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April 28, 2013

Problems with the UN Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations has finished work on what is called the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and after President Obama signs it it will go before the U.S. Senate for ratification. Treaties must be approved by two thirds of senators, and 46 have already signaled that they will vote yes.

It sounds like such a good treaty, so why are groups like the National Rifle Association (of which I am a life member) so opposed to it? Obama has said he wouldn't be supporting the ATT if he thought it violated the Second Amendment, but frankly his view of the amendment is warped, so that doesn't count for much. And in a non-binding vote last month, the senate did reject the ATT, 53-46 (as cited above), but surely Obama will twist some arms and my guess is the treaty will get another vote.

Given all this, I decided to take a look at the text and two things jump out at me. First, though, here's the description of the situation on the United Nations website about the treaty:

An overwhelming majority in the General Assembly voted in favour of the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), regulating the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. The treaty will foster peace and security by putting a stop to destabilising arms flows to conflict regions. It will prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms. And it will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from acquiring these deadly tools. The United Nations will provide its full support toward making the treaty work.

So countries like Saudi Arabia, China, Venezuela, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Ghana, and for that matter France have signed on. Not encouraging.

Let's go to the treaty itself. Here's the intro:

Final United Nations Conference
on the Arms Trade Treaty

New York, 18-28 March 2013

In my quick perusal I found two sections that will cause trouble. Here's the first:

Article 7
Export and Export Assessment
1. If the export is not prohibited under Article 6, each exporting State Party, prior to authorization of the export of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, under its jurisdiction and pursuant to its national control system, shall, in an objective and non-discriminatory manner, taking into account relevant factors, including information provided by the importing State in accordance with Article 8 (1), assess the potential that the conventional arms or items:
(a) would contribute to or undermine peace and security;
(b) could be used to:
(i) commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian law;
(ii) commit or facilitate a serious violation of international human rights law;

Sounds nice but these thins can be interpreted to mean just about anything. American anti-gun types will claim that the existence of scary guns like the AR-15 undermines peace and security and is a serious violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws. They'll use these provisions to ban "high capacity" magazines and any gun they don't like because they'll say that their very existence undermines our peace and security. They deny it now but I guarantee they're lying.

This is even worse:

Article 12
Record keeping

1. Each State Party shall maintain national records, pursuant to its national laws and regulations, of its issuance of export authorizations or its actual exports of the conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).
2. Each State Party is encouraged to maintain records of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) that are transferred to its territory as the final destination or that are authorized to transit or trans-ship territory under its jurisdiction.
3. Each State Party is encouraged to include in those records: the quantity, value, model/type, authorized international transfers of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), conventional arms actually transferred, details of exporting State(s),importing State(s), transit and trans-shipment State(s), and end users, as appropriate.
4. Records shall be kept for a minimum of ten years.

If this isn't a recipe for gun registration nothing is. Whether it's a national or a series of local databases doesn't matter, to the anti-gun crowd it's all the same; registration is a prerequisite to confiscation.

Liberals and gun-control types will deny these things and claim only pacific intentions and try and assure us that never in a million years would they use this treaty to try and undermine our Second Amendment.

Some of them are outright lying, like our president. Others, and this category includes him as well, have a warped view of the amendment. Either way, if this thing passes I guarantee you they'll use it to push gun control. Worse, they'll circumvent the Congress and go through the courts (they're not big fans of democracy).

Oppose this treaty. Write your senator today.

Posted by Tom at April 28, 2013 7:30 PM

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The minute I hear "UN treaty" I get suspicious. This is the same corrupt gang of thugocrats who run a Human Rights Commission headed by the worst offenders. So when I hear they want to do something about arms trafficking (or global warming) I assume it's nothing but another political exercise designed to screw the West.

Why don't these governments so signed this thing stop selling arms to these Thugocrats? Wouldn't that be better than some worthless treaty?

Posted by: Mike's America at April 30, 2013 11:36 PM

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