David Capie

Under the Gun: The Small Arms Challenge in the Pacific

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In the last fifteen years, a series of events around the South Pacific has highlighted problems with small arms and light weapons. Coups in Fiji, armed conflicts in Bougainville, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, and numerous mutinies in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu have all raised troubling questions about the control and misuse of firearms in the Pacific Islands.

Under the Gun examines the challenges presented by small arms and light weapons in the Pacific. It looks at:

* the legal framework for the regulation of firearms in Pacific states
* the legal trade in small arms in the region
* the cross-border illicit trade in small arms and ammunition
* illegal weapons and the problems they cause
* leakage of arms and ammunition from military and police armouries

David Capie concludes that effectively combating the growing small arms problem in the Pacific will require comprehensive and sustained policies by governments within the region and help from the international community. These include revising outdated firearms laws, strengthening law enforcement and securing military and police weapons. Ultimately, however, addressing the problem will require a long-term commitment to creating sustainable economic opportunities, improving levels of governance and strengthening state capacity throughout the region.

Unlike many press reports on the Pacific's deteriorating law and order problems, which are often keen to deploy anecdote rather than evidence, David Capie's book, Under the Gun: The Small Arms Challenge in the Pacific, carefully deconstructs the rumors and myths surrounding the smal larms trade that allegedly plagues the region. Capie establishes that, contrary to reports of a thriving interstate gun trade, the Pacific is "uniquely vulnerable to the threats posed by small numbers of uncontrolled firearms" ...Balanced, compelling.

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