Reducing the Demand for Small Arms and Light Weapons: Priorities for the international community

Tasneem Jamal

Ernie Regehr

Working Paper 04-2

This paper was presented at the roundtable, The demand aspects of small arms and light weapons, jointly sponsored by the Quaker United Nations Offices (QUNO) and the Canadian Mission at the UN, October 16, 2003.

Small arms and light weapons (SALW) claim an average of 10,000 lives each week. On the world’s three-dozen and more battlefields, on city streets, and in our homes, weapons from small handguns to automatic assault rifles have become de facto weapons of mass destruction.

There are no certain numbers available to document the volume of SALW now in circulation (the best estimates place the figure in excess of 600 million3), and certainly no numbers can record the true meaning of the private tragedies and public social and economic consequences that flow from the rampant spread and misuse of these weapons.

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