Posts Tagged ‘ATT’

French Gun Rights Group Joins Growing International Coalition Against Gun Control

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) announced today that French gun rights group National Union of Owners Arms Hunting and Shooting (UNPACT) have joined the international coalition of 29 associations in 21 countries dedicated to defending civilian firearms rights.

UNPACT’s membership in the civilian arms rights coalition expands the European membership to eleven groups from eleven different EU and non-EU countries.

“We’re on the side of everyday people in all countries that wish to exercise their right to use firearms for legitimate purposes, including self-defense,” IAPCAR’s Executive Director Philip Watson said. “We’re very pleased to have UNPACT as our newest ally in the fight against extremist groups and individuals attempting to diminish firearms and self-defense rights.”

Gilles Proffit, UNPACT’s Secretary General recently issued a statement critical of an EU ‘White Paper’ proposing new regulatory schemes aimed at curtailing the legitimate ownership of commonly used firearms.

“European citizens cannot and shall not any further trust people, be they designated or elected, who do not trust them,” Proffit said. “They have long memories and will remind voters in all EU countries of this incredible matter in due course every time a national or European ballot comes up.”

IAPCAR and its affiliates issued a call to action last May on the newly proposed EU firearms regulations. The result of public input across Europe was over 92 percent opposed to the new restrictions.

IAPCAR Director Julianne Versnel, who is also the Second Amendment Foundation’s Director of Operations, submitted testimony to the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) meeting in March objecting to the exclusion of civilian arms rights from the ATT. “Nothing that is in an Arms Trade Treaty should affect a woman’s right to defend herself,” Versnel told the delegates.

The IAPCAR civilian arms rights coalition is focused on opposition to the ATT, which has passed the U.N. General Assembly and was made available for countries to sign on June 3. The ATT does not acknowledge or protect civilian arms rights or recognize the right to self-defense in its enforceable language.

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights ( is the only worldwide political action group focusing on the human right to keep and bear arms. Founded in 2010, IAPCAR has grown to 29 major gun-rights organizations in 21 countries and conducts campaigns designed to inform the public and promote the right of self-defense and gun-ownership.

US State Dept. Press Release: “US Welcomes Opening of Arms Trade Treaty for Signature”

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 3, 2013


The United States welcomes the opening of the Arms Trade Treaty for signature, and we look forward to signing it as soon as the process of conforming the official translations is completed satisfactorily.

The Treaty is an important contribution to efforts to stem the illicit trade in conventional weapons, which fuels conflict, empowers violent extremists, and contributes to violations of human rights. The Treaty will require the parties to implement strict controls, of the kind the United States already has in place, on the international transfer of conventional arms to prevent their diversion and misuse and create greater international cooperation against black market arms merchants. The ATT will not undermine the legitimate international trade in conventional weapons, interfere with national sovereignty, or infringe on the rights of American citizens, including our Second Amendment rights.

We commend the Presidents of the two UN negotiating conferences – Roberto Garcia Moritan of Argentina and Peter Woolcott of Australia –for their leadership in bringing this agreement to fruition. We also congratulate all the states that helped achieve an effective, implementable Treaty that will reduce the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes.

U.N. global gun control effort begins anew

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Via Dave Workman, Seattle Gun Rights Examiner

New talks about an old subject – international gun control – begin today at the United Nations in New York, and sure to be involved at some point is the Bellevue-based International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR), founded with the cornerstone involvement of gun rights advocates Alan Gottlieb and Julianne Versnel.

IAPCAR Executive Director Phil Watson keeps an office at Gottlieb’s Liberty Park complex. Attorney Mark Barnes is IAPCAR’s managing director with an office in Washington, D.C.

In addition, the National Rifle Association is keenly interested in these talks. Indeed, U.S. gun rights organizations have every reason for alarm, in the wake of a statement published Friday by the Washington Post from Amnesty International’s Michelle A. Ringuette.

“The NRA claim that there is such a thing as ‘civilian weapons’ and that these can and need to be treated differently from military weapons under the Arms Trade Treaty is — to put it politely — the gun lobby’s creativity on full display,” Ringuette insisted, according to the newspaper. “There is no such distinction. To try to create one would create a loophole that would render the treaty inoperative, as anyone could claim that he or she was in the business of trading ‘civilian weapons.’ ”

This suggests that global gun banners equate rifles and shotguns with tanks and surface-to-air missiles. For example, during last Thursday’s Senate Judiciary debate on her gun ban legislation, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) defended her efforts to ban “just a few guns” and leave others alone by arguing, “Is this not enough for the people of the United States? Do they need a bazooka?”

