U.S. responds to passage of Arms Trade Treaty

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised the passage of the Arms Trade Treaty on Tuesday by the U.N. General Assembly and said the treaty was effective, strong and implementable.

Kerry said the treaty would create a common international standard for conventional arms regulation, reduce the risk of terrorism and war crimes and preserve conventional arms trade as an acceptable commercial activity.

"The treaty adopted today will establish a common international standard for the national regulation of the international trade in conventional arms and require all states to develop and implement the kind of systems that the United States already has in place," Kerry said. "It will help reduce the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world's worst crimes, including terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. At the same time, the treaty preserves the principle that the international conventional arms trade is, and will continue to be, a legitimate commercial activity that allows nations to acquire the arms they need for their own security."

Kerry affirmed that the treaty will not infringe upon the rights of Americans, including the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"By its own terms, this treaty applies only to international trade, and reaffirms the sovereign right of any State to regulate arms within its territory," Kerry said. "As the United States has required from the outset of these negotiations, nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment."

The U.N. General Assembly passed the treaty on Tuesday by a 154-3 vote with 23 countries abstaining. The only countries that voted against the treaty were Syria, Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.