A revised draft of a new U.N. treaty to regulate the multibillion dollar global arms trade raised hopes from supporters and the British government, which has been the leading proponent, that an historic agreement could be reached by Friday’s deadline for action.
The draft circulated late Thursday closed several loopholes in the original text, though the Washington-based Arms Control Association said further improvements are still needed to strengthen measures against illicit arms transfers.
A spokesman for Britain’s U.N. Mission, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the new text is “a substantial improvement” and “an historic agreement that effectively regulates the international trade in conventional arms is now very close.”
The estimated $60 billion international arms trade is unregulated, though countries including the U.S. have their own rules on exports.
Opponents in the U.S., especially the powerful National Rifle Association, have portrayed the treaty as a surrender of gun ownership rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. The issue of gun control, always politically explosive one for American politicians, has re-emerged since last week’s shooting at a Colorado cinema killed 12 people.
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