Weapons collection and destruction

Firearms remain lethal for many years after manufacture. In Iraq, guns dating from 1918 are still being used. When weapons remain in struggling post-conflict societies, they can cause more damage than they did during the conflict. In El Salvador, more people were shot dead in 10 years of peace than during the previous 12 years of war. And the overall number of these weapons is increasing - an estimated 10 guns are manufactured for every gun destroyed.

In post-conflict situations, weapons collection is an important aspect of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and related processes. The UN published International DDR Standards in 2006. Collection programs have also been successful in non-conflict situations, such as gun amnesties in Australia and Brazil.

Public gun destructions have been used to raise awareness, improve public confidence and symbolise an end to conflict. Examples have been 'flames of peace' in Cambodia and Mali, and gun sculptures in Macedonia and Mozambique.

Latest news

Organização Santomense dos Direitos Humanos, IANSA member in Sao Tome and Principe organised a joint activity with the police to collect the weapons in the community and raise the awareness on the proliferation and misuse of small and light weapons. 

IANSA member Gun Free South Africa is partnering with Primedia, South Africa’s leading media group, to run a campaign to encourage 3 million radio listeners to participate in the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence by reporting illegal guns and illegal gun use to Primedia’s crime fighting initiative, CrimeLine. The advertisement is being broadcast from 11 to 17 June 2012 on the national radio stations 702 Radio, 567 Cape Radio, Kfm, and 94.7 fm.

In May 2012, as part of the 'Firearms Destruction and Stockpile Management Assistance Package for Caribbean States,' the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, through its Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, provided a set of hydraulic shears to the Bahamas. This provides a permanent and sustainable capacity to destroy surplus, obsolete and confiscated small arms.

A gun amnesty in Puerto Rico has removed more than 400 firearms and over 30,000 rounds of ammunition from circulation since it began in February 2012.

In South Sudan, more than 2,000 guns have been collected as part of a disarmament campaign in Jonglei state, led by the national army. According to army officials, 3,000 soldiers have been stationed in the state to support the disarmament process

Latest resources

Instituto Sou da Paz, an IANSA member in Brazil, has launched a practical guide to children's disarmament.

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 annual report of the United States Conventional Weapons Destruction program, ‘To Walk the Earth in Safety’, has been released.

Article from the US State Department with a list of examples of explosions at ammunition depots. Written in 2010.

Ammunition stockpiles require careful management to prevent explosions. The report of a Group of Governemntal Experts was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2008, and subsequently technical guidlines are being prepared.

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