The threats by the UN Arms Trade Treaty to the Second Amendment have been made well aware at this point and in ten days, the terms of the treaty will be finalized. Despite the UN’s feigned claims to the contrary, like a Myths & Facts section in the press kit, actions seems to speak louder than words:
The U.N. is aware of the political dangers of appearing to stomp openly on the Second Amendment. It uses code words; it runs closed meetings—a veteran of the process tells me that meetings were normally open until the National Rifle Association began showing up at them—and, above all, it plays a long game. A big problem with talking about the ATT as a “gun grab” treaty is that the U.N. works by taking slices: when it comes to the U.N., being outraged by one development is no substitute for focusing on how the slices pile up over time.
Lest we forget how we’ve arrived at this point in the first place though. In October 2009, the Obama administration voted for the U.S. to participate in negotiating the ATT – a dramatic reversal of the Bush administration’s position. This reversal, of course, comes as no surprise to avid defenders of the Second Amendment and was deeply concerning to dozens of U.S. Senators. After all though, the administration’s utter disdain for Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms is ubiquitous. Attempts to undermine it are happening by more of a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ strategy, however, rather than a single, more conspicuous blow. It’s evident in everything from Fast and Furious to the ATT and unleashing OSHA on a gun range fining spree (a must-read).
Well, the NRA isn’t having any of it and recently came out with an excellent video, which makes that point very clear, while also offering a good run-down of the treaty, how it could affect Americans and the Obama administration’s role in all of this.
Clips from the video:
From at speaker at the UN: “It’s my firm conviction that illicit trade cannot be tackled without involving the legal arms trade.”
“They claim they want to stop small arms from going to terrorist and guerilla groups but this small arms treaty really isn’t gonna do anything to stop that…”
“What you’ll wind up with is gun control on an international level specifically designed to be used against honest law abiding people.”
“Our freedoms are not negotiable.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Ted Bromund on the four most important domestic concerns posed by the treaty:
1. Transfer requirements. First, there are specific textual requirements. The most recent draft text states, for example, that the ATT will apply to “all international transfers of conventional arms” but then goes on to define “international transfers” as “the transfer of title or control over the conventional arms.”
Does this mean that any transfers, including domestic ones, count as international and are thus subject to the treaty’s provisions? There are similar concerns related to the potential reporting requirements of the treaty and thus to the possible creation of a U.N.-based gun registry. If it is to be true to its published red lines, the U.S. cannot accept any of this.
2. International business. Second, most major U.S. arms manufacturers have an international financing, insurance, and parts and components chain. The ATT could become a means for foreign countries to pressure U.S. firms to exit the market, reducing the ability of Americans to make effective use of their firearms rights.
3. Further review of the rules. This is not the end of the process. The ATT will be elaborated at review conferences, where the U.S. goal is to develop “best practices” for its implementation. Similarly, if President Obama were to sign the ATT but not submit it to the Senate for ratification, the U.S. would hold itself obligated to “refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the ATT.
4. Constitutional interpretation. Finally, the ATT is part of a process that will inspire judges and legal theorists who believe that the Constitution needs to be reinterpreted in light of transnational norms. This is the most important problem of all, though it is broader than the ATT.
I’ll leave you with a parting quote from Thomas Jefferson: "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
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