German small arms exports hit record high

The Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper has reported that German small arms sales hit an all-time high in 2012.

German weapons manufacturers earned more revenues in 2012 through small arms sales than in any previously recorded year, a Munich newspaper says.

According to a report published in the Monday edition of the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, in 2012, the value of German companiesâ„¢ small arms exports was double the figure for the preceding year, with sales of small arms and their components generating some 76.15 million euros ($98.5 million). Small arms exports earned German companies 37.9 million euros ($49 million) in 2011.

German weapons manufacturers signed many contracts for small arms exports in 2012, including one for 6.5 million euros ($8.4 million) with Saudi Arabia.

The second most profitable year over the past decade and a half was 2009, when 70.4 million euros ($91 million) in German small arms were exported.

German arms manufacturersâ„¢ least profitable year from small arms exports over the 15-year period was 2011, when they earned 37.9 million euros ($49 million).

The report was published after the opposition Left party filed a formal parliamentary request to the Federal Economy Ministry, requesting the 2012 figures.

Left party MP Jan van Aken said that the German government should be banning arms exports, not doubling them.

Å“In Afghanistan, Taliban soldiers are shooting German soldiers with German weapons,” he noted, adding that exported guns are almost impossible to control after they leave the country.

Å“Small arms are the weapons of mass destruction of the 21st century,” Aken stated.

Germany defines small arms according to European Union standards. Handguns, machine pistols, light machine guns, and small explosives like hand grenades or land mines fall into this category.

Portable rocket launchers and larger machine guns that usually need two or more people to operate are instead classified as light arms.

Exporting small weapons is a highly controversial issue since they are used to kill far more people than heavy weapons.

Amnesty International estimates that 1,000 people lose their lives every day because of gunshot wounds inflicted by small arms.

Small arms are the hardest weapons to keep track of and are widely distributed in conflict zones.

MP/HGL

This article originally appeared on: Press TV