THE UN reckons there are some 500m small arms in circulation around the world. At least 70m are Kalashnikovs. The Soviet-designed automatic assault rifle, the Avtomat Kalashnikova, was first manufactured in 1947 (hence its commonest version, the AK-47). Its compactness and durability have made it Africa’s killing weapon of choice since the 1980s, despite its inaccuracy. These days, the continent has all of the score of Kalashnikov variants, including the AKM, the Chinese Type 56, and the Serbian Zastava M70.
I remember commenters claiming not to care what goes on in Mexico and Canada. I don't suppose those guys will be too concerned about this. But it is interesting, and may put some of our other discussions in perspective.
In an attempt to make it harder for organised criminals to arm themselves, and in a nod to global counter-terrorist efforts, a group of ten eastern and central African countries, including Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda, which owe their liberation movements partly to the Kalashnikov, has agreed to harmonise gun laws.
Now, there's an interesting idea. African borders are easily crossed, much like the state borders in the U.S., and so the obvious solution to them is to "harmonize gun laws" among the different countries. This is one of the solutions proposed by gun control folks in America. Even in Africa, which is not known for its cutting edge politics, they know this much.
What's your opinion? Is the autonomy of individual states in the U.S. more important than attempting to make a unified effort at gun control? Aren't there already many areas in which the federal government "harmonizes" states' efforts? Why do some people resist this when it comes to guns?
What do you think about the statement, "500m small arms in circulation around the world. At least 70m are Kalashnikovs?" Does that sound right to you? How does that jibe with the U.S. numbers we always throw around, 50M, 80M, and so forth? Are we talking about the same thing, "small arms?"
Please leave a comment if you'd like.