We spend most of our time talking about the handgun problem in the US. But, I suppose it's a lot bigger than that. The same rules apply, though. Arms manufacturers want to sell their product, just like handgun makers, and they couldn't care less who gets them as long as sales are up.It is troubling because we have been at it for so long—the United States has been easily the largest arms exporter in the post-Cold War era—and still can’t seem to learn the ABCs of the arms trade: (A) the weapons we produce and sell or give away very often fall into the hands of people who want to use them to shoot at us; (B) the networks of arms merchants are also attracted to other forms of illicit commerce, like nuclear materials, drugs and human trafficking; and (C) the purported benefits of sustaining the “defense industrial base” by exporting weapons are grossly exaggerated. Yet none of these sturdy facts deters policymakers of all political persuasions from pushing lethal technologies onto petty tyrants and intermittent allies in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and indeed just about everywhere else.
What do you think? Is that too harsh a judgment? Do gun manufacturers have a social conscience or are they as mercenary as I say?
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