Mara Herrmann is a program associate for UN relations at the United Nations Foundation. She previously worked as an intern at the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy in New York on UN reform; at Columbia University’s Initiative for Policy Dialogue, researching economic policy and development; and at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s media department in Paris. Herrmann graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 2009 and studied international relations and diplomacy at the American Graduate School in Paris.
The United Nations finalized work on its Arms Trade Treaty last month, in time for a 2012 deadline, adopting a declaration in favor of limiting illegal arms sales across borders. The treaty’s aim is to prevent the international trade of illegal weapons from getting into the hands of those who could hurt civilians, in places like Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Yet U.S. gun-rights advocates remain fiercely opposed to it, calling it a threat to American liberties despite the fact that the treaty explicitly does not cover the sale of domestic U.S. firearms. The UN General Assembly resolution, which began the treaty process, says, in part, “The right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through national constitutional protections on private ownership, exclusively within their territory.”