June 18, 2006

Six-nation survey finds gun crimes, fear widespread

LONDON (Reuters) - Three in 10 people questioned in a
six-nation survey have been the victim of gun crime or know
someone who has been in the last five years, gun control
campaigners said on Monday.

The survey of about 1,000 people in each of Brazil,
Britain, Canada, Guatemala, India and South Africa found
widespread support for tighter international restrictions on
trade in firearms, the Control Arms campaign said in a

Control Arms is a joint initiative by human rights group
Amnesty International, charity Oxfam International and the
International Action Network on Small Arms, made up of hundreds
of groups from around the world seeking tighter gun controls.

The survey, carried out by pollsters Ipsos MORI in April
and May, was released a week before a major United Nations
conference on illicit trade in small arms opens in New York.

Control Arms says there are around 640 million small arms
and light weapons in the world and eight million more are
produced each year. Weapons kill more than 1,000 people every
day, it says.

Control Arms called on governments to introduce global
principles to regulate transfers of weapons and ensure that
they do not end up in the hands of human rights abusers.

Thirty percent of respondents in the six countries said
that either they, someone in their family or someone they knew
had been threatened, injured or killed with a gun in the last
five years.

The number of people answering "yes" to the question ranged
from three percent in India, nine percent in Canada and 11
percent in Britain to 51 percent in both Brazil and Guatemala
and 54 percent in South Africa.

More than 60 percent of those questioned said they were
"worried about becoming a victim of armed violence," with
Brazil recording the highest figure at 94 percent and Canada
the lowest at 36 percent.

An average of 62 percent of all those surveyed said it was
too easy to obtain a gun in their country.

Eighty-seven percent of all respondents wanted "strict
international controls on where weapons can be exported to" and
89 percent backed better controls on arms coming into their
country, the survey found.