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Passage of UN Arms Trade Treaty is Product of Strong U.S. Leadership, Hails Better World Campaign



April 2, 2013

Strong, U.S.-led action in the United Nations General Assembly to pass the first-ever Arms Trade Treaty represents a historic step by the Obama Administration, the Better World Campaign said today. The treaty, which will be open for signature beginning in June, calls upon UN member states to develop and implement the kinds of systems that the United States already has in place to reduce the risk that international arms transfers will be used to carry out the world's worst crimes, including terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

In a statement, Peter Yeo, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign said:

"Today, the United States led 154 countries at the United Nations in standing up to black market arms dealers, rogue regimes, and terrorists. Utilizing its vote at the UN, the U.S. helped to pass a critical global framework to regulate the international weapons trade – closing loopholes that have long been exploited by criminals worldwide. This passage is a perfect example of the good that the U.S. can accomplish when it remains firmly engaged with the UN.

"Before today, no international laws or treaties existed to regulate the international sale of conventional weapons. In fact, as Maj. Gen. Roger R. Blunt (Ret.) has explained, 'We have international agreements regulating the cross-border sale of iPods and bananas, but we have no global treaties governing the international sale of weapons.'

"It's also important to note what this treaty does NOT do. By its own terms, and at the urging of the Obama Administration, this treaty applies only to international trade and reaffirms the sovereign right of any State – including the United States – to regulate arms within its territory. From the beginning, the United States required that this treaty would never infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.

"We commend the strong leadership of the United States on helping move the new Arms Trade Treaty forward and urge the President to continue leading by example by signing this treaty in June."

The Better World Campaign joins a chorus of support for the treaty, including numerous retired U.S. generals and admirals, the Vatican, the National Association of Evangelicals and National Council of Churches. The American Bar Association has also noted that the treaty would not in any way infringe on Second Amendment rights.

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