Representatives from throughout the world will reconvene in New York City on March 18 in an attempt to strengthen global efforts to control the sales and transfers of firearms and ammunition, the United Nations announced March 14 in an emailed news release.
U.N. officials expect 193 nations to be represented at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-boon said "regulates international transfers of both weapons and ammunition and provides for common standards for exporting States. These standards are important for assessing the risks that transferred weapons are not used to fuel conflict, arm criminals or abet violations of international humanitarian or human rights law."
A draft version of the proposed treaty is available for reading online.
U.N. officials insist the treaty would not attempt to place limitations on private ownership of firearms and ammunition by citizens of the United States.
"The global trade in conventional arms is a legitimate business. Many now feel that this type of trade should be subject to common international rules and regulations as is the case for the global trade in other commodities," U.N. officials stated in a handout for members of the news media. "Most countries have national controls on the import and export of arms. However, the lack of common international standards makes it easier for unscrupulous arms merchants to exploit gaps and loopholes."
The treaty also takes aim at stockpiles of ammunition.
"In contexts of sustained use, ammunition stockpiles are rapidly depleted. Preventing their resupply in unlawful situations should be a matter of prime concern," according to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. "Furthermore, these stockpiles present a two-fold problem of security and safety - research shows that much of the non-State actors' ammunition are illicitly diverted from State security forces, and ammunition warehouses located in densely populated areas have exploded in a number of countries, causing thousands of casualties. Therefore, security as well as safety measures with regard to ammunition stockpiles need to be urgently addressed."