(CNSNews.com) - The United Nations General Assembly Thursday approved a gun control treaty that calls on all nations to work together "to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts and components, and ammunition."
The treaty is supposed to make it easier to crack down on illegal gun trafficking by helping authorities trace the global movement of all new weapons. It must be signed and ratified by at least 40 countries before it becomes international law.
The signing period runs from July 1 through Dec. 12, 2002.
Under terms of the treaty, all new firearms would have to be marked with a serial number and the place of manufacture; nations would have to set up import-export licensing procedures; and they would also be required to keep records on all guns, parts, and ammunition made within their borders for ten years.
The treaty also calls on nations to pass laws making the illicit manufacture and sale of firearms a criminal offense. Press reports said numerous countries have concerns about the treaty, which raises questions about whether it will ever take effect.
National Rifle Association Executive Director Wayne LaPierre was unavailable for comment Friday, according to an NRA spokesperson.
However, the Gun Owners of America isn't surprised at the U.N. action, according to spokesman Erich Pratt.
"This comes as no surprise because the U.N. is very much against the right of self defense. What they are doing now in terms of tracing has not been effective in curbing crime. It has not even been effective in helping authorities find the perpetrators of crime. Anywhere you look, gun control has failed to cut crime," Pratt said.
"But one thing that gun control has been effective at," Pratt said, "is registering law abiding gun owners, and that seems to be what this treaty is aimed at encouraging governments to do is to register gun owners and being able to track law abiding gun owners," he said.
"That, of course, concerns us very much, since, historically, registration has been a first step to confiscation of firearms," Pratt added.
Handgun Control, Incorporated had no comment.