The Conference on the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (U.N. ATT) has broken down and will not report a draft treaty to the member nations. This is a big victory for American gun owners, and the NRA is being widely credited for killing the U.N. ATT.
NRA worked with pro-gun allies in the U.S. Congress and successfully assembled strong bipartisan opposition to any treaty that adversely impacts the Second Amendment. On two occasions NRA was successful in convincing a majority of the U.S. Senate to sign letters to President Obama that made it clear that any treaty that included civilian arms was not going to be ratified by the U.S. Senate.
On July 26, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) gathered the signatures of 51 Senators on a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton opposing any treaty that infringes on domestic gun rights. The letter stated, “As the treaty process continues, we strongly encourage your administration not only to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership, but to ensure — if necessary, by breaking consensus at the July conference — that the treaty will explicitly recognize the legitimacy of lawful activities associated with firearms, including but not limited to the right of self-defense. As members of the United States Senate, we will oppose the ratification of any Arms Trade Treaty that falls short of this standard.”
During the week leading up to the impasse, it became increasingly possible that the Conference would fail to come to an agreement on draft language. On Thursday, the Conference President produced yet another draft of the ATT in an effort to salvage the process. The new draft, like previous ones, was wholly incompatible with Second Amendment rights protected by the Constitution.
Details of the Composite ‘Working Document’ were released on July 24. The draft barred weapons transfers to “non-state actors” – which, by definition, include private citizens. A U.S. delegate argued against the provisions during closed-door talks Friday. Also, proponents said the first draft of the U.N. treaty had “more holes than a leaky bucket.”
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