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Disinformation Continues as U.N. Arms Treaty Takes Shape

Friday, July 20, 2012

In New York this week, the U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty continued trying to draft a treaty to impose worldwide controls on small arms, including civilian-owned firearms.

The NRA has made clear its opposition to any treaty that includes civilian firearms, and continues to note that a majority of the United States Senate stands with American gun owners in opposition to such a treaty. We have led the effort to mobilize opposition to the treaty in Congress, and not only a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate, but also 130 House members, have voiced strong opposition to the treaty. Ignoring that reality, U.N. conferees are working to regulate not only civilian small arms, but also ammunition and firearm parts.

Anti-gun treaty proponents continue to mislead the public, claiming the treaty would have no impact on American gun owners. That's a bald-faced lie.

For example, the most recent draft treaty includes import/export controls that would require officials in an importing country to collect information on the "end user" of a firearm, keep the information for 20 years, and provide the information to the country from which the gun was exported. In other words, if you bought a Beretta shotgun, you would be an "end user" and the U.S. government would have to keep a record of you and notify the Italian government about your purchase. That is gun registration. If the U.S. refuses to implement this data collection on law-abiding American gun owners, other nations might be required to ban the export of firearms to the U.S.

And even if the U.S. never ratifies--or even signs--the treaty, many other nations will. The cost of complying with the treaty would drive up the price of imported firearms and probably force some companies to take their products off the U.S. market.

That's not all. This week, the delegates focused on an endless series of drafts that would either ban exportation or require states to consider the risk of exporting, if the arms could be used to commit crime, or could "be diverted to unauthorized end users" or "the illicit market." Exports could also be blocked if they would "support" or "encourage" terrorist acts or "provoke, prolong or aggravate acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace," or could be used in "gender-based violence" or to inflict "human suffering." Anti-gun activists here and abroad have long claimed that gun ownership in general does all of these things, so any of these provisions could be abused by foreign governments to shut off exports to law-abiding Americans.

The NRA has spent nearly 20 years lobbying against U.N. attacks on civilian firearms ownership. As a U.N.-recognized NGO (non-governmental organization) we have attended meetings and conferences and we have spoken out directly at the U.N. about our unfailing opposition to any treaty that infringes on the Second Amendment rights of American citizens.

As the conference completes drafting the treaty, the NRA will continue to gather information on what provisions are included, and will work with our allies in the international community as well as Congress to oppose adoption of any anti-gun treaty or any other international restriction on our constitutional freedoms.

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