Not shockingly, immediately after President Obama was reelected for a second term, his administration reinforced its support for the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty [ATT], also known as the "Small Arms Treaty." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been expressing full support of the treaty on behalf of the United States for years now while for political reasons, President Obama sat back. Now, the entire administration will be out front in support of ratifying it.
Hours after U.S. President Barack Obama was re-elected, the United States backed a U.N. committee's call on Wednesday to renew debate over a draft international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global conventional arms trade.
U.N. delegates and gun control activists have complained that talks collapsed in July largely because Obama feared attacks from Republican rival Mitt Romney if his administration was seen as supporting the pact, a charge Washington denies.
The month-long talks at U.N. headquarters broke off after the United States - along with Russia and other major arms producers - said it had problems with the draft treaty and asked for more time.
But the U.N. General Assembly's disarmament committee moved quickly after Obama's win to approve a resolution calling for a new round of talks March 18-28. It passed with 157 votes in favor, none against and 18 abstentions.
U.N. diplomats said the vote had been expected before Tuesday's U.S. presidential election but was delayed due to Superstorm Sandy, which caused a three-day closure of the United Nations last week.
An official at the U.S. mission said Washington's objectives have not changed.
"We seek a treaty that contributes to international security by fighting illicit arms trafficking and proliferation, protects the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade, and meets the concerns that we have been articulating throughout," the official said.
So what is the ATT? And is the argument from the U.N. that it won't suppress Second Amendment rights an honest one?
The general stated goal of the ATT is to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on guns and military equipment (no, really). I wrote about this in my book:
The alleged purpose of the treaty is to prevent crime, terrorism and even war by regulating the sale of guns, but it is a rarely noted irony that some of the biggest supporters of the treaty are also the world's most brazen supporters of terrorism, such as Iran, Syria and Cuba. Its proposed regulations extend to the level of firearms accessories, including scopes and magazines. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her support for the treaty in October 2009, saying, "The United States is prepared to work hard for a strong international standard in this area by seizing the opportunity presented by the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations.... The United States is committed to actively pursuing a strong and robust treaty that contains the highest possible, legally binding standards for the international transfer of conventional weapons. We look forward to this negotiation."
The final draft of the treaty is scheduled to be completed by summer 2012. The State Department, Department of Justice, and ATF have taken a leadership role in pushing the treaty. The Bush administration refused to participate ion the negotiations, but the Obama administration has been a willing participant in drafting the treaty, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the helm. Obama has said he would like to see the treaty ratified as a way of demonstrating American's respect for "international norms."
Because the UN's definition of "criminal activity" in the treaty is so broad, American gun owners could find themselves prosecuted if UN officials deemed owning some firearms a crime. If the treaty were to be effective, it would imply the necessity for strict regulation of individual firearms ownership. Mexico wants the treaty to regulate hunting rifles, because it claims hunting rifles are used by drug cartels. But of course any weapon that can be used for sport of self-defense could also be used in ways that the treaty might regulate.
The treaty calls for international reporting measures that would require countries to trace and keep track of weapons sold and transferred. Not only would this consume a massive amount of government resources, it would also be intrusive. Many Second Amendment advocates regard the creation of a nationwide database of lawful gun owners and a catalog of every firearm they own as an ominous expansion of government power. The most vocal supporters of the treaty in the United States are gun control organizations such as the Brady Campaign and the Joyce Foundation (the anti-gun organization that once counted Obama as a member).
Barack Obama is no doubt the most anti-gun president in the history of the United States and his pandering to the corrupt UN should be alarming to anyone who wants to keep their Second Amendment freedoms.
Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her latest book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, was published on July 8, 2014.