Global Action: The Rise of an
As we have seen, countries' abilities to address the firearms problem are weakened by illegal trade. Firearms from countries with weak regulation often fuel the global trade in illegal guns. Over the last decade, attention has focused on global approaches to address the misuse of firearms in the context of crime and conflict. Informal cooperation among national groups working on the issue (both pro and con) has been evident for many years, but formal collaborations among governments have evolved relatively recently. Regional agreements through the Organization of American States, the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States emerged in the late 1990s, around the same time efforts to address illegal firearm trafficking began in earnest at the United Nations. Work at the United Nations has tended to proceed on parallel tracks—through the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, based in Vienna, and through the Disarmament Commission, based in New York.
To date, analyses of the international movement to control small arms have tended to focus on developments and activity among disarmament scholars and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), while neglecting the work of scholars and advocates focused on civilian firearms, public health, policing and gender. This chapter examines the development of national gun control movements and their contributions to the development of a global movement.
The most obvious contribution of national gun control groups is their work on the development of firearms protocol and on marking and tracing firearms as part of the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime developed by the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Throughout 1997 and 1998, there were NGO and Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice meetings at a series of regional consultations. Representatives from gun control organizations (Gun Control