NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre drew a line in sand on behalf of American gun owners at the United Nations Thursday. LaPierre spoke to the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Preparatory Committee, the group drafting an international treaty that will supposedly control all non-nuclear arms, worldwide, including civilian firearms. He told the audience of delegates from approximately 150 UN member states that the NRA would vehemently oppose any UN treaty that in any way restricts American gun owners’ rights. (To watch the speech, please click here.)
LaPierre made the position of NRA and American gun owners clear. “The NRA will fight with all of its strength to oppose any ATT that includes civilian firearms within its scope,” he stated emphatically.
LaPierre reminded the audience that under the American system a treaty must be approved by two-thirds of the United States Senate to be ratified. He also told them that there was already significant resistance in the Senate, including a letter to President Obama, now being circulated, that opposes the proposed treaty. LaPierre pointed out that it was unprecedented to have a treaty rejected before it was even presented.
Executive Vice President LaPierre presented the UN group with a long list of ways the treaty would interfere with American gun owners’ rights. These include bans on certain types of arms, registration requirements, a UN demand for more domestic firearms laws, barriers to international trade in firearms and ammunition, special permits for hunters travelling to different countries and a new UN gun control bureaucracy. He said these were just a few of the objections that the NRA had to the proposed treaty. LaPierre went on to say the only way these objections could be addressed was to completely exclude civilian firearms from the treaty.
The issue of including civilian firearms within an ATT is perhaps the most contentious question facing the Preparatory Committee. Earlier in the day, Canada took a position that hunting firearms should be excluded from any ATT. Mexico immediately responded that they should be included. It has been Mexico’s strident view that any UN ATT must control civilian firearms.
UN officials were visibly taken aback by LaPierre’s statement, coming as it did after the earlier skirmish between Canada and Mexico. There is clear opposition in the U.S. Senate to an ATT that includes civilian firearms, especially given the two-thirds vote requirement and the already emerging opposition. At this time, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) is circulating a letter to be sent to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly stating opposition to any inclusion of civilian arms in the proposed treaty. As of today, that letter has 31 signatories, only a few short of the number needed to block the treaty (please click here to read related story). NRA worked closely with Sen. Moran in drafting his letter, and we continue to actively lobby senators to sign it.
LaPierre made it clear, and anti-gun treaty advocates should now understand this simple reality: Any treaty that includes civilian firearms will not win approval by the United States Senate, and will therefore not include the United States.
The UN ATT Preparatory Committee will next meet the week of February 13, 2012 and then there will be a four-week negotiating session to (theoretically) finalize the treaty in July of 2012. To keep up the pressure against an anti-gun treaty, NRA members are strongly encouraged to contact their U.S. Senators and urge them to stand by Sen. Moran, the Constitution and America's gun owners by supporting and signing his critically important letter. You can contact them by phone at (202) 224-3121.
Currently, Sens. Ayotte (R-N.H.), Blunt (R-Mo.), Boozman (R-Ark.), Burr (R-N.C.), Coats (R-Ind.), Coburn (R-Okla.), Cochran (R-Miss.), Corker (R-Tenn.), Cornyn (R-Tex), Chambliss (R-Ga.), Crapo (R-Ida.), DeMint (R-S.C.), Enzi (R-Wyo.), Graham (R-S.C.), Hatch (R-Utah), Heller (R-Nev.), Hoeven (R-N.D.), Hutchision (R-TX), Inhofe (R-Okla.), Isakson (R-Ga.), Johanns (R-Neb.), Kyl (R-Ariz.), Moran (R-Kan.), Paul (R-Ky.), Roberts (R-Kan.), Rubio (R-Fla.), Sessions (R-Ala.), Shelby (R-Ala.), Thune (R-S.D.), Vitter (R-La.), and Wicker (R-Miss.), have signed the letter. If your senator is on this list, please be sure to contact him or her and offer your thanks for their support.
In addition, Sen. Tester (D-Mont.) has drafted his own letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing concerns about any treaty that infringes upon the Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of American gun owners.