Organized crime manifests itself in many forms and activities, ranging from traditional types of criminal organizations to transnational criminal networks. Firearms trafficking is connected with all forms of organized crime, and refers to the international trade in firearms that is not properly authorized by the countries involved.
Firearms are used as a trafficking commodity, an expression of power, or even as alternate form of payment in exchange for other illegal merchandise (for example drugs). In addition, firearms trafficking fuels insurgency and terrorist groups, causing or increasing regional instability in the affected areas. The illegal trade in firearms also contributes to arming urban criminal groups and furthering gang-related violence in many countries. In this connection, the trafficking and misuse of firearms is intrinsically linked to criminal organizations and networks.