The Small Arms Data Observatory (SADO) is an international consortium of researchers. While not based in any one location, many of SADO’s resources and contributors are housed at the Joan B. Kroc School for Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. SADO is devoted to the quantitative study of small arms – their manufacture, trade, and effects. It seeks to leverage the growing availability of large and medium-sized data sets, employ innovative statistical and geographic methods, and build online visualization tools, to bring greater transparency to the dynamics of small arms supply, demand, and use. Such transparency will in turn facilitate the crafting of more effective public policy to limit small arms to legitimate uses.
In contrast to other U.S. research groups, SADO will include international dimensions of small arms, including their use by non-state armed actors and cross-border trafficking. It will therefore find a natural partner in the Kroc School’s own Trans-Border Institute (TBI), as well as the USD-based Justice in Mexico Project. SADO’s leading experts on violent crime, arms, and arms trade are based in the United States, Norway, Brazil, Spain, and elsewhere.
The group will engage in four principal activities:
- Data: Compiling, generating, cataloguing, updating, maintaining, and disseminating reliable datasets related to small arms (especially firearms) and ammunition manufacture, trade, use, and effects.
- Analysis: Producing high-quality descriptive and inferential analytic processing and linking of the datasets for publication as accessible and policy-relevant reports, as well as technical (peer-reviewed) and popular articles for academic and media release.
- Public service and consulting: Creating user-friendly online visualization tools that build public understanding of the complex issues relating to both the supply-side and the demand-side of the industry. Provide background and consulting reports to industry, civil society organizations, regulatory agencies, and policymakers.
- Professional and public relations: Serving as the principal U.S. point of contact for small arms-related research, policymaking, and media inquiries.
The website serves as a repository for SADO-generated and SADO-compiled datasets, as well as working papers that employ the innovative quantitative methodologies that the group hopes to champion.