NRA skeptical of U.S., U.N. arms treaty
In the hours immediately following President Obama’s reelection, the United States championed the U.N. committee’s decision to renew talks of an international treaty to regulate the $70 billion dollar global arms trade.
U.S. officials say the treaty will have no effect on domestic gun sales and ownership because it will only apply to weapons exports, but the National Rifle Association isn’t convinced.
“That’s been the claim for years during the first go-around and the short answer is ‘no, we don’t buy it,’” said Andrew Arulanandam, Director of Public Affairs for the NRA, citing Obama’s support for the reenactment of the semi-automatic weapon ban in the second presidential debate as grounds for suspicion.
Arulandam said that the NRA would actively oppose anything in the treaty that includes or affects the private ownership of firearms within the U.S.
“We have a Second Amendment right in the U.S. and the NRA will do whatever we can to protect it,” Arulanandam told The Daily Caller. “That includes working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to make sure that any proposed treaty that includes private ownership of firearms within its scope does not become a reality.”
The NRA’s opposition to the treaty is based on treaties proposed within the last few years, but Arulanandam claims there is no language yet on which the new treaty can be judged.
Several U.N. nations had problems with the treaty proposed earlier this year.
The United States, along with Russia and other major arms producers, expressed concern with the proposed treaty during month-long talks at the U.N. headquarters in July, effectively ending the negotiations.
But the U.N. General Assembly’s disarmament committee, in swift reaction to the Obama victory, approved a resolution for a new round of trade talks from March 18 – 28. The motion passed with 157 votes in favor, zero against and 18 abstentions. The resolution now requires a formal vote from the 193-nation General Assembly, which is expected to uphold the measure.
Opponents of the arms treaty complained that the July negotiations corroded due to fear of attacks by Gov. Mitt Romney, a charge the Obama administration denies, citing genuine problems with the original draft of the treaty.
Proponents of the treaty have pushed for stringent provisions in hopes of creating a “strong, balanced and effective Arms Trade Treaty”
Brian Wood of Amnesty International believes that, with the cooperation of major weapons-producing countries, that the U.N. is only months away from a deal that would stop weapons from reaching people who abuse human rights.
The treaty would make the respect for human rights a criterion for importing firearms.
A tweet from Britain’s U.N. mission said that March’s negotiations would yield the final text of a treaty, which would require ratification from each of the U.N.’s individual signatories before taking effect.
Follow Zach on Twitter