Every day, small arms and light weapons (SALW) kill, wound, and threaten millions of adults and children. Due to their widespread availability, mobility, and ease of use, prolific SALW have become central to maintaining social dislocation, destabilization, insecurity, and crime in the build-up to war, during wartime, and in the aftermath of conflict. Small arms are misused within domestic settings, as well as in public spaces, affecting everyone in the community without regard to sex or age.
The impact of these weapons can be vastly different for women and men and for girls and boys. However, careful consideration of gender and age is rare in the formulation of small arms policy, of planning small arms collection or control, or even in small arms research. To counter the effects of prolific SALW, their role in gender- and age-specific violence must be more deeply analyzed and the results applied at the policy and operational level. This work should be undertaken in war-afflicted contexts, in societies suffering from elevated levels of social violence and / or severe underdevelopment, and in those tolerant of the presence of individually owned firearms.
Contributors to the book draw on experience and research from around the world on the nexus of gender, age, violence, and small arms in developing and developed countries. They provide a number of recommendations for policies, programs, and research designed to further illuminate and counteract the firing of the “sexed pistol.”