International Gun Laws
The movement of guns across borders has become a major focal point for the War on Terrorism. Some of these efforts depend on national information on gun production and transfer. Below you can compare U.S. guns registration requirements with those of other nations.
The law enforcement agency INTERPOL has stepped up its efforts with a new tracking system, Interpol Weapons and Explosives Tracking System (IWETS). IWETS is currently the only international analytical database designed to collate information on illegal firearms trafficking. IWETS provides current indexes of firearms manufactures and other information that facilitates the identification of firearms. IWETS is also the only international system for stolen and recovered weapons.
The UN General Assembly established a Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) in 1999 as an arm of the Vienna-based UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP). The group aims to combat the illegal traffic in arms as noted in GUN LAND, 11 percent of illegal guns recovered worldwide came from the state of Florida. Check their Web site to see a list of the most common weapons used by terrorists and lists gunmakers.
There are also several firearms-related bills in front of the U.S. Congress. Some of these may be reintroduced in the 2003 session.
|Country||Licensing of gun owners?||Registration of firearms?||Other Restrictions||Households with firearms (%)||Total Intentional Gun Death Rate per 100,000|
|Japan||Yes||Yes ||Prohibits handguns with few exceptions ||0.6 %||0.07|
|Singapore||Yes||Yes||Most handguns and rifles prohibited||0.01%||0.24|
|U.K.||Yes||Yes||Prohibits handguns||4.0 %||0.4|
|Netherlands ||Yes||Yes|| ||1.9 %||0.55|
|Spain||Yes||Yes||Some handguns and rifles are prohibited||13.1 %||0.74|
|Germany||Yes||Yes|| ||8.9 %||1.44|
|Australia||Yes||Yes||Banned semiautomatics unless good reason||16.0 %||2.94|
|Canada||Yes||All guns by 2003||Assault weapons and some handguns||26%||3.95|
|France||Yes||Yes, except sporting rifles|| ||22.6 %||5.48|
|Switzerland||Yes||Yes|| ||27.2 %||5.74 6.2|
|Finland||Yes||Yes|| ||50 %||6.65|
|USA||in some states||Handguns in some states||Some weapons in some states||41%||13.47|
Source: W. Cukier, "Firearms Regulation: Canada in the International Context," Chronic Diseases in Canada, April, 1998 (statistics updated to reflect most recent figures, January 2001).
GUN LAND is a continuation of research which began with KQED/CIR's own hour-long documentary, GUN SHOTS, which looked at how illegal guns get into the hands of criminals in United States.
GUN LAND is a NOW with Bill Moyers co-production of KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting.
More on this story, "The Guns of Opa-Locka" by Jake Bergman and Julia Reynolds, appears in the December 2, 2002 issue of THE NATION magazine.