As of last week, 107 countries have signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a multilateral framework intended to regulate the global conventional cross-border arms trade, an annual $70 billion business. Among the latest to sign is the United States. Even though the U.S. is unlikely to ratify the treaty, Secretary of State John Kerry’s signature has tremendous symbolic value, as the U.S. is the number one arms trader in the world.
However, Kerry also rushed to appease America’s influential gun lobby and their base in his subsequent speech. “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,” Kerry said, trying to diffuse what is often harsh and arbitrary criticism. Indeed, the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) confirms the treaty does not “interfere with the domestic arms trade and the way a country regulates civilian possession.”
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