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The Biennial Meeting Of States, And The Arms Trade Treaty

Friday, June 11, 2010

Two major meetings, possibly affecting American gun owners’ rights, will occur at the United Nations (UN) in New York over the next several weeks.   They are the Fourth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms in all its Aspects, (“BMS4”) June 14-18, and the Arms Trade Treaty Preparatory Committee (“ATT Prep. Com.”) July 12-23.  The NRA will be fully and actively involved in these meetings.

The BMS4 is a continuation of the so-called “Programme of Action” (POA) adopted by the UN at a conference in 2001.  Anti-gun groups saw the original POA as a vehicle for UN gun bans, registration schemes and other radical proposals.  The U.S., through the efforts of Ambassador John Bolton, forced the removal of provisions targeting privately-owned firearms from the  POA.  It was not able to stop the POA itself, and the UN holds “Biennial” meetings every two years to keep the POA alive.  Heavily-funded anti-gun groups will again attempt to get the UN and its member states to target the right to arms at the BMS4.  A Mexican diplomat will chair the meeting and Mexico, which blames its crime problems on the U.S., is now pushing for more gun control in America.  Anti-gun, anti-U.S. measures could well be on the table.

The ATT Prep. Com. is the continuation of a process started years ago and scheduled to end in a four-week international conference in 2012.  There is no draft treaty at this time.  However, anti-gun groups see the ATT as a means to impose worldwide gun control through the treaty process.  If ratified, a treaty has the force of law in the U.S., so anti-gun groups could score major victories without going through the usual domestic political process.  Treaties do not trump the Constitution, but interpretation of the Constitution is in the hands of federal judges and justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Second Amendment had only a one-vote margin of safety in the 2008 Heller decision.

No pro-gun organization in the world has been more active at the UN in defending gun owners’ rights than the NRA, which was a major force in stopping anti-gun proposals at the 2001 and 2006 BMS Conferences. The NRA is an official UN Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and is consistently present at every important UN small arms and ATT meeting.  NRA members can rest assured that their rights are being defended in all venues -- both national and international -- where they are threatened.  For more information on NRA's efforts in this area, please visit http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=5843. 

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