Yemenis no longer “most heavily armed”… Americans own moreYemen 2nd to USA in arms [Archives:2003/658/Front Page]

August 11 2003

Sana'a, August 9 – The Small Arms Survey in Geneva released last week a recent report indicating that Yemen is no longer the most heavily armed country in the world. Now the USA has taken over this rank.
“The commonly repeated figure of 50 million small arms and light weapons in Yemen is a significant overestimate”, according to recent research released at the United Nations. “Our survey of guns in Yemen puts the real figure at between six and nine million small arms, or approximately 40 weapons per 100 people”, says Peter Batchelor, project director at the Small Arms Survey in Geneva, Switzerland. “Yemen should still be considered heavily armed, but it is no longer at the top of the country rankings. The United States, for example, has roughly 83-96 guns per 100 people”.
Other results from the recent Small Arms Survey report on Yemen show that despite the high number of guns in Yemen, levels of armed crime seem to be low. Most small arms appear to be legally imported into Yemen from mainly Western suppliers
In Yemen life, tribal rules rather than law are the main determinants of weapon use.
“In Yemen, the demand for small arms is grounded in local belief systems that are part and parcel of the political social order,” says Dr. Batchelor. “To understand the relationship of men of their weapons is to explore the foundations of Yemeni society”.
Meanwhile, the small arms survey 2003 confirmed this development in the third annual global analysis of small arms issues (Oxford University Press), which includes a chapter on small arms in Yemen.
The survey was recently released at the United Nations in New York, during its Biennial Meeting of States on small arms.
The survey said that an independent research project funded by 12 governments, the Small Arms Survey is the principal international source of public information and analysis on small arms issues, based at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.