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US fuels gun sales rise

AMERICAN demand for handguns has fueled a 28-percent jump this decade in world exports of pistols, rifles, shotguns and other small arms, a global report said yesterday.

The 2009 Small Arms Survey reported the United States alone was responsible for about half of the worldwide increase in legal international gun sales between 2000 and 2006.

The US accounts for over half of the world's imports of pistols and revolvers and 45 percent of shotguns, it said.

"No other country imports more than 4 percent of the global total," the 344-page report found.

It illustrated how US purchases of hand guns - which averaged US$173 million annually - have driven a sharp rise in exports from a number of countries.

Austria remained the world's largest seller of pistols and revolvers with a 25-percent jump since 2000. Seventy-five percent of its exports go to the US. Croatian exports soared almost 24 times in value since the start of the decade. The US accounted for 98 percent of its 2006 sales.

"A country can become a major global player just by developing an export market in the US," the report said.

The report, published by Geneva's Graduate Institute, uses customs data and other information supplied by 53 nations.


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