Arms trafficking

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A tower of confiscated smuggled weapons about to be set ablaze in Nairobi, Kenya
Weaponry and Ammunition Found on Palestinian boat in the Dead Sea

Arms trafficking, also known as gunrunning, is the illegal trafficking or smuggling of contraband weapons or ammunition. What constitutes legal trade in firearms varies widely, depending on local and national laws.

The 1997 Report of the UN Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms provides a more refined and precise definition, which has become internationally accepted. This distinguishes between small arms (revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, submachine guns, assault rifles, and light machine guns), which are weapons designed for personal use, and light weapons (heavy machine guns, hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade launchers, portable anti-aircraft guns, portable anti-tanks guns, recoilless rifles, portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems, and mortars of calibres less than 100 mm), which are designed for use by several persons serving as a unit. Ammunition and explosives also form an integral part of small arms and light weapons used in conflict.[1]



Although arms trafficking is widespread in regions of political turmoil, it is not limited to such areas, and for example, in South Asia, an estimated 63 million guns have been trafficked into India and Pakistan.[2]

The suppression of gunrunning is one of the areas of increasing interest in the context of international law. Examples of past and current gunrunning include:

Within the United States, the term "iron pipeline" is sometimes used to describe Interstate Highway 95 and its connector highways as a corridor for arms trafficking into New York City.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12] Illicit arms trafficking from the United States into Mexico has sometimes been called an "iron river". [13][14][15]

Market value[edit]

The total value of the global arms market is estimated around $60 billion a year, with around $8 billion attributed to pistols, rifles, machine guns, and bullets.[16] The total illegal arms trade is harder to estimate, but the illicit small arms market has been estimated at 10-20% of the total global arms trade.[17]

Notable arms dealers[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greene, O. (2000). "Examining international responses to illicit arms trafficking" (PDF). Crime, Law & Social Change 33. 
  2. ^ region.
  3. ^ O'shaughnessy, Patrice. "BATTLING MERCHANTS OF DEATH ON CITY'S STREETS. In a deadly game of cat and mouse, cops hunt illegal guns coming from out of state". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  4. ^ MANDELL, MEREDITH; LLORENTE, ELIZABETH. "Smugglers flood N.J. with guns". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  5. ^ White, Lawrence. "The Iron Pipeline of Illegal Guns". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "NYC police make 'largest-ever gun bust'". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  7. ^ Taylor, Marisa. "Gun law loophole could have provided Brinsley’s murder weapon, say experts". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Feinblatt, John. "Death rides the Iron Pipeline". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Iron Pipeline Thrives". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Dys, Andrew. "Man pleads guilty in Rock Hill-to-New York City ‘Iron Pipeline’ case". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Klein, Allison. "In Study Of Gun Traffic, Va. Stands Out". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Aborn, Richard. "States must unite to put an end to illegal gun trafficking". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Whitney, Craig R., (December 2012), "Ruling Arms", World Policy Journal
  17. ^ Schroeder, Matt & Lamb, Guy (2006) "The Illicit Arms Trade in Africa", African Analyst

External links[edit]