Small Arms Survey
The Small Arms Survey is an independent research project located at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. It provides information on all aspects of small arms and armed violence, as a resource for governments, policy-makers, researchers, and activists, as well as research on small arms issues.
The survey monitors national and international initiatives (governmental and non-governmental), and acts as a forum and clearinghouse for the sharing of information. It also disseminates best practice measures and initiatives dealing with small arms issues.
SAS's mandate is to look at all aspects of small arms and armed violence. It provides research and analysis by which to support governments to reduce the incidence of armed violence and illicit trafficking through evidence-based analysis.
The project's staff includes international experts in security studies, political science, law, international public policy, development studies, economics, conflict resolution, and sociology. The staff works closely with a worldwide network of researchers and partners.
The Small Arms Survey hosts the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development Secretariat. The Small Arms Survey's Human Security Baseline Assessment for Sudan and South Sudan project supports violence reduction initiatives, including disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programmes, incentive schemes for civilian arms collections and security sector reform, and arms control interventions across Sudan. The Security Assessment in North Africa project supports efforts to build a more secure environment in North Africa and the Sahel-Sahara region. The project produces evidence-based research and analysis on the availability and circulation of small arms, the dynamics of emerging armed groups, and related insecurity. The research stresses the effects of the recent uprisings and armed conflicts in the region on community safety.
In 2018, Small Arms Survey reported that there are over one billion small arms distributed globally, of which 857 million (about 85 percent) are in civilian hands. U.S. civilians alone account for 393 million (about 46 percent) of the worldwide total of civilian held firearms. This amounts to "120.5 firearms for every 100 residents."
According to the report, the world's armed forces control about 133 million (about 13 percent) of the global total of small arms, of which over 43 percent belonging to two countries: the Russian Federation (30.3 million) and China (27.5 million). And, the world's law enforcement agencies control about 23 million (about 2 percent) of the global total of small arms.
Global distribution of firearmsEdit
|Worldwide firearms holdings, 2017|
|Countries and territories||Estimate of civilian held firearms||Population 2017||Estimate of civilian held firearms per 100 persons||Estimate of military held firearms||Estimate of law enforcement held firearms|
|Total firearms = approximately 1,013,000,000||857,000,000||-||-||133,000,000||23,000,000|
|Antigua and Barbuda||5,000||94,000||5.4||438||800|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1,185,000||3,793,000||31.2||27,300||29,000|
|Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)||31,000||533,000||5.7||2,280||19,000|
|Central African Republic||94,000||5,099,000||1.8||8,580||10,000|
|China, Macao SAR||22,000||606,000||3.6||-||4,000|
|Congo, Republic of||119,000||4,866,000||2.4||12,000||11,000|
|Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||1,049,000||23,816,000||4.4||33,045||15,000|
|Cyprus, Rep. of||285,000||839,000||34.0||99,000||11,000|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||946,000||82,243,000||1.2||161,100||46,000|
|England and Wales||2,731,000||58,877,000||4.6||-||28,000|
|Falkland Islands (Malvinas)||2,000||3,000||62.1||-||30|
|Hong Kong SAR, China||265,000||7,402,000||3.6||-||28,000|
|Iran, Islamic Republic of||5,890,000||80,946,000||7.3||3,333,550||98,000|
|Korea, DPR (North)||76,000||25,405,000||0.3||8,363,100||76,000|
|Korea, Republic of (South)||79,000||50,705,000||0.2||2,688,020||115,000|
|Lao, People's Democratic Republic||215,000||7,038,000||3.0||224,690||21,000|
|Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of||621,000||2,083,000||29.8||29,530||21,000|
|Micronesia, Fed. Sts.||700||106,000||0.7||-||200|
|Moldova, Republic of||121,000||4,055,000||3.0||98,600||21,000|
|Northern Mariana Islands||1,000||56,000||2.6||-||80|
|Papua New Guinea||79,000||7,934,000||1.0||7,200||4,800|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||2,000||57,000||3.4||-||600|
|Saint Martin (France)||3,000||32,000||8.5||-||100|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||4,000||110,000||3.4||-||1,000|
|São Tomé and Principe||7,000||198,000||3.4||570||100|
|Sint Maarten (Netherlands)||2,000||40,000||4.2||-||300|
|Syrian Arab Republic||1,547,000||18,907,000||8.2||655,500||124,000|
|Taiwan (Republic of China)||10,000||23,405,000||0.0||2,022,150||76,000|
|Tanzania, United Republic of Africa||427,000||56,878,000||0.8||190,050||37,000|
|Timor-Leste (East Timor)||3,000||1,237,000||0.3||2,527||4,000|
|Trinidad and Tobago||43,000||1,369,000||3.2||7,695||9,000|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||1,000||35,000||3.3||-||100|
|United Arab Emirates||1,569,000||9,398,000||16.7||163,800||41,000|
Combined civilian, military and law enforcement numbers for (England and Wales), (Northern Ireland) & (Scotland).
|United States of America||393,347,000||326,474,000||120.5||4,535,380||1,016,000|
|Virgin Islands (U.K.)||300||31,000||0.8||-||500|
|Virgin Islands (U.S.)||18,000||107,000||16.6||-||300|
American gun ownershipEdit
American civilians own over 393 million guns. "Americans made up 4 percent of the world's population but owned about 46 percent of the entire global stock of 857 million civilian firearms." That is three times as many guns as the combined stockpile of the world's armed forces. American civilians own more guns "than those held by civilians in the other top 25 countries combined."
