The Arms Trade Treaty, which establishes common standards governing international weapons transfers, will officially enter into force on Christmas Eve. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has supported the passage of the Arms Trade Treaty since its inception, urging evangelicals to pray for treaty negotiations and advocating for strong involvement from the United States in the process.

“On a day when Christians remember the angels’ message of peace through the birth of the promised Prince of Peace, we celebrate this modest, but important step toward peace around the world,” said Galen Carey, NAE Vice President of Government Relations. “With the Arms Trade Treaty in place, it will be harder for unscrupulous regimes, criminals, illegal militias and terrorist groups to buy weapons often used to kill civilians.”

The United States has had some of the strongest laws in the world regulating the import and export of weapons, but many countries have had no laws or regulations at all. The push for transparency in international arms trading gained significant momentum among other nations as the Arms Trade Treaty was debated. The agreement does not regulate domestic gun sales or ownership.

On April 2, 2013, 154 nations, including the United States, approved the Arms Trade Treaty in a meeting in New York. The United States signed the treaty in September 2013. To date, the treaty has been signed by 130 countries and ratified by 60 countries.

The NAE hopes that the Arms Trade Treaty will lead to fewer illegally acquired weapons threatening missionaries and humanitarian workers and the people they serve.

“This Christmas, the Arms Trade Treaty is an answer to our prayers and to the prayers of many who live violent places around the world,” Carey said. “Now we must hold our leaders accountable to implement this agreement.”