What the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty Means to You (UPDATED)

United_Nations_HQUPDATE (9/27/2013): Despite heavy opposition from U.S. Senators and civilians, Secretary of State John Kerry signed the controversial United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on Sept. 25.

The treaty establishes regulations for countries who sell or trade weapons across their borders. Official United Nations documentation would be required for the transaction of all types of weapons, from tanks to small arms.

Kerry and the Obama Administration hope their support will motivate other countries to sign on, but so far only six nations have ratified the treaty. The ATT requires ratification from at least 50 countries to become U.N. policy. China and Russia were among 23 nations who abstained from voting.

Many of the countries who didn't sign the treaty cited vague language in the document that fails to punish countries who don't play by the rules.

The new global legislation also threatens the constitutional rights of American citizens.

According to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre on NRA News, "The U.N. has consistently refused to recognize the legitimacy of a firearm in any individual citizen's hands, anywhere in the world, including the United States of America." LaPierre added, "[The ATT] is nothing more than gun registration by a different name."

Though Kerry's signature is a questionable move on the global playing field, international treaties require 2/3 U.S. Senate approval for official ratification. To date, at least 35 of the 100 U.S. Senators have rallied against the ATT, citing the treaty's infringement of constitutional rights.

Among those opposed, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., wrote a letter to President Obama, warning him not to take action without senate approval.

Despite the fact that the treaty would make imported firearms unavailable to American consumers, Kerry claims it would actually protect American people.

After signing the document, Kerry said, "This treaty will not diminish anyone's freedom. In fact, the treaty recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess, and use arms for legitimate purposes."

In response to Kerry's ATT signature, Chris Cox, Executive Director of the NRA-ILA said, "The Obama administration is once again demonstrating its contempt for our fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms."

While it appears treaty ratification is essentially dead in the water, it's still up to the American people to contact their Senators, and remind them to support their right to bear arms.

Original story below:

Currently there is a frenzy of speculation in the media concerning the Arms Trade Treaty the United Nations is pushing. This is nothing new of course; the United Nations began working on this treaty in 2006. However, delegates are convening this month to "elaborate a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms."

The big change since 2006? Whereas then-President George W. Bush opposed the treaty, President Barack Obama is an ardent supporter of it. Due to this support many, including the Executive Vice President of the NRA Wayne LaPierre and 130 U.S. lawmakers, have spoken out against it saying it would strip Americans of their God given firearm rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

Personally, I think the United Nations is a useless organization and I will not vote for President Obama in the upcoming election. Stepping back, however, it's difficult to cut through what is blatant fear mongering and Washington politics as usual. If we were to believe everything we are being told about this matter, I would expect U.N. blue helmets to be kicking down my door at any moment. Carefully peering out of my bunker though, it appears to be a beautiful sunny day outside with not even an ATF entry team in sight. What gives?

Is it possible perhaps that the NRA is doing what the NRA does best: raising money? As a Life Member of the NRA, I am well aware of the good they do. I have long supported them with my hard-earned blue collar paychecks. But they are a political organization, and everything they say should be taken with a grain of salt. The same can be said for every politician. In the age we live in, none are to be trusted no matter if there's an "R," "D" or "I" after the name. Listen to what they say, then verify for yourself. Don't be anyone's patsy.

Now, let's take a brief look at the Arms Trade Treaty itself. This is how the U.N. presents it:

"The global trade in conventional weapons — from warships and battle tanks to fighter jets and machine guns — remains poorly regulated. No set of internationally agreed standards exist to ensure that arms are only transferred for appropriate use.

Many governments have voiced concern about the absence of globally agreed rules for all countries to guide their decisions on arms transfers. That is why they have started negotiating an Arms Trade Treaty."

Basically, they would like to regulate the sale and international transfer of weapons, both large and small. They are doing this to prevent the sale of weapons to groups the international community does not feel should be receiving them. Proponents of the treaty claim experts monitoring the international arms trade have recorded more than 500 violations of U.N. arms embargoes in the past two decades. Of these, only two resulted in trials and convictions. One concerned a Dutch businessman selling components to produce mustard gas to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The other concerned two retired Chilean generals, plus seven others, for selling arms to Croatia in 1991.

