The United States will sign the international Arms Trade Treaty on Wednesday, agreeing to the accord to stem the flow of weapons to human rights violators and conflict zones, over the strong opposition of the U.S. gun lobby, according to a senior State Department official.
The treaty, to be signed by Secretary of State John F. Kerry on behalf of President Obama, requires countries to put in place a system for keeping track of transfers of conventional weapons, from battle tanks and warships to small arms, and to ensure they are not sold to countries that are under international arms embargoes, that promote genocide or war crimes, or that might use them against protected civilians.
The National Rifle Association has said the treaty will be used to regulate civilian weapons and to create an “unacceptable” registry of civilian firearms purchasers.
The administration disagrees. The main purpose of the treaty is to “stem the international, illegal and illicit trade in conventional weapons that benefits terrorists and rogue agents,” said the official, who was authorized to anonymously announce the planned signing.