Firearms trafficking


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.


Key messages

  • Resorting to the use of firearms is not an acceptable way to resolve conflicts.
  • The death, injury and heartache caused by gun violence are devastating. The threat and reality of gun violence can seriously affect entire communities.
  • Firearms per se  are not illegal; they become illegal when diverted into the illegal market or when misused for the commission of crimes.

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The teacher's guide is also available in Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish.

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