While the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is for all intents and purposes dead for now, don’t think that a resurrection is not in its future. The treaty that was targeting the regulation of anything from small arms to tanks and helicopters became an instant target for Second Amendment advocates.
However, it wasn’t just citizens who were “up in arms” over the ATT. Fifty-one U.S. Senators sent a letter to both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama indicating their intentions to oppose ratification of any version of the ATT that threatened the Second Amendment for three reasons:
“First, while the Draft Paper nominally applies only to “international arms transfers,” it defines such transfers as including “transport” across national territory. It requires signatories to “monitor and control” arms in transit, and to “enforce domestically the obligations of this treaty” by prohibiting the unauthorized “transfer of arms from any location.” This implies an expansion of federal firearms controls that would be unacceptable on Second Amendment grounds.
Second, the Draft Paper requires nations to “maintain records of all imports and shipments of arms that transit their territory,” including the identity of individual end users. This information is to be reported to the U.N.-based firearms registry for all firearms that are either imported into or transit across national territory, which raises both Second Amendment and privacy concerns.
Finally, the Draft Paper requires that nations “shall take all appropriate measures necessary to prevent the diversion of imported arms into the illicit market or to unintended end users.” This clause appears to create a presumption in favor of the adoption, at the federal level, of further controls on firearms. We are concerned that, in this regard as well as in others, the treaty will create an open-ended obligation that will in practice be defined by international opinion, and will be used to push the U.S. in the direction of measure that would infringe on both Second Amendment freedoms and the U.S.’s sovereignty more broadly.”
While the UN has declared all along that it was not after banning gun ownership by civilians, the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs released a paper prior to the conference stating that “the arms trade must therefore be regulated in ways that would…minimize the risk of misuse of legally owned weapons.”
Oh wait, the UN said the distribution of the paper was a “mistake.” Right, right! Now we understand. They just think we are stupid.
But, while we breathe a collective sigh of relief, at least for six months, Ted Bromund from Heritage writes,
But that would not be the end of the process. Now that the concept of the ATT has been invented, it cannot be uninvented. There are too many countries and too many left-wing nongovernmental organizations that want a treaty. So if this July’s conference collapses, there will sooner or later be another conference.
Either the U.N. will reconvene and try again, or the treaty’s supporters will break out of the U.N. and draft a treaty—one that would be guaranteed to be bad for the U.S.—outside the U.N. And in the interim, there is the U.N.’s ponderously named “Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects” and its International Small Arms Control Standards to keep the process going.
There will be a resurrection of this treaty and sadly we must remain vigilant because this document will need to die a thousand deaths in the future. Lock and load!