A short summary of Constructive Dialogue on Firearms of 05.04.2024

Summary of Constructive Dialogue on Firearms of 05.04.2024 

The fourth Constructive Dialogue on Firearms was convened on Friday 5 April 2024, following the conclusion of the eleventh session of the Working Group on Firearms, in accordance with paragraph 53 of the Procedures and rules for the functioning of the UNTOC review mechanism, to promote fruitful cooperation between stakeholders and the working group. 

The constructive dialogue was attended by 144 Non-Governmental Organisations and other relevant stakeholders from the academia and the private sector (47% of the participants in the Dialogue are first-time participants). As highlighted by the summary of the Chair, the statements of panellist and speakers mainly focused on the following topics: 

  • Removal of Markings: There's concern over the ease of removing markings on firearms, necessitating measures against it and more comprehensive legislation.  
  • 3D Printed firearms: The spread of 3D printed firearms poses challenges in the production of arms, their components and the tracking process. It has been highlighted how 3D printers for civil use are widespread, which means the ease of making components and the difficulty of tracking them. The presence of legislative loopholes in regulating what can be produced with these technologies, which is either not present or differs greatly between states, has been stressed. 
  • Proliferation of Small Arms: Collaboration is crucial to prevent the proliferation of small arms, especially with the rise of private-made firearms using unmarked components and counterfeit markings. Contemporary privately manufactured firearms indeed no longer rely on rudimentary components; instead, they incorporate unmarked parts, posing a challenge for tracking and regulation efforts. 
  • Access and Distribution: The accessibility of illegal firearms, including through the internet and illegal workshops, highlights the need for better regulation and monitoring of distribution chains. It has been highlighted how easy it is to gain access to arms, components and blueprints even without recurring to the “dark web”, but simply using browser research. 
    The distribution chain of firearms is experiencing a proliferation of suppliers, leading to increased diversity and adaptability in the market. 
  • Legislation and Regulation: Recommendations include updating legislation to keep pace with technological developments, enhancing transparency in arms’ transfers, and creating platforms for sharing experiences among states and civil society on the impact of new technologies on firearms. Legislation addressing the use of firearms by private companies is being reviewed, alongside regulations that present obstacles for small arms within customs agencies.  
  • Implementation of Protocol: Efforts are underway to operationalize the firearm protocol, focusing on standardizing reporting, enhancing cooperation between countries, and involving civil society in capacity building. 
  • Transnational Collaboration: Cross-border firearms trafficking is linked to transnational criminal activity and terrorism, emphasizing the need for collaboration between different sectors to tackle the issue effectively. Attention was particularly brought to arms trafficking and its growing importance in unstable regions. 
  • Victims' Rights and Accountability: Ensuring justice for victims, particularly in cases of negligence, and holding parties accountable for arms transfers, especially in conflict zones, are crucial aspects of addressing firearm-related issues. 
  • Gender Perspective and Youth Engagement: Gun violence disproportionately affects women, highlighting the importance of adopting a human rights approach and empowering youth as agents of change. 
  • Data Accessibility and Research: There's a call for better access to data on firearms and ammunition and support for research and workshops on new technologies and national registration systems.   
  • Law Enforcement Support and Harmonization: Support for law enforcement, development of protocols for 3D printing, and harmonization of laws across countries are seen as essential measures in combating illicit firearms trafficking. It has been addressed how varying legislation among countries allows for the transfer of "non-lethal weapons," as classified by some, to regions where they can potentially be exploited and modified to become lethal, therefore calling for harmonization of legislations.  



16 Apr, 2024