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U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Drafting Starts July 2

Friday, June 29, 2012

For the better part of two decades, NRA has worked tirelessly to oppose any United Nations effort to undermine the constitutional rights of law-abiding American gun owners.  The latest attempt by the U.N. and global gun banners to eliminate our Second Amendment freedoms is to include civilian arms in the current Arms Trade Treaty, the language of which will be finalized next month.

As called for in a resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2009, a conference will begin this Monday, July 2, in New York City, to draft the treaty's language.  The "United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty" is one of the most serious threats to American gun owners in decades.

For many years, international anti-gun groups have attempted to make the ATT a vehicle for numerous gun-control schemes.  Among other things, proposals have been made for the treaty to impose stringent registration requirements, gun bans, and the tracking of ammunition, along with mandating new permits for traveling international hunters and sport shooters, and the creation of a U.N. gun control bureaucracy.  The U.N. has denied that the ATT will affect domestic gun ownership, but its latest pre-conference position paper ("The Impact of Poorly Regulated Arms Transfers on the Work of the U.N.") calls for exactly that.

As in the past, NRA will attend the ATT meeting.  The Conference will run through July 27, and will be attended by hundreds of U.N. delegates and non-governmental organization representatives.  NRA is the leading pro-firearm group at the U.N. and has taken the strong and clear position that any ATT must in no way impact gun owners' rights.

It is also important to note that, in order for any treaty to take effect, it must be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate.   To ensure that ratification of the ATT by the Senate cannot take place, NRA has worked to get as many U.S. Senators as possible to publicly oppose any ATT that includes restrictions on civilian arms.

Last year, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) and 57 other senators signed a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reminding them that the Senate has final say on treaties, and stating their unequivocal opposition to any treaty that would affect civilian ownership of firearms, challenge the authority of Congress to regulate firearms within the United States, or call for an international gun registry.

This echoes what NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a speech at the U.N.  last July, when he told the audience of delegates that NRA would vehemently oppose any U.N. treaty that in any way restricts American gun owners' rights. (To watch the speech, please click here.)

In March of this year, Sen. Moran introduced the "Second Amendment Sovereignty Act," (S. 2205), an NRA-backed bill that would prohibit the administration from using "the voice, vote, and influence of the United States, in connection with negotiations for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, to restrict in any way the rights of United States citizens under the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or to otherwise regulate domestic manufacture, assembly, possession, use, transfer, or purchase of firearms, ammunition, or related items, including  small arms, light weapons, or related materials."

Last month, during consideration of the Fiscal Year 2013 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, Sen. Moran took additional steps to safeguard our rights and joined Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) in offering an amendment to protect the rights of American gun owners from being undermined by the proposed ATT. 

The Tester-Moran amendment, which passed by a voice vote, will block any taxpayer dollars from being used to advocate or agree to any provision that would restrict in any way the rights of United States citizens under the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or that would otherwise regulate the domestic manufacture, importation, assembly, possession, use, transfer or purchase of firearms, ammunition or related items.

Rest assured that NRA will be present throughout the July meeting and will continue to fight against any U.N. treaty that undermines the constitutional rights of American gun owners.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.