Christian organisations have commended the United Nations for passing the global Arms Trade Treaty.
The landmark treaty will regulate trade in conventional arms and is designed to ban arms sales for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, terrorist acts and grave human rights violations.
The treaty went to vote after Syria, Iran and North Korea blocked its adoption by consensus.
UN member states voted it through by 154 votes to three. Russia and China were among the 23 abstaining states.
World Evangelical Alliance members have spent the last decade working to get the treaty passed.
The Secretary General of the WEA, Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, said: "It is our hope and prayer that as the treaty is implemented, the flow of illegal arms and the resulting loss of life will be significantly reduced. Warlords and human rights violators are now on notice: it will not be business as usual."
The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, said the treaty was a "milestone" in efforts to bring the trade in weapons under control.
"This long-overdue act of international governance means that people in many parts of the world who live in fear for their lives will eventually be safer," he said.
"Churches in all regions share in the suffering caused by armed violence.
"We can all now give thanks that national authorities responsible for public safety and well-being have finally adopted binding regulations for the global arms trade."