This book focuses on the use of small arms in violence and attempts by the state to govern the use and acquisition of these weapons. 

It is likely that hundreds of thousands of people are killed every year as a result of armed violence – in contexts ranging from war zones to domestic violence. This edited volume examines why these deaths occur, the role of guns and other weapons, and how governance can be used to reduce and prevent those deaths. Drawing on a variety of disciplines, ranging from anthropology through economics to peace and security studies, the book’s main concern throughout is that of human security – the causes and means of prevention of armed violence.

The first part of the book concerns warfare, the second armed violence and crime, and the last governance of arms and their (mis)-use. The concluding chapter builds on the contributors’ key findings and suggests priorities for future research, with the aim of forming a coherent narrative which examines what we know, why armed violence occurs, and what can be done to reduce it.

This book will be of much interest to students of small arms, security studies, global governance, peace and conflict studies, and IR.

chapter 1|10 pages


ByOwen Greene, Nicholas Marsh

part I|65 pages


chapter 2|16 pages

The tools of insurgency

A review of the role of small arms and light weapons in warfare
ByNicholas Marsh

chapter 3|14 pages

Small arms and light weapons spread and conflict

ByMike Bourne

chapter 4|21 pages

Lethal instruments

Small arms and deaths in armed conflict
ByJoakim Kreutz, Nicholas Marsh

chapter 5|13 pages

Regaining state control

Arms and violence in post-conflict countries
ByJoakim Kreutz, Nicholas Marsh, Manuela Torre

part II|83 pages

Violence within societies

chapter 6|26 pages

Armed violence within societies

ByOwen Greene, Nicholas Marsh

chapter 7|17 pages

Guns and deaths

A critical review
ByThomas Jackson, Nicholas Marsh

chapter 8|16 pages

Armed violence taking place within societies

SALW and armed violence in urban areas
ByValentina Bartolucci, Anna Betsy Kanneworff

chapter 9|23 pages

Arms, private militias and fragile state dynamics

ByOwen Greene, Ariel Macaspac Penetrante

part III|101 pages


chapter 10|20 pages

Governance and small arms and light weapons

ByOwen Greene, Nicholas Marsh

chapter 11|24 pages

Governance and control of SALW after armed conflicts

ByMike Bourne, Owen Greene

chapter 12|21 pages

Small arms and light weapons production as part of a national and global defence industry

ByDimitar Dimitrov, Peter Hall

chapter 13|20 pages

What do the natives know?

Societal mechanisms for controlling small arms
ByMichael Ashkenazi

chapter 14|15 pages

Conclusions and priorities for further research

ByOwen Greene, Nicholas Marsh