National gun laws

The majority of small arms are in the hands of private individuals - worldwide, around 60% of guns are possessed by civilians. There is a strong correlation between firearms ownership and gun death rates, especially for handgun ownership, as handguns are concealable and so commonly used in crime.

In 2006, the UN sub-commission on human rights endorsed principles to prevent human rights abuses by civilians with guns. Many countries regulate:

- types of weapons permitted. For example, prohibiting fully automatic weapons, or semiautomatic rifles. Given their use in crime, some countries also prohibit civilian possession of handguns.

- users of guns. Licensing the users of guns might involve requiring users to prove they have a genuine need of a firearm, also background checks to investigate whether the user is likely to be a risk to themselves or others.

- uses of guns. For example, prohibiting carrying or firing guns in a  public place.

Essential to enforcing the above regulations is firearm registration, linking every weapon to its last legal user and so identifying any point of diversion. This is part of a marking and tracing requirement.

Últimas noticias

The Turkish government has postponed the review of a draft law that would liberalise gun ownership.

IANSA women have contributed to the latest edition of P@x which focuses on ‘Violence and Small Arms: The Portuguese Case’ published by the Peace Studies Group (NEP/CES) at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. More

The Ghana section of the West Africa Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA-Ghana) presented its new 5-year Strategic Plan to the national media in Accra, Ghana on 9 December.

60 US arms dealers whose licences revoked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives since 2003 were able to stay in business.

The 6 December is the anniversary of the Montreal massacre, when a man armed with a semi-automatic military weapon shot and killed 14 women, and injured a further 13 people at L'École Polytechnique de Montréal, Canada.

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