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United Nations Adopts Arms Trade Treaty

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

NRA Encourages United States Senate to Defend Second Amendment

Fairfax, Va. – The United Nations, with the support of the United States of America, voted today in the General Assembly to adopt an Arms Trade Treaty.

“This treaty disregards the Second Amendment to our Constitution and threatens individual firearm ownership with an invasive registration scheme,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “It is a sad, yet telling, day when the President of the United States and his administration refuse to defend America's Constitution on the world stage.”

With a passing yet non-binding acknowledgement of individual rights in the preamble, the treaty itself threatens civilian firearm ownership. The NRA has always maintained that any Arms Trade Treaty must respect the Second Amendment right of individual self-defense. This can only be accomplished by expressly excluding civilian firearms ownership from its scope, which this treaty fails to do.

Notably, the ATT includes "small arms and light weapons" among its terms, which cover firearms owned by law-abiding citizens.  Further, the treaty’s text urges recordkeeping of end users, directing importing countries to provide information to an exporting country regarding arms transfers, including “end use or end user documentation” for a “minimum of ten years.” Each state is to “take measures, pursuant to its national laws, to regulate brokering taking place under its jurisdiction for conventional arms.” Data kept on the end users of imported firearms would result in a registry of law-abiding firearms owners in this country, which based on the language of this treaty, could be available to foreign governments.

President Obama’s administration has supported the adoption of this treaty, and the administration is expecting to sign it, despite clear bipartisan opposition in the U.S. Senate. On March 23, the Senate adopted an amendment to its FY 2014 Budget Resolution offered by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) that establishes a deficit-neutral fund for “the purpose of preventing the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.” This effort is in addition to the campaign led by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) to pass concurrent resolutions opposing the treaty.

“We thank Senator Moran, Senator Inhofe, and Representative Kelly for leading the effort to reject ratification of this misguided treaty,” concluded Cox.


Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. More than four million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at and on Twitter @NRA.




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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.