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The illicit market is very complex. There is a multitude of sources of illicit weapons and a wide variety of types of demand for them. There are many methods used for firearms trafficking by the range of actors involved in the market. As Duquet and Goris (2018: 9) acknowledge in their important pan-European analysis of Firearm acquisition by terrorists:

Our knowledge of the illicit market for firearms very much resembles the Udana parable of the blind men and the elephant: a group of blind men who have never encountered an elephant is asked to describe it based on their palpating of only one part of the creature. Based on this partial impression, they each describe an entirely different phenomenon (a thick snake, a tree trunk, a bumped wall, a fan). None can grasp the entire and true nature of the thing they are confronted with. Moreover, each one of them assumes his (partial) interpretation of reality to be the whole truth.

By revealing and discussing the many and varied types of illicit firearm markets, the scene was set to begin learning about how national governments and the international community are responding to stem the illicit acquisition and trafficking of illicit firearms.

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