With the stroke of a pen, the world’s largest arms exporter signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the United Nations this week amid widespread international praise. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States accounts for approximately 30 percent of the world’s arms deliveries, making its participation critical to the agreement’s success.
“Today’s signing of the Arms Trade Treaty by the United States is a significant victory for human rights and development,” Oxfam America President Raymond Offenheiser said on Wednesday.
“The US is the world’s foremost arms exporter, and US signature is a powerful step demonstrating the United States’ commitment to preventing mass atrocities and protecting civilians from armed conflict,” Offenheiser added.
But Secretary of State Kerry’s signature is not the final say on whether or not Washington will actually join the agreement. The US Senate still has to ratify the ATT. Senators from both parties have voiced concern that the treaty could infringe on Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms. Many have vowed to vote against the agreement.
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