Carla Martinez Machain, Jeffrey Pickering | Journal of Global Security Studies
Empirical research has increasingly turned its attention to ways that international phenomena impact the human condition within countries. International influences have been shown to affect human rights, health, and quality of life within societies. They may also impact microlevel phenomena such as violent criminal behavior. In this study, we build on such recent scholarship and research that bridges the theoretical and empirical gap between international relations research and criminology. Our analysis examines the cross-national relationship between interstate small arms transfers and domestic homicide rates. We suspect that some proportion of weapons from the legal small arms trade find their way into the hands of societal actors and that a prevalence of firearms in society may be associated with elevated homicide rates. State strength should mitigate this relationship, as strong states should have greater ability to manage and to control legal arms shipments than their weaker counterparts. Cross-national empirical tests of small arms flows and homicide rates from 2000 to 2014 support our theoretical claims. They also demonstrate that legal small arms transfers impact only certain types of violent crimes.