After several years of preparatory meetings the UN is holding a conference in New York City July 2-27, 2012, to draft a final version of a UN Arms Trade Treaty.
The official UN website for the conference states: "From 2-27 July, all countries of the world will come together in New York to negotiate what is seen as the most important initiative ever regarding conventional arms regulation within the United Nations."
According to an article posted by the NRA on June 29, 2012:
"Last year, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) and 57 other senators signed a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reminding them that the Senate has final say on treaties, and stating their unequivocal opposition to any treaty that would affect civilian ownership of firearms, challenge the authority of Congress to regulate firearms within the United States, or call for an international gun registry."
Furthermore, 130 congressmen sent a letter dated June 29, 2012, to President Obama stating:
"We write to express our concerns regarding the negotiation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the text of which is expected to be finalized at a conference to be held in New York during the month of July.... The U.S. must not accept an ATT that infringes on our constitutional rights, particularly the fundamental, individual right to keep and to bear arms that is protected by the Second Amendment, as well as the the right of personal self-defense on which the the Second Amendment is based.... Should the final ATT text run counter to these principles or otherwise undermine our rights and our interests, we urge this Administration to break consensus and reject the treaty in New York...."
The NRA is warning that "The 'United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty' is one of the most serious threats to American gun owners in decades.... The U.N. has denied that the ATT will affect domestic gun ownership, but its latest pre-conference position paper ('The Impact of Poorly Regulated Arms Transfers on the Work of the U.N.') calls for exactly that."
Unfortunately, that pre-conference position paper is not available online. However, some quotes from the paper have been included in "The U.N. Speaks: The Arms Trade Treaty Will Affect 'Legally Owned Weapons'" by Ted R. Bromund, a Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Bromund states:
After proclaiming that the ATT [UN Arms Trade Treaty] “does not aim to impede or interfere with the lawful ownership and use of weapons,” the CASA [the UN's Coordinating Action on Small Arms] paper ['The Impact of Poorly Regulated Arms Transfers on the Work of the U.N.'] goes on to say that “United Nations agencies have come across many situations in which various types of conventional weapons have been … misused by lawful owners” and that the “arms trade must therefore be regulated in ways that would … minimize the risk of misuse of legally owned weapons.”
How, exactly, would the ATT do that if it doesn’t “impede” or “interfere” with lawful ownership? The U.N. would have a lot more credibility on the ATT if it didn’t imply so regularly that the problem is as much lawful ownership as it is the international arms trade.
Of course, CASA isn’t just concerned with lawful ownership; it’s also campaigning against “community attitudes” that “contribute to the powerful cultural conditioning that equates masculinity with owning and using a gun, and regards gun misuse by men as acceptable.”
All this just goes to show that the U.N. regards gun ownership — even under national constitutional protection and for lawful activities — as a cultural failure that it needs to redress and that it has no patience at all with the idea that self-defense is an inherent right.
In light of the virtual certainty that the final UN Arms Trade Treaty would infringe on our right to own and bear firearms, please contact your representative and senators and ask them to use their influence to help persuade President Obama not to sign the treaty and the Senate not to ratify the treaty.
(Photo shown above of a knotted gun sculpture entitled "Non-Violence" at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City via Shutterstock.)