am surprised the bic pen is not on the list. We inflicted serious damage with them when in junior high school
In the IPU paper they had serious heartburn figuring out whether to classify knives that are part of ceremonial dress as small arms under the UN SALW definition.
That makes bic pens and forks...not to mention slingshots...a serious concern.
Get rid of the U.N, in THIS country and leave us the hell alone. Have you seen any major rebellions here due to private firearm ownership? I didn't think so.
Get the U.N, the hell out of our business and our country.
If the UN treaty goes through, I am perfectly willing to join any self-regulated army that will go to war with the United Nations.
I can't march very far, but I can shoot straight and I have communications and hacking skills to offer.
From my cold, dead fingers, Engineer.
Whatever else you think of insurgents in Iraq and Afghan, we have to admit they have wrought hell with small arms and ingenuity.
If I were bent on world, socialist conquest, I’d want to get rid of small arms, too.
If every capable American had at least one firearm, there is no tyrant who’d be safe and no army that wouldn’t have to pause at some point or let their guard down in some way.
One at a time.
If we ever get a conservative president, a conservative senate, and a conservative House, I’m going to shout long and loud for one of their initial acts being, getting us out of the UN.
Exactamundo. Was it Admiral Yakimura (Empire of Japan) who said, "a rifle behind every blade of grass"?
and I'll bring my own gear.
“Get the U.N, the hell out of our business and our country.”
Ain’t gonna happen. The folks that really run this country like the UN just fine, why, one of them donated the land the UN sits on.
Why didn’t we think of it before! The UN could ban trafficking in humans generally, young women exploited as sex slaves, drugs, endangered species parts, etc., and these evils will magically end. (U)tter (N)onsense.
It won’t be Blue Hats, but US police and military.
And it will be drones, at first.
They are also almost childishly easy to make from scratch using the most basic of machine tools. What are they gonna do....outlaw every lathe and mill in the world? Good luck with your world economy if you do that! Ooooh! Oooh! I know....how about killing or imprisoning everyone who has the knowledge of how to make guns using machine tools? Dang!....there goes that world economy again.
These people aren't just asshats. They're STUPID asshats.
Just get it over with. Ban all ‘humans’. I guess in a way, they are.
Without self-respect, freedom, one tends to die quicker.
You really think that the Police would start something they couldn’t finish? And would the military really start killing Americans on American soil? I hope I would be wrong to say no. But in this time and day who freaking really knows.
The make up of those soldiers might make a difference.
Something to consider...would a brigade or two of heavily armed "rainbow" warriors looking for payback for their perceived slights make you think twice about what "American" soldiers might or might not do?
Yes I do. 100%.
They will follow orders. That is what they are trained to do. Some will resist, but enough pressure will be brought on them they will follow in the end.
I know cops, personally and in my family, who said they will come to my house and take my guns if ordered to. Why? Because it is their job, and if I don’t like it vote for someone else.
To think otherwise is to be ignorant.
They are welcome to all my arms and ammo, ammo first.