There are several methods for tracing ammunition for small arms and light weapons but despite the range of techniques available, there are tragic failings in tracing, including a lack of registration and suitable marking.
Nevertheless, given the technological innovations that existed in 2008 and under pressure from international bodies, if they had the firm desire to do so, national governments would be able to hugely improve their small arms marking, registration and tracing practices.
Not interested in great transparency in this sensitive area, states seem to be getting round the handful of regional and international agreements that attempt, with little success, to ensure ammunition is included in the legislation.
While there has not been any notable progress in marking, one should not expect any increase in transparency or efficiency in managing the storage of munitions, as most countries refuse to publish information in this connection.
This report examines the procedures in existence in 2008, showing that effective tracing of ammunition is perfectly possible by means of appropriate legislation and innovative technology.