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Highlights

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New Research Note: Small Arms Transfers: Importing States

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New: Research Note 8: Less-lethal Weapons

Less-lethal weapons are designed to incapacitate their targets with specific, intermediate effects. When used inappropriately or with inadequate training, they can, however, inflict serious, even lethal, injuries.

Selected categories of less-lethal weapons include:

  • Kinetic energy launchers and their projectiles
  • Acoustic weapons
  • Electric-shock weapons
  • Directed-energy weapons
  • Chemical riot control agents

An increasing number of companies manufacture and trade less-lethal weapons. While these systems are gaining popularity with law enforcement and the military, they suffer from a number of limitations. There is also potential for these weapon systems to be diverted to, and subsequently misused by, governments with little or no accountability mechanisms; their growing use by the private security industry compounds this risk.



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