For over 15 years, the NRA has been warning us about a global anti-gun treaty and in July 2012, the United Nations is meeting to write such a treaty. The idea of an international arms control treaty between the members or States of the United Nations came from a group of Nobel Peace prizewinners in 2003. The group was led by Oscar Arias Sanchez former president of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize winner. On December 6, 2006, the U.N. adopted the resolution towards an Arms Trade Treaty calling it 61/89. Resolution 61/89 is the UN’s official recognition that there is a lack of regulated control of international weapons transfers. The U.N. Secretary-General released a report questioning the feasibility of a global Arms Trade Treaty.
Originally, the United States opposed such a treaty, but on October 14, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, on behalf of the Obama Administration, issued a statement in support of the treaty:
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 as the continuation of the process that began in the UN with the 2008 UN Group of Governmental Experts on the ATT and continued with the 2009 UN Open-Ended Working Group on ATT. (www.state.gov.)
In 2008 and 2009, 28 States representatives met to discuss the Arms Trade Treaty. This committee settled on a creating a conference in order to finalize the treaty document. The U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty meets at U.N. headquarters in New York July 2 through 27, 2012. The point of the conference is to create a “legally binding instrument” to control weapons transfers “establishing common international standards for the import, export, and transfer of conventional arms.” There is no international law that regulates the transfer of weapons. Since the United Nations was established to maintain “international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights” (www.un.org) the treaty is supposed to regulate the transfer of arms so that said arms do not get into the hands of terrorist, rebels, insurgents, organized crime cartels, and human rights violators. One hundred fifty three U.N. members have written in support of the treaty. China, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen refused to vote during the first committee meetings.
During the 2009 meetings of the States, a perimeter was set down that the United States’ right to bear arms would be unaffected by the treaty. The draft says, “Acknowledging also the right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through national constitutional protections on private ownership, exclusively within their territory.” (Resolution adopted by the General Assembly. 64/48. The arms trade treaty.) However, many experts disagree. Potentially the treaty will create an international firearms registry, ban certain types of weapons, such as machine guns, add more laws domestically, barriers to trade weapons internationally, and completely stop hunting in other countries, such as Africa and Canada. As well as affecting United States ally protection. Currently there is a movement from Taiwan to oppose the treaty. Former President Ronald Reagan promised our continued support to Taiwan in 1982. Since Taiwan is not a member of the United States, the Arms Trade Treaty may prohibit the United States from selling and exporting weapons to countries at risk from hostile countries.
The arms industry in the United States is a $35 billion industry, employing over 350,000 people. Globally, the arms industry is worth $55 billion. Many countries, such as China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, as well as the United States depend on this revenue. Such a treaty puts this revenue and the jobs the arms industry provides at risk.
If the United States signs the treaty, the U.S. Senate will have to approve. However, in July 2011, 58 members of the Senate signed a letter stating their disapproval of the treaty. Further, in the 1957 landmark case Reid v. Covert, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the United States cannot enter into a treaty that violates the Constitution.
Arizona Representative Benjamin Quayle, with co-sponsor Todd Akin from Missouri have introduced the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act of 2012, H.R. 5846, that would not let our current administration use “federal funds to voice, vote, and influence during Arms Trade Treaty negotiations” in order to protect our 2ndAmendment rights. (http://akin.house.gov) Introduced on May 18, 2012, the bill sits in referral to committee. As of this writing, it has not gotten any further. GovTrack.us gives H.R. 5846 a two percent chance of passing.
July 2 through the 27, 2012, 193 members of the U.N., along with non-government organizations, the NRA, public interest groups, and firearms and other arms industry representatives, along with the media will be attending the Conference. Cheaper Than Dirt will keep you updated as the story progresses.
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