Open Fire: Understanding Global Gun Cultures

By Charles Fruehling Springwood | Go to book overview

Notes

CHAPTER 1: THE SOCIAL LIFE OF GUNS: AN
INTRODUCTION

1. Estimating the number of firearms in the world is extremely difficult, owing to: unavailable data regarding guns owned by certain governments, hidden caches of weapons, unregistered and unreported civilian-owned arms, and uneven definitions of firearms used by different studies. The Small Arms Survey project, sponsored by the United Nations, is the most thorough and detailed estimate (Small Arms Survey 2001, 2002), and the 2002 survey estimates that 638,900,000 firearms exist globally (see also Peck 2002), including privately-owned guns as well as those used by armed forces, police, and non-state military groups. This number does include such weapons as rocket launchers. Michael Klare (1999: 21) writes that the number of guns in use ranges “from 500 million to a billion, of which some 200-250 million are owned by private individuals and public agencies in the United States.”

2. This photograph, reprinted with the permission of Tom Rosseel, appears on the website he produces for his club Airsoft Brugge. Located in Bruges, Belgium, members travel both domestically and abroad to use their recreational weapons.


CHAPTER 2: GUNSCAPES: TOWARD A GLOBAL
GEOGRAPHY OF THE FIREARM

1. Guns are not actually manufactured (to any considerable degree) in the Netherlands. Burrows is indicating, what is confirmed in the UN Small Arms Report of 2002, that numerous firearms move through customs in the Netherlands, which is one of the major transit centers for the legal transfer of weapons.


CHAPTER 3: GUN POLITICS: REFLECTIONS ON BRAZIL'S
FAILED GUN BAN REFERENDUM IN THE RIO DE JANEIRO
CONTEXT

1. Viva Rio (VR), a large Brazilian NGO, was created in 1993 in response to two massacres of unarmed civilians by military policemen: the Candelária massacre and the Vigário Geral shantytown massacre. VR works with the poorest communities in Rio to find practical solutions to the problems of gun crime. They work with the local police to set up a system for storing and recording guns that are seized, with the aim of tracing the source of guns and ensuring that they are not reintroduced into the community, and they pilot projects of community policing (Amnesty International 2003). They also created a partnership with the Instituto de Estudos da Religião

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