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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Could the US, UK, Russia, and China be called de facto gun runners?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21105 points ) February 3rd, 2011

With the US, the UK, Canada, Russia, and China providing the most arms to the world doesn’t that make then de facto gun runners? Be it child soldiers in Serra Leone, FARC in Latin America to dozens of other mini wars and border skirmishes they could not do business with out arms. They don’t own munitions factories or those that make fire arms and weapons. Even if the weapons that cause so much death got there by way of nefarious dealings by the governments they were sold too (somehow I believe only a small percent) it could not have happened without someone arming them 1st. If you could equate it to drugs wouldn’t the US, UK, Russia and China be like the cartel and those who leak them to gorilla fighters like the middle men or street dealer?

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24 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

The BATFE admitted to transporting American-made weapons into Mexico to pad their statistics about American guns being used in the drug wars down there

Just throwin’ that out there.

woodcutter's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard you shittin us?BATFE would never

TexasDude's avatar

@woodcutter, I know! They are totally the paragons of bureaucratic honesty!

YARNLADY's avatar

So you mean in a court of law? Who would claim jurisdiction?

Nullo's avatar

“Gun runners” carries with it an undertone of criminality. If your actions are above-board, then you’re fine.
@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Well, there goes any confidence that I might have had in the integrity of the federal government. Statisticians lose their jobs over that kind of dishonesty – I hope that the ones involved here are blacklisted.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

That is why I say de facto not that they actually intend to supply these conflicts to escalate then and spread the misery at least I hope they don’t. Hard to see them not in some way culpable because none of those places produce their own AK-47s, Barrett REC7, Uzis, etc. If the powers that be were not arming the 3rd world a lot of those arms would not filter into these mini wars, revolutions etc.

mammal's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central the AK-47 is counterfeited, all be it sometimes badly, in many countries.

Odysseus's avatar

Do you mean ‘are Governments guilty of crimes against humanity; warmongering; arms dealing; bullying, greed, murder and corruption ?’

NEVER ! (they are solely there to protect US, sure?)

TexasDude's avatar

@mammal, yep. Khyber Pass-made guns.

A good majority of them are not up to par in terms of metallurgy, though, and some of them are not even functional. I have a bolt-action rifle that was made in the Khyber Pass and it’s just a paperweight because it’s definitely unsafe to fire.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@mammal And that would have been harder maybe if the Soviets had not 1st abandoned so many AKs there when they left and I am sure the Chinese thought it cheaper to manufacture their own version than keep purchasing the from their pals the Soviets.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Well, it is a highly profitable business, after all, and making instruments of war is what empires do best.

mammal's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard definitely do not attempt to fire it, but that is interesting, is it a British Army rifle?

TexasDude's avatar

@mammal, yep. Here’s a kindof bad picture of it. I bought it under the impression that it was a Lee Enfield No5 “Jungle Carbine” which the British and the Commonwealth used between ‘44 and ‘47. I had wanted one for a long time and I snatched this one up when I found it. When I went to shoot it, I noticed it wouldn’t chamber the .303 British round it was designed to fire. I took it home and stripped it down and noticed that most of the metal surfaces looked like they were shaped with a hammer and a file. Soon after, I learned about the Khyber Pass gunsmiths and thus relegated this rifle to the status of conversation piece. I’ve done a lot of research about the Khyber Pass and I very nearly wound up writing my senior thesis about it. Hell, recently, I found a Khyber Pass made Large Ring Mauser C96 at a gun show for $100. There’s no way it would have been safe to fire, but it would have been a cool paperweight. Anyway, I should have been clued in that something was fishy about the Jungle Carbine when I noticed it didn’t have any markings, as the British extensively marked all of the weapons they manufactured. The Khyber Pass smiths typically don’t mark their products, or they mark them in unusual ways that are obvious to the educated eye.

mammal's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard i guessed .303. WWII era but for some reason i was thinking, maybe further back, Victorian era, they had bolt action rifles then, no magazine though, fascinating about the Kyber Pass gunsmiths though.

woodcutter's avatar

the ubiquitous AK-47 is the gun importers/runners tool of choice. Cheap too. They are robust and will last 50 years or more with minimal care, way beyond the conflict at the time. Our troops in Afghanistan are still finding some of those they provided to the Mujaheddin when the Soviets were there. Sure they have no finish on them and the barrels are shot out, but they still run. An M-16 will be useless after a few months without the necessary tune ups and logistical support. Nobody wants them. I would take one as long as I keep the AK too.

