Citation(s) from the literature library

Stohl, Rachel and Doug Tuttle. 2014 ‘The Small Arms Trade in Latin America [Domestic and Craft Production].’ North American Congress on Latin America, Reporting on the Americas. New York NY: North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). 13 October

Relevant contents

In addition to international smuggling, the diversion of domestic production and privately owned stocks contributes to illicit ownership in Latin America. Domestic production is most important in Brazil; about 80% of the illegal guns in Rio de Janeiro are made domestically, according to the Small Arms Survey, and police records indicate that between April 1999 and June 2005, 72% of illegal firearms seized by Brazilian police were domestically made.(15) The majority of these firearms were legally produced and sold, and then diverted to illicit markets through sale, trade, or theft.

Craft production—crude, small-scale, handmade production of weapons—has been documented in Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and El Salvador, and also fuels the illicit trade. In Chile, for example, craft production is economically insignificant but used to provide weapons for criminal groups. Homemade firearms, known as armas hechizas, are used by street gangs for local crime. Although not exported, the weapons are used regularly by groups that have difficulty acquiring weapons because of short supplies and strict legal restrictions on gun purchases.(16)

In parts of Central America, youth gangs assemble makeshift pistols out of bedsprings and metal tubing. In Santa Ana, El Salvador, informal workshops can produce imitations of .22- and .38-caliber pistols.(17) More sophisticated and larger-scale craft production also takes place. Since the 1990s, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Colombian drug cartels have been producing 9 mm submachine guns that mimic the U.S.-made Intratec 9, better known as the Saturday Night Special. Similar types of craft production have also begun to emerge in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil…(18)

Sources cited:

15) Small Arms Survey, Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business (Oxford University Press), p. 84.
16) Small Arms Survey, Small Arms Survey 2003: Development Denied (Oxford University Press), pp. 28–29.
17) Godnick et al., "Stray Bullets," p. 8.
18) Pablo Dreyfus, interview by Shelley de Botton, "Homemade Handguns: Weapons Seizures Point to Growing Trend in Brazil," Comunidad Segura, September 28, 2006.

ID: Q11852

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