It is estimated that there exists an arsenal of 639 million fire arms in the world. Half of which is in the hands of civilians and the rest under the responsibility of law enforcement. What this means is that there is one weapon for every 10 people. The illegal trade of small arms is common in many countries and regions affected by political instability.
These statistics more than alarming, are a sign that the we should not take this issue lightly mainly because it is one of the most sensitive issues in the international political and commercial agenda. Three months after the Marjory Stoneman’s massacre in Parkland, Florida, the shock still lingers while the issue of gun control is moved to the centerpiece.
Millions of people in the world participate in a movement led mostly by surviving students and young people to bolster gun control.
The United States is the biggest provider of guns in the world selling to more than one hundred countries. Ironically, their biggest buyers are Saudi Arabia, Israel, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
The international Institute for Peace in Stockholm (SIPRI) has statistics showing that more than 30 million people have been killed in armed conflicts around the globe after world war II. 26 million of which were victims of small fire arms.
This type of weapon is responsible for 4 out of every 5 victims, 90% of which have been civilians (women and children in particular). Every minute a person is killed somewhere in the world with a small fire arm.
This organization has unvailed that the export of conventional arms has increased more than 8 % over the last five years. More than half of this market is shared by the United States, Russia and China.
Since its invention in 1947, more than 47 million AK-47 have been manufactured. It has become the most commercialized light weapon fire arm in the world. It is used in 78 countries and manufactured in 14.
¿What are light fire arms?
The United Nations describes a light fire arm, those conventional weapons that can be shipped by either a person or a light vehicle and is considered as a small weapon for personal use such as a revolver or pistol, rifle or light machine gun. Also, some other weapons can be considered as light fire arms such as Heavy machine gun ,granade launchers and some portable canon and missiles.
Their low cost make it accessible to large number of people to be used in civil wars, ethnic conflicts and to arm many types of criminal organizations. This type of availability increases the insecurity of metropolitan areas.
There is much speculation and well intended actions over the regulations on this issue but most fall short of helping since most of the governments control the exports on large international organizations in the trade.
In November of 1995, The United States Assembly requested that a group be hired to prepare a report about this issue. The same was presented two years later and among the things it recommended, it suggested that an international conference be called hastily on the traffic of small arms, to destroy excess inventory of the same and to adopt regional moratories to be set by the individual countries depending on the size of the conflict they are involved in.
About 20 years ago, European countries signed an agreement to prevent and to fight the illicit traffic of conventional arms, the destabilization and proliferation of light weapons and small caliber guns.
In July 2001, the first United Nations conference on conventional armament adopted a plan of action by which there would be a yearly follow up committing all governments to avoid the proliferation of this type of weapons.
The Arms Trade Treaty is an initiative to improve the regulation of international commerce of conventional arms and to avoid the death of people as a consequence of unregulated commerce of these weapons.
Nevertheless, it is estimated that the illicit arms trade sums up more tan $400 million a year.
Uncertain control in USA
In the United States alone, more than 15.590 people fell victims to fire arms and this year the number is higher. As a direct consequence of what happened at Parkland, Governor Rick Scott took measures to stop bump stocks and raised the age limit from 18 to 21 to purchase a gun.
This measure was not well taken by the NRA ( National Rifle Association) which is one of the most powerful organizations in the United States and one that seeks to promote the arming of civilians. This organization which claims to have more tan 5 millions members was founded in 1871 and for more than one century it was just a group of fans who hunted and cared for weapons. But during the mid 1870’s they changed into a very powerful organization with great political influence that supported Republican candidates.
President Trump insisted on the idea of arming and training teachers on the use of fire arms and to turn schools into a sort of fortress as a measure of prevention. “ I don’t want one hundred guards with rifles at the schools but I want to give out permits to bear arms” suggested the politician. Nothing more out of place than to think that violence can be controlled by violence.
Contradictory, while the pro control movement continues to expand around the globe, donations to the NRA are on the rise which can be seen as an indication of the ignorance and double moral standards existing over the issue.
There are examples in some countries where out of control violence, has been dimished through non-violence measures such as education, mental health programs and the like. What is more, schools under the humanitarian and international legal right have become no violence zones and educators are agents of change, not security agents.
At the West Broward Post , we will follow on this issue and will promote non-violence in schools as free violence zones.