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Gun control - Definition


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Gun control (or firearms regulation) is the set of laws or policies that regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification, or use of firearms by civilians.

Most countries have a restrictive firearm guiding policy, with only a few legislations being categorized as permissive. Jurisdictions that regulate access to firearms typically restrict access to only certain categories of firearms and then to restrict the categories of persons who will be granted a license to have access to a firearm. In some countries such as the United States, gun control may be legislated at either a federal level or a local state level.

Gun control refers to domestic regulation of firearm manufacture, trade, possession, use, and transport, specifically with regard to the class of weapons referred to as small arms (revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, assault rifles, submachine guns and light machine guns).

Usage of the term gun control is sometimes politicized. Some of those in favor of legislation instead prefer to use terms such as "gun-violence prevention", "gun safety", "firearms regulation", "illegal guns", or "criminal access to guns".

In 2007, it was estimated that there were, globally, about 875 million small arms in the hands of civilians, law enforcement agencies, and armed forces. Of these firearms 650 million, or 75%, are held by civilians. U.S. civilians account for 270 million of this total. A further 200 million are controlled by state military forces.  Law enforcement agencies have some 26 million small arms. Non-state armed groups have about 1.4 million firearms. Finally, gang members hold between 2 and 10 million small arms. Together, the small arms arsenals of non-state armed groups and gangs account for, at most, 1.4% of the global total.

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