U.N. Gun Control Treaty 2012

Article Posted: July 20, 2012

UN Gun Control Treaty In an effort to begin a set standard of regulation on gun control across the globe, the U.N. is hosting 190 Countries until the end of July to work on the first ever U.N. gun control treaty. The treaty, which is being drafted under closed doors, is being handled by China, France, Russia, Britain, and the U.S.A. The exact details of the treaty are unknown, but it has enough information being circulated on potential provisions to have gun owners in America paying attention to the topic.

Below is a brief overview of the potential provisions, and possible ramifications it will have on gun owners. The idea is to keep guns out of the hands of potential threats such as terrorists and factions such as drug cartels from acquiring them to use against innocent people. One of the provisions asking to limit small arms instead of solely focusing on military weapons has raised a few eyebrows. This has led some gun owners to be wary due the fact governments, not individual owners are generally the provider for such arms to unsavory groups.

What We Know

The Small Arms Treaty looks to impose restrictions on gun owners, manufacturers, and sellers. In June a list of provisions was signed off on that created a U.N. agency to regulate weapon sales across the globe, and force gun manufacturers to create a compensation fund for future firearm victims. The latest draft proposal is trying to add more to these provisions by asking all governments world wide to set up agencies that monitor any guns that could be exported outside their borders. This also includes handing over a list of the countries laws, regulations, and gun measures to the U.N. agency. The reason behind this is the governments pushing to enforce this new agency claim over a quarter of a million people lose their lives each year to gun violence that could be curbed or even eliminated by the provisions.

Potential Fallout

According to gun enthusiasts the idea behind the U.N. gun treaty is a clever side-step around the 2nd amendment. The proposed idea of limiting small and light weapons along side military weapons gives room to open a door of possible regulations against individual gun owners in the U.S. In 2008 an email circulated around when the idea for a treaty first popped up, claiming the Obama Administration had found a way around the required two-third majority vote for congress. A gun treaty that is regulated on a global scale under the supervision of the U.N. is to have the U.S.A. treat it such as a international treaty that uses the U.S. State Department to enforce the provisions. While Congress has to pass the measure with a two-thirds majority to enact such a treaty, the State Department can enforce the measure treating it as an international law that was signed in coalition with foreign governments.

In 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a statement saying that "complete ban on all weapons for US citizens" isn't possible under our Constitution, and furthermore, if an arms trade treaty ever materializes, the administration won't be able to "bypass" Congress, as the e-mail maintains.

Press Statement October 14th, 2009

In a statement issued by Hillary Clinton in 2009 concerning the current administrations stance on gun control, was in strong support of a measure that contains provisions.

The United States is prepared to work hard for a strong international standard in this area by seizing the opportunity presented by the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations. As long as that Conference operates under the rule of consensus decision-making needed to ensure that all countries can be held to standards that will actually improve the global situation by denying arms to those who would abuse them, the United States will actively support the negotiations. Consensus is needed to ensure the widest possible support for the Treaty and to avoid loopholes in the Treaty that can be exploited by those wishing to export arms irresponsibly.

On a national basis, the United States has in place an extensive and rigorous system of controls that most agree is the "gold standard" of export controls for arms transfers. On a bilateral basis, the United States regularly engages other states to raise their standards and to prohibit the transfer or transshipment of capabilities to rogue states, terrorist groups, and groups seeking to unsettle regions. Multilaterally, we have consistently supported high international standards, and the Arms Trade Treaty initiative presents us with the opportunity to promote the same high standards for the entire international community that the United States and other responsible arms exporters already have in place to ensure that weaponry is transferred for legitimate purposes.

Source: U.S. Support for the Arms Trade Treaty

The Trade Off

While none of this may come to fruition, or be as bad as some people claim, the potential Pandora's Box could be opened for future dissection of gun control. The inability to get the Senate in Congress to submit to a two-thirds majority vote in favor of gun control could leave other options that siphon gun control laws over the years to come. The first of two concerns that people have are other countries that will enforce the law, leaving the U.S. vulnerable to future pressure directing it on a path that will cause it to eventually cave into enacting the treaty in years to come. The second more immediate threat people feel is coming is the possible leeway that could be given to force gun owners to register all firearms to a national registry in an attempt to monitor all possible outgoing sales on firearms. Other people claim the worries stated above are just rumors set-in-motion to cause people to pull away from support of such a treaty. The idea is to keep international sales of firearms restricted so that potential buyers are not going to use them for unlawful purposes. The need to observe internal matters in countries such as the U.S. for gun sales is not considered an issue, and setting up a monitoring process to supervise individual gun owners isn't going to happen.

The Unveiled Document

In the following days the U.N. is expected to announce it has finished with the current round of provisions on the U.N. gun treaty. This will allow people to see for the first time if speculations are true on the potential damage this may cause to individual gun owners, or in actually doing what the panel claims by limiting gun sales to terrorists and other undesirable factions across the globe. Setting up provisions on small arms signals a threat to gun owners in the U.S. that could allow the government to chip away at the rights of individuals over the course of time. What ever the outcome of the current closed door session, the U.S. Congress is expected to vote against any U.N. sanctioned provisions.

Contributing Author: Jason Brumett

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