Secretary of State John Kerry signed the International Arms Trade Treaty today at UN. The treaty took more than a month to negotiate and would regulate the international trade of conventional weapons to curb illegal arms and ammunition trafficking to organized crime, terrorists and militias.
The treaty also plainly states that it will not interfere with a country's domestic gun laws, the right to bear arms or ban the export of any specific type of weapon. It also cannot harm a country's legitimate right to self-defense. The United States was particularly active in negotiating these caveats, but gun-rights groups remain adamantly opposed.
The NRA, for example, has warned that some of the regulations that would require officials importing and exporting weapons to collect information on sellers and buyers would be a violation of the Second Amendment. The United States is one of the world's largest arms exporters.
Kerry tried to knock down the criticism in his remarks as he signed the treaty.
"This treaty will not diminish anyone's freedom," said the secretary. "In fact, the treaty recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess, and use arms for legitimate purposes."
But the Obama administration has an uphill battle in getting this treaty ratified, which would require two-thirds of the Senate to approve it. Already Republican Senators have threatened to block the measure.
In his statement today Kerry tried to assure the American people that the treaty has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.
"Make no mistake, we would never think about supporting a treaty that is inconsistent with the rights of Americans, the rights of American citizens, to be able to exercise their guaranteed rights under our constitution," he said. " This is about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue actors. This is about reducing the risk of international transfers of conventional arms that will be used to carry out the world's worst crimes."