Forum Waffenrecht e. V.

Represented by Joachim Streitberger

at UN Conference on the Illicit Trade of Small Arms in All its Aspects

16th July 2001

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 My organisation, a German firearms legislation group, is working to prevent crime and the misuse of firearms by means of legislation.

 In Germany, many points included in the proposed Programme of Action, have been translated into action for many years.

 ·       All firearms must be marked.

 ·       Sale or re-sale, import and export must be recorded.

 ·       The purchase of a firearm requires an official permission.

 ·       Fully automatic firearms are totally banned.

 ·       Manufacturers and dealers are under permanent control of the State.

 ·       All firearms must be stored in legally defined gun safes.

 In Germany there are about 10 million legally held firearms.

 Even politicians state that the group of legal firearms owners cause no danger to public safety.

 Despite Germany‘s very stringent firearms law and its effective law enforcement system, there are more than 20 million illegal firearms in circulation.

 It is important to know, that even these 20 million illegal firearms rarely appear in criminal incidents. The rate of crimes involving any use of a firearm – legal or illegal - is 0.1 % of all crimes. This figure has been stable for many years.

 After the opening of the Iron Curtain ten years ago, Germany has been flooded with thousands of AK 47.

 Again, this increase of illegal firearms has not caused a growing misuse. Thus the equation: Existence of firearms means existence of conflicts is too simple.

 In view of the experiences of the last years made in countries, which had banned some types of private firearms, we would propose that the conference should carefully weigh all the possible measures and take into consideration that

 ·       there is no relation between the number of firearms and the misuse of firearms

·       firearms do not cause conflicts among people. The truth is that conflicts attract firearms

·       to eradicate firearms from societies means to disarm law-abiding citizen and to encourage criminals. Criminals – by definition – do not respect the laws.

 Mr. President let me conclude:

 Every reasonable man supports the wish to eradicate violence from society and establish public safety.  

Experiences in my country have shown that the drying up of the illegal firearms market takes a very long time, if it is – at all – feasible.

 We fully support the marking and tracing as sensible means to start combatting the illegal flow of small arms.

 We are convinced that a differentiated discussion must be the basis to come to the co-operation of all concerned groups of citizens, that is so much needed.

 Thank you, Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen.



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