Small arms and violence

Generally, small arms include weapons such as pistols, revolvers, rifles, assault rifles, hand grenades, machine guns and light motors. Light anti-tanks weapons such as grenade launchers, recoilless rifles and shoulder-fired surface to air missiles are also included as small arms because they are portable even though they are far more high-tech and complicated than most other small arms.

Being available relatively at low cost, most persons can afford small arms though they are hard to crack and control and are more worrying than the major weapons. A rough estimate shows that billions worth of such arms are being shipped across the international borders each year that would be equivalent to about one-eighth of the international scale.

Maintaining and operating small arms do not require any complicated organizations, logistical or training capacities. This is why they are the preferred equipment of the armed forces of most countries.

Small arms have light weight and can be assembled and reassembled with such ease that children as old and ten years can use them. They are easy to conceal and smuggle apart from being easily available on a burgeoning black market. For this reason, they are easy for guerilla groups, criminal organizations and other interested buyers to obtain.

Small arms are sturdy enough to have a long life, allowing them to be circulated from one country to another. For example, an F-5 jet fighter requires an inventory of 60,000 parts, but an AK-47 rifle has only 16 moving parts.

Small arms are durable; they stay in circulation for decades and are ubiquitous in most countries. In addition to their licensed production, some countries are flooding the world market with their counterfeit versions.

Nowadays, millions of military assault rifles are estimated to exist worldwide which pose a threat to peace. The dispersal of small arms to private armies, militants, insurgent groups, criminal organizations and other non-state sectors feed on the cycle of violence in some countries.

For the past few years, there has been an illegal export of small arms in Nepal due to open borders with neighboring countries. Consequently, there has been a frequent occurrence of violence in some parts of the country. If the present trend persists, there is no doubt that violence will increase here in the years to come.