Global small arms sales reached $2.9 billion in 2006

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The value of the global trade in small arms and light weapons is estimated to have risen by 28 % between 2000 and 2006 to reach $2.9 billion (R23 billion), according to UN customs data presented in the 2009 edition of the Small Arms Survey.
The annual report, published by the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, says the demand for guns in the US remains the key driver of trade in small arms, UN News Centre reports.
“The US continues to drive the global small arms trade, remaining the largest importer of pistols and revolvers, sporting shotguns, and small-calibre ammunition.
Greater demand for small arms in the US was responsible for 48% of the worldwide increase in imports from 2000 to 2006,” states a press release issued in Geneva.
The top exporters of small arms include the US, Italy, Germany and Brazil, with the US also leading the list of importers, followed by Saudi Arabia, Cyprus and Germany, according to the report which is based information from 53 countries.
“Current data shows that the global trade in small arms and light weapons is robust and even expanding, and that handguns are driving it,” said Small Arms Survey Programme Director Keith Krause.
“We don`t know whether these weapons are destined for civilians, police, or military forces. But it is striking that handguns have outpaced all other small arms and light weapons over the period,” he added.
The report also includes a section on post-conflict situations that highlights case studies of Aceh (Indonesia), Afghanistan, and southern Lebanon.