Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Recent UN Arms Trade Treaty Conference Marks Dangerous Shift in U.S. Policy

Friday, September 2, 2016

Recent UN Arms Trade Treaty Conference Marks Dangerous Shift in U.S. Policy

August 22 marked the opening date of the week-long Second Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty in Geneva, Switzerland.  It also marked a clear shift in U.S. strategy for dealing with this international gun control effort.

Historically, UN meetings open with flowery remarks welcoming States Parties and others in attendance to the beginning of a week of discussions.  This year that was not the case.  The “good will message” everyone expected was instead an all-out attack on the U.S.

Rather than fulfill her obligation of providing a message of good will, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs H.E. Claudia Ruiz Massieu used her statement to inform the 109 states, 12 organizations, and 58 NGO’s in attendance that Mexico’s crime problems are the direct result of firearms illegally crossing their northern border.

Seemingly taking her que from Barack Obama’s erroneous assertion that it is “easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable,” Massieu boldly proclaimed that in America “it is easier to acquire a firearm than a liter of milk or a box of cereal.”  Massieu continued to capitalize on her moment in the spotlight by praising “the tenacious and sincere efforts of President Barrack Obama to establish administrative measures to strengthen controls on the possession and sale of weapons” and calling on the U.S. Congress to “ban the sale of assault weapons.”

As Massieu continued with the “good will,” other nations in the room stared at the U.S. delegation in anticipation of their response, especially to Mexico’s assertion that “70%” of the firearms used to commit crimes in Mexico are “related to a buyer or distributor in the United States.”  Regrettably, the eight person U.S. delegation sat idly by in what can only be viewed as a shift in policy towards the Arms Trade Treaty.

Had the U.S. been unaware of the potential for such an attack, one might have attributed that the failure to adequately respond was a result of jet lag, but sources have confirmed to NRA that this was not the case.  While it remains unclear if a copy of the speech was provided to the U.S. delegation, it has been confirmed that Mexico notified the U.S. that Massieu would be addressing U.S. firearms policies in her remarks.  Even more concerning is the tone this inaction set for the remainder of the meeting. The previously unwavering U.S. delegation conceded through silence that Mexico had their facts and figures correct; a premise not lost on many of the delegations in attendance, who were overheard stating just that.

Moreover, American gun owners’ fears were confirmed. Previously, the U.S. attended ATT meetings as the proverbial adult in the room, ensuring treaty negotiations did not devolve any further. Conversely, at this latest meeting, the U.S. offered support and assurances that the country would ratify the ATT at the first available opportunity.

Of further significance is the U.S. delegation’s refusal to recognize a precedent-setting moment in the discussions.  During debate over the ATT’s Voluntary Trust Fund, a bank of voluntary contributions with the purported purpose of assisting “requesting States Parties requiring international assistance to implement th[e] [ATT],” the U.S. agreed and supported a newly-developed reading of the language. This interpretation would allow the Voluntary Trust’s funds to be distributed to not only States Parties, but also to nations who have not yet ratified, let alone signed the ATT.

While seemingly insignificant, this radical reading of the ATT’s text established a dangerous precedent.  Many have argued that gun owners’ fears over the ATT are exaggerated, making note of Article 20’s limitation on amendments to the treaty for the first six years after the ATT has entered force.  However, as this new interpretation of the ATT’s clear and unambiguous language demonstrated, the need for formal amendments is moot. There is no need to wait six years to amend language that says “up” when it can be interpreted to read “down.”

This becomes of even greater concern as those that support the ATT recognize that it contains no mechanism to “name and shame” its signatories.  Despite countless papers and legal studies from ATT proponents arguing that arms sales to Saudi Arabia are causing human suffering in Yemen (a violation of the ATT), the ATT has done nothing to address the issue.

The hard truth for those in support of the ATT is that the current parties to the treaty represent only 40 percent of UN member states, 38 percent of world GDP, and (according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers Database – 2009-2013) less than 30 percent of global arms exports.  Ignoring those states with export controls that meet or exceed the ATT, the net result is an instrument that has expanded basic export controls to encompass an additional 0 percent of arms exports.  

Accordingly, with no ability to impact big defense transactions, proponents have come to realize that the civilian small arms market is the only area that the ATT can impact.  One need only sit through a few minutes of any ATT meeting to recognize that, despite the ATT covering seven other categories of conventional arms, the only type ever mentioned is SALW (small arms and light weapons).

