What are small arms

Abdi Hussein
Clara Mohammad High School
First Main Committee
Illicit Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons
What are small arms? “Small arms” is a term used by armed forces to describe
infantry weapons an individual may carry. The description is usually limited to guns and
other handheld weapons.
The civilians most affected are suffering and displaced; many more are killed as
proven true by statistics stating over 30 million people around the world are killed by
them each year and of these it is stated that there are a half billion military small arms
around the world. Weapons known as small arms cause mass destruction everywhere
around the world, hindering the lives of peaceful citizens and the development of almost
all the countries around the world
Small arms are proliferated by both legal and illegal resources and they are
involved in nearly every conflict situation in the world.
Modern conflicts claim an estimated half a million people and over 300,000 are from
internal conflicts. 200,000 are from genocide and suicides and over 80 percent of all
these have been civilians.
Ninety percent of civilian casualties are caused by small arms and this is currently
higher then the casualty count from conventional weapons of war like tanks, bombs, jets
or war ships and an estimate of the black market trade in small arms ranges from $ 1.2
million a year in the U. S. , where every minute someone is killed by a gun. And over
113 4 companies in almost all the countries are involved in the introduction of small arms
purchased by civilians. The advantage of the weapon, people say, is that small arms have
a long life, low maintenance, are relatively cheap, highly portable and easily concealable.
International attention is focused on the control of weapons of mass destruction,
subsequently trade of conventional weapons continues to operate in a legal vacuum so a
conference was set up by the United Nations from the 9th to the 20th of July 2001, to try to
address issues regarding proliferation of small arms in conflict zones. Amongst the
numerous issues at hand, some major gun-producing countries such as United States,
China, Russia, India, and many other countries were against effective universal criteria
against arms exportation.
While these conferences were going on, the U.S. Secretary of State for Arms
Control bluntly told the delegates that the United States would not join the consensus of a
final document that contains measures contrary to America’s constitutional rights to keep
and bear arms. He also said the United States, the largest supplier of arms worldwide,
would not support moves to outlaw any arming of rebel groups nor would it help fund a
campaign by human rights groups to raise awareness of the trade. He also said the U.S
would not support a ban on private ownership of military weapons including assault rifles
and grenade launchers, but United States was not the only country that would say no to
those but that many other countries would refuse for economic reasons. But United
Nations didn’t stop like that and emphasized the point: “small arms cause mass
destruction, so you must stop”. Most countries agreed and are working toward
resolution of this issue; currently the U. N. is trying to enlist the support of the remaining
countries. The goal is to promote universal acceptance of this idea.