The Study on Firearms 2015 constitutes an initial milestone in UNODC’s work on firearms data collection and analysis. It is based on quantitative and/or qualitative data collected from 48 countries. It comprises an analytical part as well as country fact sheets, which provide a summary overview of the collected data by country.

The first chapter of the study frames the issue by looking at the global demand for and supply of firearms as well as the coverage of the study. The second chapter explains what seizure data is and provides and overview of the data collected by UNODC on seized firearms, their parts and components and ammunition, where possible disaggregated by population and type of firearm seized. The third chapter explores data that helps to get from seizures to illicit firearms trafficking, by analysing trafficking routes, tracing outcomes and the modi operandi employed by criminals, among other factors. The fourth chapter analysis the implications of the findings for efforts to counter illicit firearms trafficking and elaborates on the international legal and policy framework in place to support Member States in combatting this phenomenon. 

The study revealed persisting challenges in many countries to adopt evidence-based action to counter illicit firearms trafficking and related forms of crime. It showed that many countries from all regions lack consistent or adequate record-keeping systems, technical skills, and inter-agency coordination, which all impede the collection and centralisation of firearms data. The study further revealed that many countries do not routinely trace weapons to their illicit origin and point of diversion. Without this information, countries lack an accurate understanding on the national situation of illicit firearms, which also hinders efforts to share information with other countries and analyse firearms trafficking flows at regional and global levels.

Detailed information on data provided by individual countries is accessible through Country Fact Sheets 2015.

Click here for further background information on the UNODC Study on Firearms 2015.