Gun Control International Agreements

Gun control is a hotly debated topic around the world, as countries struggle with balancing the right to bear arms with concerns over public safety. While many countries have their own laws governing gun ownership and usage, there are also a number of international agreements and initiatives aimed at regulating the global trade in firearms. In this article, we`ll take a closer look at some of the key international agreements related to gun control, and what they mean for countries and citizens around the world.

The Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is perhaps the most well-known and comprehensive international agreement related to gun control. Developed in 2013 and signed by over 100 countries, the treaty aims to regulate the international trade in conventional weapons, including firearms. The treaty sets out a series of criteria that countries must meet before allowing weapons to be exported, including ensuring that the weapons will not be used to commit human rights abuses or violate international law.

While the ATT is not binding, signatory nations are expected to implement its provisions in their own national laws and policies. However, there has been some controversy around the treaty, with some countries, including the United States, refusing to ratify it.

The United Nations Programme of Action

Another key international initiative related to gun control is the United Nations Programme of Action (PoA) on small arms and light weapons. Adopted in 2001, the PoA is a non-binding agreement that seeks to promote the responsible transfer, storage, and use of firearms in order to reduce their illicit trade and misuse. The PoA also encourages countries to establish national legislation and policies that align with its goals.

Since its adoption, the PoA has been periodically reviewed and updated by participating countries. However, its effectiveness has been criticized by some who argue that it does not go far enough to address the root causes of gun violence.

The Firearms Protocol to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

The Firearms Protocol is an international agreement that aims to combat the illicit trade in firearms, particularly those involved in transnational organized crime. Adopted in 2001 as part of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the protocol establishes a series of measures that participating countries must implement in order to prevent, detect, and investigate the trafficking of illegal firearms.

Some of the key provisions of the Firearms Protocol include the requirement that countries keep records of firearm imports and exports, and the establishment of procedures for the marking and tracing of firearms. While the protocol is only binding on countries that have ratified it, it has been widely praised for its effectiveness in reducing the flow of illegal firearms across borders.


While there is no single international agreement that can solve all of the issues related to gun control, these initiatives represent an important step forward in regulating the global trade in firearms and promoting responsible gun ownership. By working together and implementing these agreements in their own national laws and policies, countries can help to reduce the incidence of gun violence and ensure that firearms are used safely and responsibly.