Raising further alarms is the fact that within hours of confirming his re-election in November. President Barack Obama had joined a handful of other nations to rekindle the U.N.’s long-running effort to adopt an international gun control treaty. Gottlieb, who heads the Second Amendment Foundation, raised alarms about this last Nov. 7.

Amnesty International is part of an international gun control group called IANSA (International Action Network on Small Arms). That group also includes the Brady Campaign for the Prevention of Gun Violence, and the Law Center for Smart Gun Laws (LCSGL).

It could be that the deck has been carefully stacked by the U.N. According to Fox News, last week, IANSA co-hosted – with the UN – a “series of meetings” with representatives from 48 African nations to push global gun control. The session was held in Addis Ababa, Ethopia.

Gottlieb was in Europe recently attending a meeting of the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting, and he takes the threat of global gun control seriously. That the U.N. is hosting these talks on American soil, in a building that has a statute out front of a Colt Python with its barrel twisted into a knot is a not-so-subtle insult to the Second Amendment and American firearms owners.

Gun rights leaders are warning American gun owners that this is not the time to become complacent, or to be entirely focused on state-level gun control measures, or bills passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s effort to renew and make permanent a ban on so-called “assault rifles” and ammunition magazines.

That all of this is occurring at the same time – barely two months into Obama’s second term – does not seem coincidental to some activists, who are now saying “We warned you.”


Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

New Coalition Says Current Draft Arms Trade Treaty Would Be Worse For Humanity

By Jeff MORAN | Geneva

An informal coalition of prominent academics, researchers, and advocates in the fields of international human rights law and small arms control policy-making condemned the 26 July 2012 draft United Nations (UN) Arms Trade treaty (ATT) on 30 October. [1]

According to statements made, the draft ATT is absolutely unacceptable and adopting it without substantial changes would be worse for humanity than if there was no ATT at all.  They expressed their  position during a news briefing at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, where they discussed the publication of “Academy Briefing #2: The Draft Arms Trade Treaty.” [2]

The formal official authors of the publication were Dr. Stuart Casey-Maslen, a Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy, and Ms. Sarah Parker, a Senior Researcher at the Small Arms Survey.  The authors coordinated with and received input from representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Saferworld, and Oxfam. [4]

This is a significant  development in humanitarian advocacy designed to influence the unfinished UN ATT negotiations process, which is expected to formally re-open where it left off and run for 10 days under consensus rules from 18-28 March 2013. [3]  The  condemnation may embolden states aligned with Mexico to kill consensus and to take the ATT negotiations outside the UN.  This would amount to hitting the reset button and clearing the way for a more controversial treaty to be adopted under  less rigorous two-thirds majority rules. [5]

Dr. Stuart Casey-Maslen was unable to be present for the news briefing due to a family emergency and so was unavailable for comment.  Dr. Casey-Maslen was a member of the Swiss delegation to the ATT negotiations.  He was also on the ICRC delegation to the Oslo Diplomatic Conference in 1997 that adopted the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, which was a treaty that was developed outside the UN system and championed mainly by non-governmental organizations.

Ms. Sarah Parker sat in Dr. Casey-Maslen’s place and has been a member of the Australian delegation during the UN ATT process.  Ms. Parker was joined by Mr. Gilles Giacca who is a researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the Geneva Academy.  The news briefing was led by Dr. Andrew Clapham, co-Director of the Geneva Academy and author of several books on international humanitarian law.


News Briefing Details

Dr. Clapham opened the news briefing, and then passed the floor to Mr. Gilles Giacca who spoke for about six minutes.  This was followed by Dr. Clapham again for about 15 minutes.  This left over 30 minutes for a lengthy question and answer session where nine questions were answered.  The briefing was attended by over 100 people.  One professional reporter self-identified and asked the first question at the end.

Mr. Gilles Giacca first provided some historical context and motivations for the ATT.  He then listed international instruments and declarations designed to increase controls over small arms and light weapons, to reduce arms related violence worldwide:

1.  UN Program of Action on Small Arms,

2.  UN Firearms Protocol,

3.  The UN International Tracing Instrument, and the

4.  Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development.

