The Global Gun Epidemic: From Saturday Night Specials to AK-47s

By Wendy Cukier; Victor W. Sidel | Go to book overview

7

The Regulation of Firearms

While gun control is extremely controversial in the United States, with opposition to even basic regulation such as licensing and registration, a review of legislation around the world shows that the norms in most countries, both industrialized and developing, are to strictly regulate civilian possession of firearms. In addition, a number of international agreements and resolutions provide support for regulating firearms in both postconflict and peaceful settings. This chapter reviews the principles and limitations of the regulation of firearms, components of firearm regulation, case studies of selected countries and existing international agreements and resolutions.


PRINCIPLES AND LIMITATIONS OF REGULATION

Regulation of civilian possession of firearms is intended to reduce the risk that legally acquired firearms will be misused or diverted to illegal markets. The effectiveness of laws in shaping behavior is always a result of a complex interaction of factors. Although the levels of firearm violence in a country are in general linked to the restrictiveness of the country's laws, there are exceptions. Some countries with relatively permissive laws have rates of violence lower than countries with restrictive laws.

The success of efforts to regulate civilian possession of firearms is influenced by many factors. Extensive voluntary compliance is generally essential for effective firearm regulation, particularly when a large percentage of the population is in possession of firearms. Voluntary compliance is generally seen in contexts where the majority of the population is law-abiding and regards the law as appropriate and fair. Although strenuous opposition from a vocal minority commonly accompanies efforts to strengthen

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The Global Gun Epidemic: From Saturday Night Specials to AK-47s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables vii
  • List of Figures ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • 1: Guns: A Global Perspective 1
  • 2: The Firearm Epidemic 12
  • 3: More Guns Equal More Deaths 47
  • 4: The Global Gun Trade 68
  • 5: Globalization and Gun Running 88
  • 6: [Gun Culture] and the Demand for Firearms 109
  • 7: The Regulation of Firearms 131
  • 8: National Approaches to Regulation 171
  • 9: Global Action 206
  • Conclusion 241
  • Notes 243
  • Selected Resources 291
  • Index 299
  • About the Authors 311
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