It is for this reason that the U.S. delegation’s marked shift in position is so significant, and why every American should be concerned with not only their delegation’s open support of the ATT, but their promise that they are working towards ratifying it at the first available opportunity.  Such a flagrant admission would have never occurred just one short year ago.  Whether it is premised on the flawed assumption that Clinton will win in November, or on an effort to change U.S. posture towards the ATT during the waning days of Obama’s presidency, support for a treaty aimed at attacking the Second Amendment is a departure from the civil servants’ oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The U.S. delegation should work to rectify its recent missteps at the next general meeting on the ATT, The Third Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty.  Once again, the meeting will run the course of a week (11-17 August 2017) in Geneva, Switzerland, and in typical UN fashion, it will be proceeded by a series of working groups and preparatory meetings conveniently interspersed throughout the year in three-hour meeting blocks at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

TRENDING NOW
With a Stroke of the Pen, Biden ATF Criminalizes Tens of Thousands of Private Firearm Sellers

News  

Friday, April 12, 2024

With a Stroke of the Pen, Biden ATF Criminalizes Tens of Thousands of Private Firearm Sellers

We have long been warning of the rule the Biden ATF has been preparing to redefine who is considered a firearm “dealer” under U.S. law.  The administration’s explicit objective was to move as close to so-called “universal background ...

Colorado: Assault Weapons Ban Vote Happening This Week! Merchant Category Mandate Legislation Headed to the Governor

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Colorado: Assault Weapons Ban Vote Happening This Week! Merchant Category Mandate Legislation Headed to the Governor

The Colorado General Assembly continues to throttle down on gun control. Today, House Majority Leader Monica Duran announced that HB24-1292, the so-called “assault weapons” ban, could be voted on as soon as this week after lying ...

NRA Scores Legal Victory Against ATF; “Pistol Brace Rule” Enjoined From Going Into Effect Against NRA Members

Monday, April 1, 2024

NRA Scores Legal Victory Against ATF; “Pistol Brace Rule” Enjoined From Going Into Effect Against NRA Members

NRA Members Among the Largest Class Protected from Draconian Rule

Maine: Wednesday: Floor Vote on Classifying Shotguns as "Machine Guns"

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Maine: Wednesday: Floor Vote on Classifying Shotguns as "Machine Guns"

Senator Anne Carney, Maine's leading gun grabber, is at it again.

NRA-ILA Scores Injunction Preventing Enforcement of CA Youth Firearms-Advertising Restriction

Friday, April 12, 2024

NRA-ILA Scores Injunction Preventing Enforcement of CA Youth Firearms-Advertising Restriction

Fairfax, Virginia – April 12, 2024…Today, NRA-ILA announced a significant legal victory protecting First Amendment and firearm-related rights, as a California district court preliminarily enjoined enforcement of California’s severe restrictions on the marketing of firearm-related products in the ...

The 97Percent Lie

News  

Monday, April 8, 2024

The 97Percent Lie

The newest kid on the block in the gun-ban movement is a group calling itself 97Percent, which claims it has “a deep commitment to promoting responsible gun ownership and enhancing public safety.” 

Colorado: School Employee Carry Ban Dies in Committee and Semi-Auto Ban Vote Today

Friday, April 12, 2024

Colorado: School Employee Carry Ban Dies in Committee and Semi-Auto Ban Vote Today

In a win for the residents of Colorado, HB24-1310 the ban on school employees carrying on school grounds, was tabled by the committee for the rest of this session. This legislation would have ended the very successful FASTER ...

Maine: Anti-Gun Bills Could be Voted on At Any Time

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Maine: Anti-Gun Bills Could be Voted on At Any Time

At any moment, the Maine House and Senate could vote on Michael Bloomberg's extreme slate of anti-gun bills.

NRA Statement on Recent DOJ/ATF Final Rule

News  

Second Amendment  

Thursday, April 11, 2024

NRA Statement on Recent DOJ/ATF Final Rule

This latest Biden Administration attack on law-abiding gun owners is a blatant attempt to coerce Americans to forego legal activity with firearms under threat of potential confiscation of their lawfully acquired and constitutionally protected property. ...

“Crime Guns” -- D.C.’s MPD Under an ATF Cloud

News  

Monday, April 8, 2024

“Crime Guns” -- D.C.’s MPD Under an ATF Cloud

Some reckonings are a long time coming. The District of Columbia’s irrational hostility to all things gun-related and to legitimate, licensed retail gun dealers in particular, has reportedly culminated with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

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.