The United Nations has been debating an arms trade treaty for nearly a decade now. Though the treaty is ostensibly focused on military arms, it has long been clear that the majority of U.N. delegates consider our personal firearms to be crying out for international regulation, as well. The focus of the treaty would be a demand that governments regulate the sale and possession of firearms worldwide -- all of them, including yours and mine.
Though I believe that firearms should not be in the wrong hands, the proposed terms of this global gun control treaty would overreach wildly into regulating the sale of firearms to law-abiding citizens. In other words, the proposed treaty is a mechanism for Iran and other tyrannical powers to have a say in your gun ownership.
The George W. Bush administration wisely opposed this concept, asserting that any agreement to regulate private gun ownership would represent a threat to our Second Amendment freedoms. This proclamation was the death knell for the first U.N. gun control treaty conference more than 10 years ago.
But bad ideas at the U.N. never go away; they just fade until the political climate changes. Treaty discussions went underground for several years -- until the Obama administration announced a willingness to consider a new treaty, as long as the parties operated under "consensus."
The debate reached a fever pitch during a monthlong marathon negotiation session in July. The goal was to disgorge a treaty in time for the Obama administration to sign it before Election Day. The draft treaty was odious on its face. Among other things, it would have required the United States to "maintain records of all imports and shipments of arms," register the identity of the "end user" of those firearms and then report the user's information to a U.N.-based gun registry. In several drafts, the treaty would have mandated that every round of ammunition be tracked globally.
What's really ironic here is that the United States already has the most comprehensive system in the world for regulating international arms transfers. Other nations could achieve the stated goals of the treaty process by simply emulating our protocols. But the reality is that the treaty was actually intended as a mechanism to submit our unique Second Amendment guarantees to international inspection -- and condemnation.
As I have mentioned, the treaty negotiations broke down this summer, and that is a good thing. But that doesn't mean the U.N. is giving up the fight. It's just reducing it into smaller pieces. In fact, in late August, an umbrella organization of 23 separate U.N. agencies, known as the Coordinating Action on Small Arms, adopted the first portion of International Small Arms Control Standards. The ISACS text is made up of 33 separate modules, some 800 pages in total. And they're just getting started.
What can we do? We can ensure that we have a president who will not support the treaty and a Senate that will not ratify it. That's not a one-time commitment. Remember that once a treaty is enacted, it can be picked up at any time by a president and Senate. There are smaller gun control treaties that have been floating around the Senate for ratification since 1998.
What can you do? You can make sure that you and every freedom-loving American you know is registered to vote. I'm proud to serve as the honorary chairman of Trigger The Vote, the National Rifle Association's nonpartisan campaign to register voters who support the Second Amendment. We've made it easy on our website; all the tools to register are there, at http://www.TriggerTheVote.org. If you're already registered, you probably know someone who isn't. Share the stakes with that person, and urge him or her to join the rolls of informed voters.
Throughout my life, I've been committed to preserving our freedom from threats, both foreign and domestic. This proposed U.N. global gun control treaty may not be an "invasion" in the classic sense of the word, but believe me; over time, it represents the potential for encroachment of the greatest kind. Protect your rights by registering to vote today.