Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

ATT Meeting Confirms Worst Fears for International Gun Control

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

ATT Meeting Confirms Worst Fears for International Gun Control

Amidst ongoing wars in Ukraine and Yemen, China posturing in the Taiwan Strait, and increasing instability in the Horn of Africa, the 111 States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) met last month for their 8th Conference of States Parties to the ATT in Geneva, Switzerland.

With widespread reports of conventional arms shipments into these conflict zones being diverted to the black market and fueling violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, one would have thought that proponents of the ATT would have been salivating at the chance to highlight and discuss the ways in which the ATT could be used to combat such crimes.  That, however, was not the case. 

While there were some issues of concern this week, such at the coining of the term “post delivery coordination” and calls for foreign states to be provided with end user information, along with an afternoon spent meeting in secret to discuss “cases of detected or suspected diversion” and “sharing concrete, operational diversion-related information” under the guise of the Diversion Information Exchange Forum, there was a much more significant development with how the ATT operates, and it’s one we have warned about since the treaty was adopted.

As we have reported before, the ATT is on the verge of bankruptcy.  It is operating at a -$517,295.55 deficit.  States Parties continue to refuse to comply with their financial obligations, and with a 63% compliance rate for 2022 even with in-kind contributions from Switzerland and the European Union, the treaty continues to flirt with financial ruin.  But this financial crisis was not the focus of the meeting, or what confirmed our fears with the ATT.  Nor was it anything to do with conventional arms.  Instead, it was a fear of some non-compliant State Parties losing out on a bite of the almost $5,000,000 USD sitting in the treaty’s Voluntary Trust Fund (VTF) that lead to a fundamental change in how the ATT operates, and how mob rule will control how the ATT operates moving forward.

The impetus for this change was a decision taken during the 4th Conference of States Parties to the ATT in 2018.  That decision, which was agreed to by consensus, allowed for consideration of an applying state’s compliance with the ATT’s financial obligations when determining their eligibility for projects funded by the VTF.  However, what would seem like a logical approach to continue for a treaty on the verge bankruptcy erupted into a firestorm of debate on the final day of discussions this week, with non-compliant states arguing that they are entitled to funding from the VTF despite having never submitted any funding of their own to the ATT.

Highlighting the absurdity of this argument was Liberia.  With three delegates in attendance in one of the top 5 most expensive cities in the world for an entire week, and having failed to ever submit their required financial contribution over the past 7 years (an average of less than $3,000 USD per year) they led a push for the elimination of the financial requirement consideration to the VTF with a straight face, arguing not only that consensus on the issue should be ignored, but that any dissenting opinion should be disregarded based on what they perceived to be a majority in the room. 

The abandonment of consensus is something we have always warned about.  We saw it play out at the 3rd Review Conference to the Programme of Action, and it is why we have argued that the United States should pull out of that initiative.  But when Liberia’s attempt to argue against consensus started to wane, what they did next was far worse, confirming everything we have warned about with the ATT and fundamentally changing how decisions will be made moving forward.

Since the adoption of the ATT, we have mentioned that it is not what is in the treaty now that should concern you, but rather what the treaty will become.  This is because the ATT’s loose rules allow for it to be amended not by consensus, but by only ¾ of those States Parties present and voting.   Accordingly, regional blocks and alliances have the means to easily alter the language of the ATT, especially given their high attendance rates, and it is under this realization that Liberia achieved their goal.

Recognizing that their majority rule argument might fail, Liberia went with the guaranteed win.  With the support of the other financially non-compliant State Parties in attendance, Liberia issued a threat to those that opposed them: change the rule or we will unite and do it ourselves through an amendment to the ATT.  It didn’t take long after that for the room to agree to the change.  The mob had won.

While the financial issue at play may seem trivial, make no mistake that the ATT will forever be changed by what happened this week.  The principle of consensus has been abandoned and the door is now wide open for the mob to rule, and with so many States Parties taking their directions from outside ATT proponents, it won’t be long before the ATT becomes unrecognizable.  We were right to get out from under it under the prior administration, and we can only hope the current one keeps it that way.

TRENDING NOW
ATF Posts “Final” Rule on Stabilizing Braces

News  

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

ATF Posts “Final” Rule on Stabilizing Braces

On Friday, January, 13, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) posted the “final” Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces” rule to its website.

ATF Plans to Finalize Pistol Brace Rule in January

News  

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

ATF Plans to Finalize Pistol Brace Rule in January

In a recent court filing, the Department of Justice claimed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “expects to publish a final rule in January 2023.” That rule is the Factoring Criteria for ...

Washington: Senate Committee Hearing Bill to Bankrupt Firearm Industry with Junk Lawsuits

Friday, January 27, 2023

Washington: Senate Committee Hearing Bill to Bankrupt Firearm Industry with Junk Lawsuits

On January 31st, the Senate Ways & Means Committee will hear Senate Bill 5078, to allow anti-gun zealots to bankrupt the firearm industry with frivolous lawsuits.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Invalidates ATF Bump-Stock Rule—Holds that Congress, Not ATF, Declares What the Law Is.

News  

Monday, January 9, 2023

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Invalidates ATF Bump-Stock Rule—Holds that Congress, Not ATF, Declares What the Law Is.

On Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, invalidated the ATF’s Rule classifying bump stocks as machine guns under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Biden Goes Through the Motions, Drags Out Stock Gun Control Script

Monday, January 23, 2023

Biden Goes Through the Motions, Drags Out Stock Gun Control Script

President Joe Biden commemorated the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday last week by renewing his promise to ban so-called “assault weapons.”

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

News  

Gun Laws  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

News broke this week that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has reconsidered and “clarified” its Jan. 6, 2015 Open Letter on the use of stabilizing braces as shoulder stocks.

If the CPSC Would Ban Gas Stoves, Imagine How it Would Treat Guns

News  

Monday, January 23, 2023

If the CPSC Would Ban Gas Stoves, Imagine How it Would Treat Guns

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency dedicated to saving the world from lawn darts and toy magnets, has been in the headlines recently. This time the busybodies at the CPSC are out to protect Americans from ...

Even More Radical Gun Control Introduced in the New Mexico Senate

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Even More Radical Gun Control Introduced in the New Mexico Senate

The attacks on law-abiding gun owners keep coming at the Roundhouse, this time in the New Mexico Senate. Two new bills which have been filed in that chamber show how far progressive lawmakers will go to restrict ...

NRA Challenges Illinois Gun Ban

News  

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

NRA Challenges Illinois Gun Ban

The NRA is suing the state of Illinois following the signing of HB 5471, a bill that bans commonly owned firearms and magazines. 

Washington: House and Senate Committees to Hear Anti-Gun Bills on Tuesday

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Washington: House and Senate Committees to Hear Anti-Gun Bills on Tuesday

The 2023 session is still in its first week and anti-gun lawmakers are wasting no time scheduling bill hearings to keep attacking your rights. On Tuesday, January 17th, the Senate Law and Justice Committee, and the House Civil ...

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.