The problem many have with this treaty is who decides what constitutes "appropriate use." In many countries, there simply is no appropriate use for firearms and ammunition outside those issued to military and L.E. units. In many others firearms are tightly regulated, with only competition guns or perhaps some hunting models allowed.

The fear is the U.N. -- especially with its long track record of failures -- would meddle with the rights of American citizens and disrupt the American firearms industry. Many fear the Arms Trade Treaty would be a first step down a very dangerous road that could eventually lead to the disarming of American citizens and the destruction of the U.S. firearms industry. This is especially troubling when you consider the U.N. and the rest of the world give not one whit for the firearm rights of the American citizen.

While the curtailment of U.S. citizens' firearm rights is certainly a possibility, there is more at stake then just this. The U.S. is the largest arms exporter in the world, and there are very real concerns the Arms Trade Treaty could be utilized to hinder U.S. industry and further damage our economy. Plus, there are very real concerns regarding U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. has long had very close relations with both Israel and Taiwan, and there are concerns the Arms Trade Treaty could be utilized to hinder or halt sales along with the transfer of technology to these two countries in particular. There is also the possibility the U.S. would be hindered in supplying other allies in various places around the world as well. To be frank, there is a lot at stake for the U.S.

One July 6, the Obama administration declared the United States will not allow the U.N. to impose any restrictions on Americans' gun rights. Rose Gottemoeller, acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, tweeted the following message the same day:

Unfortunately for President Obama, the average American firearm owner does not trust him, his administration or his Attorney General. This is especially true with the on-going Fast and Furious scandal and cover-up, which many believe was a False Flag operation with a long-term goal to curtail Americans' gun rights.

UPDATE (7/30): Arms treaty negotiations have failed in the U.N., and according to CBS News, the country to blame -- or thank -- for the unraveling is the U.S. and the National Rifle Association.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

A New Season of G&A TV

A New Season of G&A TV

In this new season of Guns & Ammo TV, we introduce two new series and bring back a viewer favorite - Camera's Don't Lie. We look at long-range tech and see how to make shots previously thought impossible. Next we visit ISS Prop House in Hollywood.

Century Arms Introduces a Heavy-Duty AK Rifle

Century Arms Introduces a Heavy-Duty AK Rifle

Chambered in 7.62x39mm with components machined from extremely durable S7 tool steel, a chrome-moly 4150 barrel and a carburized 4140 steel bolt.

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

Armscor Semi-Auto Shotguns

Armscor Semi-Auto Shotguns

We look at the new shotguns from Armscor - the VR80 and the brand new bullpup VRBP100.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Don't mortgage the homestead to get into PRS, this is what's available from the likes of Mossberg, Tikka, Savage, Howa, Bergara, Weatherby and Remington. Rifles

Starter Rifles for Under $1000

Aaron Carter - May 09, 2019

Don't mortgage the homestead to get into PRS, this is what's available from the likes of...

The Taurus TX22 rimfire shoots like no other. Reviews

Taurus TX22 Rimfire Review

Eric Poole - May 23, 2019

The Taurus TX22 rimfire shoots like no other.

From milled slides to optics-included packages, these pistol options are all red-dot sight ready. Handguns

14 Red Dot Ready Pistols You Must See

James Tarr - December 20, 2018

From milled slides to optics-included packages, these pistol options are all red-dot sight...

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an engineering degree to tinker with; here's a look at some upgrade options to take your Ruger American to the next level, and make it something a bit different. Accessories

Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades

Philip Massaro - March 15, 2018

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an...

See More Trending Articles

More Industry

Guns & Ammo's editor flew to São Paulo to experience Brazil's celebration of Taurus' 80th anniversary. Industry

Revisiting 80 Years of Taurus

Eric R. Poole - July 17, 2020

Guns & Ammo's editor flew to São Paulo to experience Brazil's celebration of Taurus' 80th...

According to various sources, Remington is preparing to file bankruptcy for the second time in two years. Talks are underway to transfer ownership of the company to the Navajo Nation, and the news is spreading to attract the attention on both sides of the gun debate. Industry

Update: Remington Bankruptcy

Guns & Ammo Staff - July 02, 2020

According to various sources, Remington is preparing to file bankruptcy for the second time in...

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

NSSF: Sen. McSally to Gun Industry — 'You Want Me on that Wall'

Matt Manda

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now