Dangerous Devices: Privately Made Firearms in the Caribbean

Submitted by Katie Lazaro on 14 June, 2024

The rate of violent deaths in the Caribbean remains well above the world average. Trafficking—including of firearm parts used to build privately made firearms (PMFs)—remains the primary source of small arms seized in the region. PMFs in the Caribbean vary widely in sophistication. Given their low cost and the increasingly diverse ways in which key firearm components can be acquired or produced—including through the use of 3D-printing and CNC-milling technology—PMFs have the potential to become a significant threat.

Privately Made Firearms in the European Union

Submitted by Katie Lazaro on 5 December, 2023

Improvements in technology and information sharing have transformed PMFs from crude, impractical homemade devices of limited value to most criminals into highly functional weapons that are increasingly viewed as viable substitutes for factory-built firearms. The effectiveness of national and international small arms control regimes are gradually being eroded; the lack of serial numbers on such weapons, for example, undermines tracing efforts that have been a cornerstone of investigations. 

Out of Control: The Trafficking of Improvised Explosive Device Components and Commercial Explosives in West Africa

Submitted by Lionel Kosirnik on 17 November, 2023

The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in West Africa expanded dramatically over the last decade. IED-building networks have established material and training links across conflict areas in West and Central Africa, and their designs have remained constant and inexpensive throughout the region—helping to increase their use in attacks against domestic and international security forces, UN peacekeepers, and civilians.

Weapons Compass: The Caribbean Firearms Study

Submitted by Lionel Kosirnik on 11 April, 2023

The Caribbean region suffers from some of the world’s highest rates of violent deaths, at almost three times the global average, as well as one of the world’s highest rates of violent deaths among women. Firearms are used in more than half of all homicides, with this proportion reaching 90 per cent in some countries. While much emphasis has been placed on firearms control at both the political and operational levels, illicit firearms, and the dynamics of illicit arms markets in this region have received little research attention.

Beyond State Control: Improvised and Craft-produced Small Arms and Light Weapons

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 24 November, 2020

Although the number of craft-produced small arms and light weapons is difficult to estimate, they are prevalent and range broadly in sophistication and quality.

Improvised and craft-produced firearms remain an important source of firepower for a wide range of actors, including tribal groups, poachers, criminals, insurgent groups, and even some states and quasi-state groups. In various locations, these weapons account for most of the firearms used in crime; in others, their production is institutionalized, providing essential income for local gunsmiths.