Ammunition diverted from legal to illicit markets is a central concern in small arms control, but its impact is understudied. A new Briefing Paper from the Small Arms Survey and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs explores how authorities can go about better monitoring the role it plays in violent crime.
The Small Arms Survey's Marking, Record-keeping, and Tracing Implementation Support Cards were developed as a resource to promote easy understanding of the International Tracing Instrument (ITI).
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Marking is a fundamental element of any tracing system. It allows for the unique identification of weapons and the establishment of associated records. Universal requirements for marking are outlined in the UN’s International Tracing Instrument (ITI, or, in full, the ‘International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons’).
In 2011–12 the Small Arms Survey examined the weapon-marking initiative under way among member states of the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA), the first regional marking initiative of its kind. Making a Mark: Reporting on Firearms Marking in the RECSA Region—a Special Report published in partnership with RECSA—describes the initiative, its succes
In 2011–12 the Small Arms Survey examined the weapon-marking initiative under way among member states of the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA), the first regional marking initiative of its kind.
Precedent in the Making: The UN Meeting of Governmental Experts, presents details of the discussions at the Open-ended Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE) in May 2011. The meeting focused on the practical details of weapons marking, record-keeping, and tracing, specifically as dealt with in the International Tracing Instrument (ITI).
Ammunition marking—including all the marks applied on individual cartridges and their packaging, containing information crucial for their identification—facilitates accounting for ammunition use, safe transportation, storage, and quality control. Within the international arms control community there is an ongoing debate about how useful marking is in helping to trace transfers of ammunition from one user group to another.
The marking of small arms is a necessary component of record-keeping, linking a specific small arm to a unique record for that item. A robust record-keeping system provides the means to trace small arms and investigate the illicit trade, thus helping to limit the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons.