Firearms regulations have existed at a national level long before international agreements in this field were adopted and consist mainly in measures aimed at ensuring the control over firearms from the processes of their manufacturing throughout its different stages until the end of their existence. National regulations on firearms are formed and developed based on interaction between various processes: development of national legal system; formation of perceptions on security in the society; and the need to respond to internal or external threats. The national regulations differ in the way they are adopted, who is enforcing them, to whom they apply and what they regulate. In the 21 th Century, the development of national regulations was influenced by the process of negotiation and adoption of legally and politically binding treaties at global and regional levels. This process has resulted in an increased level of harmonization of firearms regulations across national boundaries at sub-regional level, as well as internationally, resulting from the adoption of international and regional instruments addressing some aspects of the firearms control regimes.
Today, the development of national regulations on firearms is influenced both by the specific socio-cultural and historical context of each country, as well as increasingly by whether a country is a party to a legally binding global and/or regional instrument, and to the ability of the national institutions to transpose their international obligations into domestic legislation. This Module provides information on the formation of national policies and firearms regulation and the existing tools that can assist decision makers and legislators in the process of harmonization of national norms. It will also elaborate upon the scope of the firearms regulations.