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The UK makes the top 3 for most transparent arms traders in the world

A recent project by the Small Arms Survey looked at seven key features of reporting and applied them to how nations’ release their firearms trading statistics. The figures that emerged showed that the UK places 3rd on the transparency league table - further promoting the fact that it’s one of the safest places to own a gun.


What is the Transparency Barometer?

This year's Transparency Barometer looks at the 49 largest arms exporters worldwide and ranks them on a scale from best to worst, judging by each ones reporting standards when it comes to arms-trading activity - focusing on 2015 in particular. This report is now more accurate than ever and has just started using data from both the Barometer assesses Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and UN Programme of Action on small arms (PoA) to get a better reading of each exporters’ transparency. To give you an idea of how detailed the new results are, no nation in the report achieved full marks.


The maximum amount of points a nation can score is 25 and can be granted by submitting annual and initial reports to the Arms Trade Treaty - mandatory data can score you up to 17.75 points, but you can improve your score based on certain voluntary information that you can release also. The six main factors that are taken into account are as follows:


Timeliness: You’ll get full points for submitting your report sooner than 13 months after the period in question.


Access and consistency:

If you give consent to have your report displayed for public access on the ATT website, then you can get full marks here too. If you manage to comply with this for a continuous period of 3 years, the marks for consistency will be awarded too.



This section offers points for being explicit when it comes to security measures, public safety and logistical planning. If a nation is able to demonstrate the controls they have in place to aid laws, regulations, administrative procedures, and exportation control, as well as regulating the delivery and brokering of small arms.



Here it’s all about the detail and depth of your figures and how far you’ve gone to provide numbers and explanations of your exports. A nation is expected to hand over information for any exportation that they take part in but is credited further if the details of these trades are recorded for each shipment. You should be able to keep track of how many items were exported, what value they hold, what was included in the contents and who imported it.


This category ties on with the final two elements also, where all of these extra figures are expected to be released, but this time in terms of Deliveries only, as well as the Licenses that the exporter has been granted.


The Results


transparency barometer

(The Small Arms Survey 2018 - Transparency Barometer for major exporters in the year 2015)


The Small Arms Trade collected the data that was submitted by the largest members of both the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Programme of Action and placed them all on a visual barometer; the most transparent at the top, the least nearer the bottom. Based on their findings Switzerland was the world’s most transparent nation with a score of 21.75 points - this put them quite clearly ahead of anyone else. Not only did they show impressive results on mandatory data, but went extra lengths to display data that wasn’t required. Second and third places were occupied by the Netherlands and the UK, who both scored exactly the same points total of 20.00. Italy and Serbia made up the top 5.

This not only shows that the UK isn’t afraid to be open and honest about their firearm trading exploits, but they’re completely aware of everything that’s going on with their exportation industry. Not only that, but they understand how to conduct firearms trade in a safe and controlled fashion.


At the bottom of the pile, was the United Arab Emirates who scored 0 - they have chosen not to report to any of the regulatory organisations for some years, alongside North Korea who has no data to display either.