UN fails to produce a gun control treaty, but the fight is far from over

Chris Cox Executive Director, NRA's Institute for Legislative Action
Font Size:

The National Rifle Association and our four million members have been fighting for nearly 20 years to stop the United Nations from trampling our Second Amendment freedoms.

This past month, we continued that fight at the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty conference in New York. We attended countless meetings. We rallied a majority of U.S. senators to stand strong against the ratification of any U.N. treaty that infringes on our Second Amendment freedoms in any way. We collected hundreds of thousands of petitions, and are still collecting them here! Wayne LaPierre testified publicly and forcefully before the conference, saying:

Without apology, the NRA wants no part of any treaty that infringes on the precious right of lawful Americans to keep and bear arms. Let there be no confusion: Any treaty that includes civilian firearms ownership in its scope will be met with the NRA’s greatest force of opposition.

And thanks to the generous support and diligent activism of NRA members and patriotic Americans nationwide, we stopped this treaty in its tracks! Last Friday, the U.N. announced its failure to reach consensus on its long-anticipated international gun control accord. The NRA has been widely credited by our friends and opponents alike with stopping this treaty.

While this is a great victory for every American who believes in national sovereignty and constitutional freedom, it’s only temporary. The U.N. plans to reconvene at a future date and go back to the drawing board.

The tyrants, dictators and socialists who serve as the U.N.’s brain trust simply have no respect for the concept of individual rights. To them, individual rights are nuisances that impede government power.

So it’s little surprise that the Arms Trade Treaty they tried to ram through placed an overwhelming emphasis on the “rights” of governments to regulate, restrict and ban their citizens’ right to own a firearm — but didn’t even give a passing glance toward anyone’s fundamental freedom to own a gun for self-defense.

The NRA has stated from the beginning that any treaty that attempts to regulate civilian arms is a direct and hostile threat to the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. But that’s exactly what the U.N.’s gun control treaty aims to do.

The draft treaty that finally failed last week would have required the United States to “maintain records of all imports and shipments of arms,” register the identity of the “end user” of those firearms, and then report the user’s information to a U.N.-based gun registry.

In other words, if you purchase a Beretta shotgun, which is manufactured abroad in Italy, you would be considered an “end user” and the U.S. government would not only be required to keep a record of you and your gun purchase, but also hand over your information to the United Nations. This isn’t just gun registration — it’s gun registration on steroids.

The treaty would also have required the U.S. to “take all appropriate measures necessary to prevent the diversion of imported arms into the illicit market or to unintended end users.” This is clearly designed to help international bureaucrats and anti-gun fanatics pressure our elected leaders to trample our Second Amendment freedoms in the name of complying with the U.N.’s gun control dictates.

Americans already know what the U.N. and its anti-gun allies consider “appropriate measures” when it comes to gun control. They want handgun bans, bans on semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, gun registration, lengthy waiting periods, and gun and ammunition rationing, to name just a few. This treaty would have given them an international mandate to pursue every one of these unconstitutional attacks on our freedom.

Although the U.N. failed to produce any consensus this time, our fight is far from over. The U.N. will meet again soon with the express purpose of finalizing its gun control treaty and getting it signed by member nations. And remember, once the treaty materializes, it never goes away. It can be picked up and signed by any future U.S. president, and ratified by any future U.S. Senate.

NRA members, gun owners, and freedom-loving Americans nationwide must remain vigilant, not only at the U.N., but also here at home in our upcoming national elections. The only way to ensure the safety of our sovereign right to keep and bear arms is to elect lawmakers at every level of government who vow to never sacrifice our freedom at the U.N. altar.

And without question, that means defeating Barack Obama and his gun-ban allies in Congress this November.

Chris W. Cox is the Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) and serves as the organization’s chief lobbyist.