Firearms transfers across borders may require new documentation very soon. The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) sets forth new regulations for the transfers of firearms that involve more than one country. Senator John Kerry signed off on the new regulations and the ATT is now being reviewed by the Senate. Before the ATT is adopted by the United Nations, it must be ratified by 50 or more countries. As of this writing about a handful have endorsed the treaty.

The terms of the ATT simulate a gun registration system. The treaty requires participating nations to create a database of gun buyers. There is controversy developing regarding the treaty’s alleged infringement on constitutional rights since the treaty requires a database of all end-users of imported firearms for at least ten years. This could potentially develop into a database accessible by any foreign country.

Evaluations would also be necessary for transactions. Evaluators would be required for all firearms transfers that cross borders, and transfers could be terminated if an evaluation determines the guns will be used for criminal activities.

What does the treaty mean for Americans? Americans will no longer have legal access to imported firearms. This includes regulation of firearms components and ammunition. The regulations address the nation on a larger scale; the ATT does not change systems and documentation requirements for domestic transfers of firearms.

The treaty impacts the firearms industry in general. The world’s largest firearms exporter is the United States. Just like proposed federal gun trust changes may cause lengthy documentation and review processes, compromised confidentiality, as well as added costs, the treaty requirements pose systems that require identification, more time, and resources. The cost of imported firearms and firearm components may increase as a result, affecting not only the gun owners we serve in North Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee, but the nation as a whole.