TexasDude's avatar

@mammal, yep, you might have been thinking of the Martini-Henry, which is one of the most commonly copied guns of the Khyber Pass, and also happened to be the British standard service rifle for most of the late 19th century (I have a real British/Nepalese made Martini-Henry in my collection that I’m very proud of). Oddly enough, when I had a cast made of the bore of my “Jungle Carbine,” it turned out to be roughly chambered for the 7.62×39 cartridge, which is what the AK uses. Coincidence?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

So an innovative way to stop the carnage is to let them produce for themselves cheap knock off weapons that won’t fire or at worst blow up in some fools face then the rest will be leery of using them.

TexasDude's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central that pretty much happens already. The thing is, though, that the quality of the Khyber Pass gunsmith (and other regional smiths’) work varies greatly. While my Jungle Carbine may be a useless paperweight that would blow up if I managed to cram a cartridge into it, these guys are also capable of making weapons that are almost indistinguishable in form and function from the real deal. And these guys also have plenty of original firearms in serviceable condition as well, so it’s not like they are relying on their local shoddy smiths to supply them (these guys also make a lot of guns for the tourist trade. I know a Marine who bought a Martini-Henry from one… he also was shot at by a pellet-rifle wielding fighter, so it really goes to show that you can’t really accurately judge how well-armed or poorly armed these folks are.

What to actually do about this issue is beyond me. Outright prohibition is a pipe dream. I know I wouldn’t want to volunteer to go door-to-door in Somalia and politely ask them to hand me their AKs. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to knock on the Pentagon or MI6 and say “hey guys… could you… like… uh… not give weapons to people that want to kill us? Kthxbai.” Honestly, I don’t really think there is a solution… but that’s just me.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@woodcutter I remember hearing a story about an officer in Vietnam finding an AK on a half buried VC soldier. It had been under the muck for months, maybe years. He cleaned out the barrel with a rag on a stick, chambered a round, and emptied the magazine without a problem.

Pretty hard to mess it up beyond function, which is why I bought one.

woodcutter's avatar

@incendiary_dan hence their extreme popularity among the working man (and terrorist )who doesn’t have 8–900 bucks to pay for a basic rifle. Then there are the magazines that(for the time being) are also dirt cheap. A no frills gun you can grab now the way it’s sitting and go. You don’t really need to clean it and it WILL run all day long and is accurate enough. If you are a minimalist like I am there is no other choice. Kalashnikov…there is no substitute. :)

incendiary_dan's avatar

Thinking about this more, I find myself puzzled. On the one hand, I’d really just prefer a less violent world, and as much as I’m always the first to point out that the existence of weapons doesn’t make people violent, I also understand that superpowers and arms corporations will try to instigate violence when it’s profitable to them. On the other hand, the prevalence of all these weapons makes it easier for legitimate rebel groups to wage insurrections and revolts against tyrants. I generally support such resistance movements. Then again, many of these weapons end up in the hands of the tyrants’ pawns anyway, and I know there are tons of examples of resistance groups making some ingenious weapons out of scrap. And those resistance movements generally wouldn’t need them if the tyrants didn’t also have them.

Much to consider.

woodcutter's avatar

@incendiary_dan so true. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.

Nullo's avatar

@woodcutter I’d say that your statement requires certain contextual elements in order to be true. Specifically, elements regarding the type of terrorist and the circumstances under which he acts.
Compare La Résistance française and the sorts of people who take hostages and make absurd demands, or blow up clinics that test drugs on animals. I want 3 pages, APA format, on my desk by the end of class on Friday.

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