Obama administration caves to gun lobby on Arms Trade Treaty

 In Arms Sales and Military Aid

After a month of painstaking negotiations on a treaty to stem the flow of deadly conventional weapons, the Arms Trade Treaty is put off indefinitely. In a move that Amnesty International labeled “stunning cowardice,” the US and other countries pushed for more time for negotiations beyond the July 27th deadline.

It’s no secret why the US balked at a common sense treaty to regulate the $60 billion global arms trade. The San Francisco Chronicle lays it out in an editorial entitled “NRA wins one for worldwide gun trade”:

When a global treaty to limit shady weapons sales gets swept up in the gun-control debate, it’s clear that this country has a problem. A bloc of U.S. senators, chiefly Republicans with a sprinkling of Democrats, has managed to derail a U.N. treaty to restrict weapons sales between countries.

The reasoning is spurious and shameful, a political play on distrust of the United Nations and unfounded fears about a loss of domestic gun rights. But the threat was enough to lead the Obama White House to pull back on final-day treaty deliberations. The decision kicks talks past the November presidential vote…

…The result is a failure on the arms control front. But it’s also a cave-in to the unreasonable and antagonistic gun lobby. President Obama is ducking a fight – one he believes he can’t afford in a close election – and handing a win to his foes.

The New York Times engaged in a bit of dubious he said/she said journalism on the topic of the treaty and its relation to gun rights in the US (emphasis mine):

Treaty supporters, led by activist groups such as Amnesty International and Oxfam America, expressed anger at the failure after early bouts of optimism that a draft of the treaty circulated this week would satisfy American concerns, notably its possible infringement on the Second Amendment right to bear arms — an especially delicate issue during a presidential election year in the United States.

The supporters contended the treaty’s language specified that it would have no impact on such rights. But gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association said the treaty remained “seriously flawed.”

Supporters of the treaty don’t contend that the language specifies this. The language does clearly specify this. The NRA’s wildly inaccurate take on the Arms Trade Treaty has been debunked. Their allies in the House and Senate are playing politics with people’s lives, convincing supporters that the UN is about to bust down their doors and confiscate their guns. Now the Obama administration has handed them a victory, allowing them to crow (see the above graphic from their website), stating, “this is a big victory for American gun owners, and the NRA is being widely credited for killing the U.N. ATT.”

The NRA isn’t resting on its laurels. They know proponents of the ATT will keep pushing and vow to keep up their work to tank the treaty. That means we need to be even louder and more persistent in our support of a bulletproof treaty that will save lives.

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Showing 4 comments
  • John

    This article is biased to the point that it’s almost a lie. Yes, some of the stuff the NRA is saying is not the case, however, you are quick to mention that, but fail to mention the actual facts that DO effect law abiding citizens. So don’t act so self righteous, as you are no better than the NRA. If you want “common sense gun laws”, it should be done by the country that it effects, not the U.N. This is a democracy, and if Voters have a problem with this, to the point it would cost him an election, perhaps it’s not a cave-in by Obama, maybe he is carrying out the will of the people, that is his job. In a democracy, such things should be decided by the voters, and who they vote into office. According to NBC, a poll NOT run by the NRA showed that more than half of the randomly chosen pool of more than 100,000 voters did not want any stricter laws or policy when it came to guns.
    BTW, the anti-gun crowd and even the media think that the AR-15 used in Aurora was an Assault Rifle, AR-15’s are not assault rifles, unless they were converted to one, which is already a Felony, and requires a machine shop and access to illegal parts. The only way to acquire an assault rifle legally is to have a EXTREMELY clean past, and ALOT of money, and be willing to wait 3-6months as class 3 transfers are heavily scrutinized, you are also giving up many freedoms, if you purchase one you give BATF the right to search your residence to make sure you still have possesion of the weapon, without any notice, I’ve never been arrested, not even close, never been charged with a crime, so, my fingerprints are not in the system, however, not long ago when I was old enough I got my concealed weapons permit, one of the things I had to agree to do is give up my fingerprints to be put “in the system”, so if I do commit a crime, I’m more likely to be caught now. to purchase an AR-15 that qualifies as an assault rifle it had to be converted BEFORE 1986 A legal pre-ban AR-15 that had to be completely overhauled and it’s internals, from the bolt to the fire control system converted before the 1986 ban are rare, however, most of them constantly jam because they were not designed to be assault rifles, however there are a few that do work most of the time, An Automatic AR-15 in decent shape that you can own legally costs on average $25,000.00, It is Already a Felony to purchase or manufacture an assault weapon, my source, the department of alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. However, in the end it’s all based on the assumption that criminals will stop breaking the law if we make just a couple more gun laws….It is a very slippery slope.

    • John

      It is Already a Felony to purchase or manufacture an assault weapon, my source, the department of alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. However, in the end it’s all based on the assumption that criminals will stop breaking the law if we make just a couple more gun laws….It is a very slippery slope.

      when I said that, I wasn’t including the ones that were manufactured before the ban, manufacture is the legal term, but, convert is the more common one. I also would like to add that even a licensed firearm dealer cannot sell the pre-86 assault weapons, you have to have a special firearm license to sell one of these. In addition to the extremely high price, there is also a 200 dollar tax stamp in addition to the 25K, plus normal sales tax, BTW, the Brady Campaign is no better than the NRA, and don’t side with a group just because they believe what you believe.

      • Rebecca Griffin

        The issue of stricter gun laws within the United States is a separate debate. The fact of the matter is, the NRA is drumming up fear about the ATT affecting domestic guns sales, despite the fact that the resolution to create the treaty specifically says it will not impact those sales. The gun lobby is poisoning the debate on this issue, and it means that people in conflict zones around the world will continue to suffer because we cannot stop the flow of arms in the global market.

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