Then he discussed the main challenges for the negotiations of the ATT so far:

1.  Defining the scope of the weapons to be regulated by the ATT.

2.  Defining the criteria to be used to condition authorized international transfers of weapons subject to the ATT.

3.  Defining the monitoring, compliance, reporting and implementation mechanisms of the ATT, for such things as the provision of victim assistance.

4.  The US insisting on negotiating by consensus rules, and so creating the option for a single country to “spoil” the treaty.

5.  The large gap between two main camps: those who want a narrow scope treaty, and those who want a broad scope treaty.

After Mr. Giacca concluded, Dr. Andrew Clapham opened his comments by stating that the ATT should be an instrument “to prevent arms from fueling human rights violations or violating international humanitarian law.”  He went on to state “what’s at stake here, I think, is that the treaty has a number of flaws or loopholes in it.  And if it were going to be adopted in current form, arguably it could be worse than no treaty.”

Dr. Clapham said further that in various places the ATT appeared to set the bar lower than existing international standards, and that this would amount to a step backwards, or a “retrogression in international standards” as is stated in the Academy Briefing. [6]

He then detailed his main problems with the draft ATT, though he elaborated many problems as discussion developed into the question and answer period.  His short-hand for three main problems were: 1) the complicity problem, 2) definition of war crimes, and 3) the balancing problem.

1.  Complicity Problem.   This criticism focused on Article 3, paragraph 3 and specifically cited the text “A State Party shall not authorize a transfer of conventional weapons within the scope of this Treaty for the purposes of facilitating the commission of genocide, crime against humanity…” Here Dr. Clapham stated that the “for the purposes of facilitating” is too high a standard and is essentially not in line with international customary law.  He said there should be an awareness test or a knowledge test, but not a purpose test. [7]

2.  Definition of War Crimes.  This criticism focused on Article 3, paragraph 3.  In short he stated that limiting war crimes to “grave breaches” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions or serious violations of Common Article 3 of those Conventions would exclude most violations that are thought to be occurring in Syria, violations such as the disproportionate targeting of civilians. [8]

3.  The Balancing Problem.  This criticism focused on Article 4, paragraph 5.  His basic point was that the use of the term “overriding” implied a balancing of peace and security v. human rights violations.  He further stated that that if the “overriding” language was kept in the treaty, and if the common understanding by diplomats was that there should be a balancing of peace and security v. human rights violations, this would be “a step backwards” because “it takes away the idea that human rights are something absolute, that there can be no violations under any circumstances.”  He suggested using other words such as “substantial risk,” “clear risk,” or even “overwhelming risk.” [9]

Other issues Dr. Clapham addressed in passing were:

4.  The treaty scope (e.g. the exclusion of tear gas and rubber bullets for example).

5.  Ambiguity about the definition for ammunition, munitions.

6.  Ambiguity about the definition of trade (e.g. does it include state gifts and loans?)


Observations & Other Discussions

Most of the discussion was about loopholes and weak ATT language with respect to promoting human rights.  The news briefing seemed at times, however, to be a public lamentation with the United States essentially blamed first for insisting upon consensus rules at the outset of the negotiations process in 2009, and then spoiling the draft treaty by creating the “balancing problem” between human rights and state security. [10]

While Dr. Clapham acknowledged the ATT as a “trade” and “export” treaty at one point, his commentary was delivered as if the treaty was designed purely to serve as an instrument of global civil society improvement, one that is too important to be frustrated in any way by others concerned about national sovereignty, security, and business interests, and/or the principle of individual right to armed self-defense.

The speakers were clearly frustrated with the draft ATT, and the negotiations process to date.  It was not clear if this was indicative of  just a distaste for the messy multilateral reality of accommodating diverse state interests, an acquired disdain for those diplomats and delegations guided more by how the world is rather than how the world should be, or both.

Yet the mood was not entirely down.  The room became guardedly positive when talk turned to the taking the ATT negotiation process outside the UN, to “do it right” as Mr. Giacca said on the Geneva Academy ATT Legal Blog post that was projected onto the wall behind the stage during the news briefing. [11]  This discussion thread developed in response to a question about the probability of Mexico, for example, leading a push to take the ATT outside the UN.

