Six-nation survey finds gun crimes, fear widespread

Iran Materials 19 June 2006 12:03 (UTC +04:00)

(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 statement, reports Trend.

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 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.