Day 2 June 2, 2015
By: Joseph Hartley Cavallaro, Vision GRAM-International
On the second day of the MGE2 on small arms and light weapons, country delegates and weapons experts continued to exchange their questions and ideas concerning the international regulation of light weapons. The majority of the debate today was dominated by the reality that 3D weapons are going to become more widely available in coming years. One expert claimed that 3D printers would be available at the consumer level within the next twenty years. Many of the concerns over 3D weapons stem from their lack of detectability in metal detectors and their availability to criminals who may be able to print weapons at home.
Delegates also discussed the importance of finding an effective way to mark weapons so that they can be tracked when the need arises, because modern weapons are being manufactured with new materials, some of which are hard to mark. There were also brief mentions towards the end of the day about the need to secure shipments and stockpiles of firearms and ammunition in order to reduce the risk of diversion. It was emphasized by one NGO that regulating ammunition globally is impossible and that it would be like trying to track grains of rice. Another NGO stressed that weapons should be only marked on the receiver of a weapon because it is the hardest part of the weapon to illegally reproduce, yet the easiest to mark.
The Canadian Arms Association briefly expressed their concerns about governmental confiscation of weapons. In Addition, IANSA representatives spoke about gun violence in Philadelphia. One of these representatives, a woman from Nigeria, also spoke about the plight of gun violence on her country and the cost of treating victims of gun violence. Another woman from Kenya spoke about the Westgate shopping mall attack, during which she lost an uncle in the mall. Her cousin was also shot in the head last week in the same town. In total, about 147 people had been killed in Garissa, Kenya. These representatives expressed their strong support for the implementation of the PoA.
Victor AMISI, executive director of Vision GRAM- International, discussed how he fled his country due to gun violence, as weapon companies flooded Africa with weapons after the Cold War. He stresses that all member states should regulate new weapons, mark and trace all weapons. States should meet all commitments to the PoA as well as to the ITI in order to combat arms trafficking and the diversion of small arms to non-state actors. “States should apply new technologies to improve information exchange et the national, regional and international levels to combat arms trafficking and prevent diversion to unauthorized recipients”, he added.
June 2nd was also the first National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Many UN staff wore orange in support. The event commemorated the death of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot dead in 2013. The Hashtag #WearingOrange was used in order to publicize the event. Many celebrities also showed their support.