This article traces the rise of small arms and light weapons control into the international agenda. It contends that a norm building process happened throughout the 1990s focusing on creating standards and measures seeking to curb the unrestricted availability of small arms worldwide, especially their illicit small arms trafficking, in all aspects. This articles also points to a change in the arms control paradigm: from one that did not pay attention to small arms as a separate subject of arms control to a new one where small arms became a subject of importance in the international security agenda. In these processes, the author unveils who were the most important actors in the complex and multi-layered process of placing a new subject in the spotlight of international action. It finishes by describing the legal and political framework existent at the disposal of states and non-governmental organizations, i.e. treaties, conventions, and programs for research and action on small arms control.
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