WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the following statement in response to President Obama call for the ratification of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives, and Other Related Materials Treaty. It is commonly known by its Spanish acronym CIFTA:
"I welcome President Obama's support for CIFTA. It sends an important message of our country's commitment to help address the violence in Mexico which is spiraling out of control in part because of the easy flow of weapons from the United States to Mexico and throughout Latin America.
"As I said two weeks ago at our hearing in El Paso on border violence, I support the convention and plan to work for its approval by the Senate.
"We heard testimony at our hearing regarding drug cartel violence in Mexico carried out with assault rifles, "cop-killer" handguns and weapons smuggled into the country from the United
States. Mexican and U.S. authorities estimate that 90 percent of the weapons that were traced came from the United States.
"This convention is common sense, modeled on U.S. laws and regulations and the National Rifle Association was consulted at every step in the negotiation to make sure that the end result was
acceptable to the United States.
"The treaty serves two primary functions. It requires parties throughout the Western Hemisphere to adopt laws and regulations that reflect U.S. laws and standards and it allows U.S. law
enforcement authorities and their counterparts elsewhere to better track weapons used by criminals.
"The US signed the treaty in 1997, and I now look forward to working with the President to make joining the Convention a reality."