Survey: Legal arms trade worth $8.5 billion

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) – A new survey by independent researchers says the value of the legal trade in small arms, light weapons, their parts and ammunition is at least $8.5 billion annually – more than double the previous estimate of $4 billion in 2006.

The 2012 Small Arms Survey said the increase is due to a number of factors – large-scale government purchases especially during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, increased spending by American civilians on foreign weapons and ammunition and better information.

Eric Berman, the survey’s managing director, told reporters Monday it took four years to review the government-authorized small arms trade and researchers are now examining the illicit trade.

He estimated that the value of the legal and illegal small arms trade combined is over $10 billion annually.

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