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

South Africa has begun a nationwide amnesty for gun owners in an attempt to reduce armed violence in the country. From 11 January to 11 April 2010 anyone in possession of guns and ammunition will be able to hand them in at police stations.

5,337 weapons, including 144 assault rifles, were taken off the streets of Los Angeles (US) in a 'Gifts for Guns' programme implemented by the Los Angeles Police Department during 2009.

India’s home ministry is to order annual audits for confiscated and obsolete weapons.

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