Arms Trade Treaty an important milestone, says Susan Waltz

August 1, 2013

The Arms Trade Treaty, which would staunch the worldwide flow of military-grade weapons, passed easily at the UN General Assembly in April, by a vote of 154-3 with 23 abstentions. Opened for ratification on June 3, the treaty will go into effect once 50 countries have ratified it.

But in the United States—which voted for the treaty—the Senate determines final ratification, and more than fifty senators have already signaled opposition, reports ABA Journal, largely because they perceive the document will negatively impact the second amendment right to bear arms. The ABA Center for Human Rights produced a white paper, however, that concludes the treaty "would not require new domestic regulations of firearms."

Despite Senate opposition, however, the treaty is an important milestone, says Susan Waltz. "We have human rights and humanitarian law conditions imposed on the lawful transfer of weapons, and that is a first."