Marking and tracing

In order to properly control the flows of arms into and out of their countries, states need to know where the guns are coming from. Tracing involves the systematic tracking of illicit weapons from their source (the manufacturer, or last legal importer, or last legal owner) through the lines of supply, to the point at which they were diverted into the illicit market. If this point of diversion can be identified, preventative measures can then be taken to stop guns falling into the wrong hands.

Recognising the importance of adequate marking, recordkeeping and tracing, the non-binding International Tracing Instrument was agreed at the UN in 2005. This complemented provisions in the binding 2001 UN Firearms Protocol. Implementation has been slow, despite the involvement of Interpol. A key problem is computerisation of records, so that each gun can be linked to its last legal user.

 

Latest news

On 22 September, Members of Parliament in Canada will vote on a motion to stop Bill C-391.

The Coalition for Gun Control in Canada is calling on Canadians to take action to save the national Gun Registry.

Private party gun sales in the US should be subject to the same screening and record keeping requirements that apply to sales by licensed retailers according to an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine on 5 August.

CASAC is calling for Consultants to strengthen systems for exchange of information between national and regional institutions, improving firearms registration in Central America and building the technological capacity for data analysis.

The 56 OSCE States adopted a plan of action to tackle the threat of small arms on 26 May.

Latest resources

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook for 2011 is now out.

This brief includes a report from a course on small arms and border security management took place from the 14-25 of March 2010, as well as an analysis of the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire and it's implications for the proliferation of small arms in the West African region.

NGO presentations took place during the morning plenary session of Friday 13 May

A summary report of the side event 'Measurability and Implementation - Country-by-country comparisons of marking, tracing, record-keeping and other norms', coorganized by GunPolicy.org and the Permanent Missions of Australia and New Zealand to the United Nations on 13 May 2011.

A summary report of the side event 'Establishment and maintenance of effective national record-keeping systems for small arms and light weapons' held on 12 May 2011.

A summary report of the main points of the afternoon session on Thursday 12 May at the Open-Ended Meeting of Governmental Experts, 9-13 May 2011.

A summary report of the main points of the morning session on Thursday 12 May at the Open-Ended Meeting of Governmental Experts, 9-13 May 2011.

A summary report of the main points of the afternoon session on Wednesday 11 May at the Open-Ended Meeting of Governmental Experts, 9-13 May 2011.

A summary report of the side event 'Implementing firearm marking and record-keeping in Southern Africa: a partnership between police, civil society and the private sector”' held on 11 May 2011.

A summary report of the main points of the morning session on Wednesday 11 May at the Open-Ended Meeting of Governmental Experts, 9-13 May 2011.

A summary report of the side event 'Tracing conflict ammunition: viability and challenges' held on 11 May 2011.

A summary report of the side event 'The Programme of Action and Opportunities' held on 10 May 2011.

A summary report of the main points of the afternoon session on Tuesday 10 May at the Open-Ended Meeting of Governmental Experts, 9-13 May 2011.

An article by the IANSA Women’s Network was published in the MGE Monitor on Tuesday 10 May 2011 and calls upon states to integrate a gender perspective in their tracing efforts, and actively include women at all stages of the process including capacity building and cooperation initiatives.To read it go to: http://www.iansa-women.org/node/630

A summary report of the side event 'Why Traces Fail – Challenges involved in issuing and responding to tracing requests' held on 10 May 2011.

A summary report of the main points of the morning session on Tuesday 10 May at the Open-Ended Meeting of Governmental Experts, 9-13 May 2011.

A summary report of the side event 'Applying the Mark: A meeting on the practicalities of marking firearms and ammunition' held on 9 May 2011.

A summary report of the side event 'Draft International Standards on Marking, Record-keeping and Tracing of SALW' held on 9 May 2011.

A summary report of the main points of the afternoon session on Monday 9 May at the Open-Ended Meeting of Governmental Experts, 9-13 May 2011.

A summary report of the main points of the opening session on Monday 9 May at the Open-Ended Meeting of Governmental Experts, 9-13 May 2011.

This report by the UN Secretary-General was submitted to the UN Security Council to bring them up to date on issues that were presented to them in the 2008 SG report on Small Arms

The UN Programme of Action Open Ended Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE) will take place 9-13 May 2011 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

This non-binding agreement was adopted as part of the UN small arms process in 2005. It establishes minimum standards for the marking, tracing and recordkeeping of guns.

An article in two parts summarising the history of gun control in Canada is now available on the Advocacy Project blog.

This report by the UN Secretary General came as response to a statement from the UN Security Council in 2007, requesting that they receive a report on small arms every two years