In the mid-1980s, there were officially 13,000 firearms in circulation in New Caledonia for 145,000 inhabitants. Thirty-five years later, there are officially 62,000 firearms in circulation for 271,000 inhabitants. This means that the number of weapons in circulation has increased almost fivefold during this period, while the population has only increased by 1.8 times. It is therefore obvious that more and more people own a weapon, or even several.
These are only official statistics, the real figures are probably much higher. According to experts, there are three times as many unofficial weapons as official ones. There are therefore around 180,000 weapons in Caledonia*. There are three reasons for these figures. The first is the liberalisation of arms sales in 2009, which caused sales to explode.
Everyone buys guns
This measure has since been modified, but it is still very easy to buy a weapon. Then there is the price of the weapons, which can be low. You can buy a rifle for less than A$300. The third reason is of course the political and social situation. The non-Kanaks suspect the Kanaks of equipping themselves… just in case. The Kanaks suspect the non-Kanaks of doing the same. And that is a fact. Caledonia has not stopped arming itself in recent years. Based on the statistics of the Small Arms Survey**, we can estimate that Caledonia is the second most armed country in the world after the United States…
* This does not refer to the military, only to civilians.
** The Small Arms Survey (SAS) is an independent international network of researchers working on small arms and armed violence around the world. It is based in Switzerland.