Weapons Compass: The Caribbean Firearms Study

Anne-Séverine Fabre, Nicolas Florquin, Aaron Karp, and Matt Schroeder

The Caribbean region suffers from some of the world’s highest rates of violent deaths, at almost three times the global average, as well as one of the world’s highest rates of violent deaths among women. Firearms are used in more than half of all homicides, with this proportion reaching 90 per cent in some countries. While much emphasis has been placed on firearms control at both the political and operational levels, illicit firearms, and the dynamics of illicit arms markets in this region have received little research attention. The multiple impacts of these realities on the region can be seen via human consequences, socio-economic implications, and security challenges.
Weapons Compass: The Caribbean Firearms Study—a joint report from the Small Arms Survey and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS)—examines firearm holdings, illicit arms and ammunition, trafficking patterns and methods, and the socio-economic costs of firearm-related violence in the region. This Report examines these issues by drawing on data and information collected from 13 of the 15 CARICOM member states and from 22 Caribbean states in total. The study also incorporates the results of original fieldwork undertaken by regional partners, including interviews with prison inmates serving firearm-related sentences, and research in selected hospitals related to gunshot wounds and the associated medical costs and productivity losses for patients.