UN human rights report calls on gun industry to reduce gun violence

June 20, 2023

(WASHINGTON) Global Action on Gun Violence (GAGV) applauds a new United Nations report that recommends actions that member countries and firearms companies should take to reduce gun violence. While the UN has long urged governments to take action on guns, this report marks the first time that the body has addressed the role that the gun industry plays in fueling violence. The report relies in part on input from GAGV.

Released by the UN High Commission on Human Rights, the report includes several recommendations, including calling on nations to:

  • “restrict the acquisition, possession and use of firearms by civilians and introduce requirements pertaining to the manufacture and sale of firearms;”
  • prohibit deceptive marketing that links gun possession to increased safety;
  • not provide special protections for the gun industry.

The High Commission calls on gun companies to:

  • institute ways to track injury, death, and crime caused by their products;
  • stop marketing to children and teens;
  • adopt human rights policies in consultation with victims of gun violence; 
  • lobby for legislation that increases firearms safety and investigations.

“This important report makes clear that the gun crisis is a massive global human rights problem that the United States and the gun industry have a responsibility to take action to prevent,” said GAGV president Jonathan Lowy. “We know the source of the problem – the reckless gun industry that puts its unquenchable thirst for profits over human rights and public safety, and weak laws that enable reckless gun sales. It is gratifying to see the United Nations call for concrete action. The United States and the gun industry should listen.”

GAGV will continue to work with the UN and other international organizations to push for action that reduces gun deaths. “GAGV is partnering with people and governments harmed by gun violence, to stop gun companies from supplying the crime gun pipeline,” said Lowy. With GAGV as co-counsel, Mexico has filed two groundbreaking lawsuits against the firearms industry for the harm caused by guns trafficked over the border from the United States.

The report, “Impact of the civilian acquisition, possession and use of firearms,” A/HRC/53/49, was released in advance of the 53rd session of the Human Rights Council, which is meeting in Geneva, June 19-July 14.