Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Trafficking Essays

Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Trafficking Essays

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The effects of small arms and light weapons (SALW) trafficking has come under scrutiny in the past decade due to the amount of weapons U.S. SALW manufacturers are hemorrhaging overseas primarily because traceability, culpability, and transparency of information are difficult to come by. Small arms are for personal use and include, “pistols, rifles,... assault rifles and light machine guns.” Light weapons include “heavy machine guns,... portable antiaircraft guns, portable antitank guns,... and explosive devices” (Gildea). Each year this illegal trade occurs, the United States is losing billions of dollars, moving weapons into the hands of terrorist organizations or gangs, and these weapons are often used against our military personnel. This paper will discuss the process of acquiring export licenses, quantify the scope of SALW has on the U.S., identify key agencies, and provide suggestions on how to address this dangerous and costly problem.
Collection of serial numbers at the time of export is not mandated, and if they are collected (such as with the ATF Form-9), they may be withheld from criminal justice agencies since this data is seen as tax related. To have items exported, a SALW manufacturer must obtain a license from the Department of State for each shipment (Gildea). The Department of State issues licenses and collects waybills (itemized shipping receipts) but only requests sender/recipient information, manufacturer, quantity of the SALW model number(s), but nowhere on the form does it ask for serial numbers. By not acquiring serial numbers of SALW exports, this practice has proven quite problematic in terms of prosecution and lost lives. Additionally, without serial numbers, manufacturers, weapon type, and correlating t...


... middle of paper ...


...ur economy and kill innocent soldiers.


Works Cited

Cragin, Kim. Arms Trafficking and Columbia. Santa Monica, CA: Prepared for the Defense Intelligence Agency [by] RAND National Defense Research Institute, 2003.
Gildea, Timothy, and Glenn Pierce. “Small Arms and Light Weapons Trafficking: Creating an Assessment Framework from the U.S. Experience.” Nonproliferation Review. 14.1 (2007): 1-31.
Jojarth, Christine. Crime War, and Global Trafficking: Designing International Cooperation. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009.
"President Obama: We failed to connect the dots - BostonHerald.com." Home - BostonHerald.com. Web. 08 Feb. 2010.
United States. Government Account Ability Office. Challenges Exist in Enforcement of an Inherently Complex System. 2006.

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