"American civilians own nearly 100 times as many firearms as the U.S. military and nearly 400 times as many as law enforcement." Americans bought more than 2 million guns in May 2018 alone. That is more than twice as many guns, as possessed by every law enforcement agency in the United States put together. In April and May 2018, Americans bought 4.7 million guns, which is more than all the firearms stockpiled by the United States military. In 2017, Americans bought 25.2 million guns, 2.5 million more guns than possessed by every law enforcement agency in the world put together. Between 2012 and 2017, Americans bought 135 million guns, that's 2 million more guns than the combined stockpile of all the world's armed forces.
The data offered by the Small Arms Survey has several times been denounced as misleading or incorrect. The best known case is the estimation of the number of firearms in Finland. The number was so high that nearly every Finnish family should have an illegal firearm at home (on top of all the legal ones) to be true. This number has since then kept popping up as the Small Arms Survey has not corrected it, despite the Finnish ministry of interior making a statement that the numbers are completely wrong.
Another recent example is the inclusion of the misguided Portu operation in their report "From Legal to Lethal: Converted Firearms in Europe". On page 48 they mention it as a seizure involving thousands of readily convertible deactivated firearms, from a militaria store Cantabrico Militaria. However this whole operation was a dismal failure, as there was never a question of an illegal operation, and the owners were a few months later released and cleared of the charges. It is alleged it was a "marketing operation" which had no legal basis and no other purpose but to support the changes to the European firearms directive also known as the "EU Gun Ban". As such this case should not be mentioned in their research as it had nothing to do with illegal trade of firearms or unlawful conversion.
The project's flagship publication is the Small Arms Survey, an annual review of global small arms issues such as production, stockpiles, brokering, legal and illicit arms transfers, the effects of small arms, and national, bilateral, and multilateral measures to deal with the problems associated with small arms. Published by Cambridge University Press, it is recognized as the principal international source of impartial and reliable information on all aspects of small arms. It is widely used by policy-makers, government officials and non-governmental organizations.
- The Small Arms Survey 2007, titled Guns in the City.
- The Small Arms Survey 2009, titled Shadows of War.
- The Small Arms Survey 2010, titled Gangs, Groups, and Guns.
- The Small Arms Survey 2011, titled States of Security.
- The Small Arms Survey 2012, titled Moving Targets
- The Small Arms Survey 2013, titled Everyday Dangers
- The Small Arms Survey 2014, titled Women and Guns.
- The Small Arms Survey 2015, titled Weapons and the World.
- The Small Arms Survey 2018, titled Small Arms Survey reveals: More than one billion firearms in the world.
- The Small Arms Survey 2018, titled Estimating Global Civilian Held Firearms Numbers.
- The Small Arms Survey 2018, titled Estimating Global Military Owned Firearms Numbers.
- The Small Arms Survey 2018, titled Estimating Global Law Enforcement Firearms Numbers.
In addition to its annual yearbook, the Small Arms Survey publishes a wide range of periodical research findings. These include a Book Series, Occasional Papers, Special Reports, Working Papers, and short Issue Briefs and Research Notes. These publications present substantial research findings on data, methodological, and conceptual issues related to small arms or detailed country and regional case studies. Most of these are published in hard copy and are also accessible on the project's web site.
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- *There are more guns than people in the United States, according to a new study of global firearm ownership...The Washington Post (June 2018)
- Report: Nearly 400 Million Civilian-Owned Guns in America...The Washington Free Beacon article (June 2018)
- Report says over 1 billion small arms in world, up from 2007...The New York Times (June 2018)
- *Civilians own 85% of world's 1bn firearms, survey reveals...The Guardian article (June 2018)
- *AMERICANS HAVE 40 PERCENT OF THE WORLD'S GUNS DESPITE BEING FOUR PERCENT OF POPULATION, REPORT SHOWS...Newsweek article (June 2018)
- *Report says over 1 billion small arms in world, up from 2007...The Star Tribune article (June 2018)
- *Report says over 1 billion small arms in world, up from 2007...The Associated Press article (June 2018)
- *Americans own nearly half world's guns in civilian hands: survey...Reuters article (June 2018)
- *U.S. is home to about half of the world's civilian-owned firearms, says report...New York Daily News article (June 2018)
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