Firearms trafficking data can help reduce damage caused by the use of weapons in acts of violence and crime

The Global Study on Firearms Trafficking 2020, published on 15th July by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), compiles the most comprehensive data on firearms trafficking to date. As firearms are often involved in violence, particularly in homicide, they are also a major human security concern.

According to data received from 81 countries, around 550,000 firearms were seized in 2016 and 2017, with pistols being the most trafficked firearm (around 39 per cent of overall).

In the Americas, pistols made up on average more than half of all seizures. In Africa and Asia, shotguns were the most prominent firearms types seized (38 and 37 per cent, respectively), rifles were leading in Oceania (71 per cent), while Europe seems to be the most heterogenous in terms of seizures (pistols, 35, rifles, 27 and shotguns 22 per cent respectively).

The Study points to the connection between the number of homicides and ownership of firearms. Globally, 54 per cent of homicides are carried out with a firearm. Countries with higher levels of violent death and homicide, particularly in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, tend to seize a higher percentage of firearms connected to violent crime, while in Europe drug trafficking is the most prominent among the other forms of crime linked to illicit firearms.


Working Group on Firearms

This week, the Firearms Working Group meeting organized by the UNODC Global Firearms Program was held. The Working Group aims to strengthen cooperation among Member States in the fight against the illicit manufacturing, use and trafficking of weapons and jointly define the needs, challenges and priorities in this area.

Mexico chairs the meeting of the Working Group and aims to promote the exchange of information and the data collection on the subject. In this sense, the importance of collecting more accurate data to achieve an exhaustive registry that provides a better understanding of this crime was highlighted. In this regard, Mexico recognized the effort of the UNODC in the country in data matters through the Center of Excellence in Statistical Information on Government, Crime, Victimization and Justice.