Topic: Preventing the Illicit Arms Trade
Delegate: Nora Gauss
School: Fishers High School
The illicit arms trade is an issue that plagues many international governments. Bulgaria is no exception. In 2017, there was an estimated 244,267 illicit or unregistered firearms. More recently, in February, Bulgarian authorities had to detain and arrest an organized crime group, which was responsible for illegally obtaining and selling weapons. This incident isn’t isolated either. The Bulgarian organized crime industry, an industry that actively participates in the illicit arms trade, has been reported to be active in 15 EU Member States, spreading their practices farther than just Bulgaria. The arms trade in Bulgaria has also fallen under harsh scrutiny, with those opposed calling for legislative reform. This was due to increases in illicit arms sales in 1997, one that occurred due to police involvement. To ensure that there is less abuse in Bulgaria and so that we can reduce the illicit arms trade as a whole, the delegation of Bulgaria supports controlling and reducing the illicit arms trade.
In the past, Bulgaria has made great strides by destroying surplus weapons, so that they are less attainable to those without the proper requirements. Since a large supply of weapons is stolen from the military each year, by destroying these surplus weapons, Bulgaria is keeping the people’s safety in their best interest. Furthermore, in 2001, Bulgaria announced that we were going to screen applications for arms export licenses far more thoroughly. This action compensated for any possible fraud or foul-play that could’ve occurred. Finally, Bulgaria increased training for police officials, extended border security and customs control, and upgraded equipment. The police involvement that had previously occurred in Bulgaria has fizzled out. Plus, with the improvements the nation has made, it is one that will not revive any time soon. As another part of this effort, the Bulgarian government started to more seriously authenticate the documents provided by arms traders and brokers. These efforts, when combined, were able to substantially weaken the organized crime industry, as well as, their involvement in the illicit arms trade. The actions that Bulgaria has already taken provided a strong foundation for the legal reform that has been discussed and called upon.
The official stance that Bulgaria takes regarding the illicit arms trade is that we must work to take legal and legislative action. The topic of reforming Bulgaria’s arms industry has been in discussion for nearly 3 years and we agree that it is time to take true legislative action. In order to do so, we propose that a stricter licensing and penalty process is adopted. That way, abuse, fraud, and thievery are not only discouraged, but less likely. Bulgaria is also looking to pass legislation that would tighten security on the entire arms trade, in order to minimize the possibility of corruption or abuse. By tightening security, improving licensing policies, and raising penalties, we can ensure that the illicit arms trade is weakened.
The illicit arms trade has been running rampant in developing nations, like Bulgaria, for far too long, all at the expense of the country and the people. In order to truly combat the crimes taking place in Bulgaria, we have offered a proposal that is effective and prevents corruption among civilians or officials.
“III. The Arms Industry” Human Rights Watch,
“Bulgaria — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law” Gun Policy,
Gotev, Georgi. “Commission: Organized crime in Bulgaria is ‘unique’” Euractiv, 17 July 2012
“Reforming Bulgaria’s Arms Trade” Human Rights Watch, 3 July 2002.
Xuequan, Mu. “Bulgaria busts illegal arms trade gang” Xinhuanet, 5 February 2019.
- Nora Gauss