Thousands of Small Arms Destroyed in Lima

Some 2,573 small arms were destroyed in a programme organized by the Government of Peru and DDA’s Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean from 3 to 6 November 2002. Around 70% of the guns were revolvers, 20% rifles (including shotguns), 10% semi-automatics, plus some carbines and sub-machineguns. About 20-30% were still operable.

The weapons had been collected and stored by Peru’s Department of the Interior. After inspection, they were melted at a private foundry in Lima, then molded into a statue of a dove to be placed in the El Oliver Park as a monument to peace and non-violence.

The verification was conducted in three phases: physical inspection (clearance) to make sure that no small arms remained loaded; a check of the types, models, makes, serial numbers and/or the stock record/inventory of the Ministry of the Interior; and the actual count. 

Clearance involved team members aligning all the weapons in one direction in case of unexpected firing and a team leader checking if weapons were loaded. The clearing process is also essential to secure the safe melting process.

According to a DDA staff member who participated in the destruction programme, the Peruvian national police provided a truck and an escort of two vans and two motorcycles, blocking traffic to facilitate the transport of the small arms. 

The private foundry, MEPSA, in which the verified small arms were melted, used temperatures of up to 3,500 Celsius in its furnace to accomplish the meltdown. 

Following the destruction, a public ceremony was held at El Oliver Park in San Isidro, attended by several local schools and including performances by the police fife and drum band. A destruction certificate signing ceremony, a video presentation of the destruction process, a symbolic destruction of rifles b