LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER: The Role and the Impact of the Assault Rifle on Children in Deadly Conflict - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER: The Role and the Impact of the Assault Rifle on Children in Deadly Conflict


The Role and the Impact of the Assault Rifle on Children in Deadly Conflict ... The terms assault rifle and assault weapon are not interchangeable. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER: The Role and the Impact of the Assault Rifle on Children in Deadly Conflict

LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER The Role and the Impact
of the Assault Rifle on Children in Deadly
  • By C.J.Ritchie
  • Sponsored by The Center for Global Studies

What is the purpose of this presentation?
  1. To provide a summary examination of the role and
    impact of the assault rifle on children in deadly
  2. To provide education on and awareness of the
    microdisarmament issue and the barriers to
  3. To summarize suggestions of NGOs and researchers
    for propelling the microdisarmament issue forward
  4. To challenge the assertion that microdisarmament
    is an all or nothing issue and
  5. To suggest the possibility of a gradual form of
    microdisarmament which begins with raising

What is disarmament? What is microdisarmament?
  • There is no agreed upon term for disarmament but
    it is usually understood to be absolute ie no
    arms left it is often thought to be an all or
    nothing project
  • Microdisarmament refers to the disarmament of a
    type of weapon ( small arms) as well as the level
    at which disarmament occurs community and

What are small arms?
  • Small arms and light weapons have been defined
    in various ways, but are conventionally
    understood to include weapons designed to
    military specifications for use either by an
    individual or small crew as lethal instruments of

Small Arms and Light Weapons
  • Small Arms include
  • Revolvers and self-loading pistols,
  • Rifles and carbines
  • Assault rifles
  • Light and heavy machine guns
  • Hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade
    launchers, anti-aircraft
  • Light Weapons include
  • Heavy machine-guns
  • Hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade
  • Portable anti-aircraft guns and anti-tank guns
    and recoilless rifles
  • Portable launchers of anti-tank and anti-aircraft
    missile and rocket systems
  • Mortars of calibers of less than a 100 mm

  • the uncontrolled trade in small arms has
    dramatically increased the availability of
    assault rifles, machine guns, and grenade
    launchers in regions where violence is pervasive.
    Generally, in regions afflicted by poverty and
    corruption, this accumulation of weapons has
    transformed group tensions into deadly conflict,
    children into soldiers, and communities into war
    zones. These weapons have claimed the lives of
    millions of innocent civilians in the last decade
  • (Smith and Bradley, August 2000, p.1).

What is the problem?
The majority of conflicts today, particularly
internal conflicts, are fought with light weapons
and small arms. They are the main, or only
equipment used. Small arms proliferation and
trafficking threatens human security by
increasing the likelihood, duration and lethality
of conflict.
Facts about Small Arms
  • The total number and global distribution of small
    arms is one of the greatest threats to the
    security of states and of people.
  • This class of weapon now fuels armed conflict in
    over 42 countries.
  • Experts estimate that there are more than half a
    billion small arms around the globe

Data on Arms
  • Is difficult to acquire due to
  • 1/ Secrecy surrounding production, due to
    military and political sensitivity
  • 2/ Commercial secrecy and sensitivity of
    financial information
  • 3/ Lack of agreed upon definitions
  • 4/ Black market, illegal sales and non-state
    involvement/private ownership

Facts on Arms Trade
  • In 1980, less than 200 arms manufacturing
    companies existed - today more than 600
  • (more than half are in the USA)
  • 95 countries have arms production capabilities
    60 of the 95 are known as legal small arms
  • 80 to 90 of small arms originate from the five
    permanent members of the UN Security Council, and

The Commerce of Arms
  • At least three countries qualify as major
  • China, Russia, and the United States.
  • According to one source, there are a quarter of
    a million federally licensed firearms dealers in
    the United States 20 times the number of
    McDonalds restaurants
  • (Renner, 1997 p.21)

Why is Production an Issue?
  • Production is a major issue because the longer
    large scale production continues, the greater the
    future supply of arms whose whereabouts will be
    of concern
  • (Renner, 1997)

Why are Small Arms a Big Problem?
  • Small arms and light weapons have unique
    characteristics that make them a significant
    threat to civilians and therefore a particular
    concern for organizations that assist in
    development or humanitarian relief
  • (Bonn International Centre for Conversion, 2001)

Characteristics of Small Arms
  • Portability and concealability
  • Inexpensive / accessible
  • Lethality
  • Simplicity
  • Durability

What are assault rifles?
  • The terms assault rifle and assault weapon
    are not interchangeable. The assault rifle is a
    machine gun.
  • Assault rifles are called "automatic" weapons
    because the loading and firing of a fresh
    cartridge is automatic as long as ammunition
    remains and the trigger is depressed.  Such
    weapons have been common since World War II.

Why focus on assault rifles?
  • Assault rifles are primary offensive weapons of
    modern troops and are the key symbol in the small
    arms issue
  • The assault rifle is the most notorious of the
    small arms
  • The assault rifle is the most serious instrument
    of weapons in this category in civilian deaths,
    and causes most harm

Statistics on Assault Rifles
How many are there?
  • Assault rifles have been among the weapons of
    choice in 46 of 49 deadly conflicts in the last
    ten years.
  • Global estimates of small arms indicate numbers
    of in excess of half a billion (Small Arms
    Survey, 2001) between 100 and 125 million of
    these are assault rifles (SIPRI Yearbook, 1996). 

What do the numbers mean?
Using existing global numbers of assault rifles
and no other type of weapon in the small arms
category, one could arm the entire population of
Canada, every man, woman, and child, more than
four times over. The average length of an
assault rifle is approximately 90.88 cm, if you
laid these weapons end to end, you could cover a
distance of 113,600 km, enough to circumnavigate
the globe at the equator nearly three times over.

Numbers of Assault Rifles by type
Type Country of Origin Number Manufactered ) Countries Using Countries Manufacturing
AK-47/74 Russia 70 million 78 14
FN-FAL Belgium 57 million 94 15
M-16 United States 8 million 67 7
G-3 Germany 7 million 64 18
Assault rifles and children why make the link?
  • It makes sense for the purposes of examining
    small arm proliferation
  • It is useful in examining and making clear the
    plight of child soldiers
  • They are compelling images and irresistible
    argument for microdisarmament

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Child Soldiers
  • small size, ability to move unnoticed, (little
  • fearlessness due to lack of understanding,
  • easily manipulated and intimidated
  • lack of understanding of lethal effects
  • Most aged 15-17 but can be as young as 7 years
    of age

How many children are affected?
  • UN current statistics reveal that 300,000
    children are now fighting in more than 30 armed
    conflicts around the globe
  • Thousands more face recruitment or are members of
    armed forces not currently at war

What has been recommended
  • Microdisarmament as a preventative measure.
  • Awareness raising awareness mobilizing opinion
  • Controls Codes of conduct, norms, restriction
    of sales
  • Transparency Openness in manufacture, export
    and import
  • Monitoring Tracking and tracing weapons,
    monitoring trade and stockpiles

Recommendations for the future
  • Academic research and policy recommendations are
    valuable but do not change the world
  • Passion and emotion cannot be underestimated in
    terms of mobilizing public opinion and compelling
    governments to act
  • A global phenomenon demands a community approach
    which begins at the individual level and moves up