In response to this question, Dr. Clapham reframed the ATT as a once in a lifetime opportunity to save humanity from rights abuses, and implied that he and others like Dr. Keith Krause  (the Founding Director of the Small Arms Survey, also seated in the audience) were hoping to get a good ATT done “on their watch.”

But Dr. Clapham acknowledged a certain level of fatigue may set in and that diplomats and some humanitarian groups might just settle for a lowest common denominator to get the ATT done.  He went on to state however that “there’s a good chance, that if people realize they are going to get something which is worse than nothing…and if the Mexican leadership…has the stomach for this, it could get taken outside the UN.”  He went on to say this would allow for an ATT text to be approved “with only a two-thirds  majority and we’d arguably get a much better text.” Sarah Parker, and Gilles Giacco also commented on this situation as well.

The discussion got pessimistic again when Dr. Krause actually took the floor to make comments about Article 4 and the national assessment provisions.  He essentially declared that the draft ATT, without fundamental changes, could result in a “pretty instrument that actually doesn’t change anything that actually happens in the world.”  The reasoning being that weapons transfers would be subject to national assessment without any meaningful way for non-governmental organizations and other states to legally challenge a State’s own assessment process and decisions to export/transfer arms abroad, and this, in his words, would be “tragic.”  Dr. Krause seemed to offer that another good reason to take the ATT outside the UN system would be for “limiting the scope of malicious interpretation” of the ATT by state parties.

Sarah Parker, who works for Mr. Krause at the Small Arms Survey, then explained how provisions for increased accountability and transparency on national assessment could be added through an implemented “ATT system” when the “political climate” was better, eventually, after countries become “more comfortable” with the ATT’s obligations.   She elaborated that a State’s own national assessment decisions could be made subject to legal challenges in international courts.

Dr. Clapham even suggested how reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch could eventually precipitate court-ordered injunctions halting government arms exports / transfers provided that campaigners and advocates first help bring about appropriate controlling national legislation.  Dr. Clapham and Ms. Parker were presumably referring to more politically open states only, and the United States especially.

At the end, Ms. Parker importantly clarified that the ATT is not about creating a new tier of illegal transfers.  Rather, “the ATT is introducing a new tier which is where [some] arms transfers are considered irresponsible, and therefore illegal.”


Looking Forward

Dr. Clapham, Mr. Giacca, Dr. Krause, and all seemed hopeful for an ATT negotiated outside the UN system (i.e. without consensus rules, with fewer countries required for an ATT to enter into force, with higher standards, broader scope, better text overall etc).  [12]  Ironically for them and like-minded partners at the ICRC, Oxfam, and Saferworld, realizing these hopes now seems best assured if nations don’t reach consensus at the UN ATT Conference in March.

Will humanitarian rights groups and sympathetic state delegations help move the UN ATT Conference talks forward by consensus, or will they act to kill consensus themselves?

Deliberately killing consensus will hit the ATT reset button and would be hypocritical at the very least, particularly since such groups were the first to accuse the United States and others of doing this in July. [13]  Regardless of who might kill consensus in March, doing so will certainly lead to further institutional division within the international system.  With Syria now in a full civil war, and the risks of major regional conflict accelerating, more division seems the last thing the world now needs.


Indexed Audio

The downloadable audio for this conference is just under 53 minutes and 7MB.   It is complete except for the first few minutes of introductions.  The only edits made to the audio file were to enhance voice and minimize noise.  This said, there are some points where noise may make it difficult to clearly understand speakers.  You can download it here.

00:00 – 05:47 | Presentation by Gilles Giacca
05:48 – 20:18 | Presentation by Dr. Andrew Clapham
20:19 – 21:04 | Question 1 and response (on the United States creating the “balancing problem”)
21:05 – 24:13 | Question 2 and response (on violence against women provisions)
24:14 – 26:41 | Question 3 and response (on implications for private military companies)
24:42 – 27:37 | Question 4 and response (on conflicts between an ATT and international law)
27:38 – 33:13 | Question 5 and responses (on taking the ATT outside the UN system)
33:14 – 34:25 | Question 6 and responses (on individual and business applicability)
34:26 – 36:15 | Question 7 and comment by Keith Krause (on national assessments)
36:16 – 39:09 | Dr. Clapham response to Keith Krause (on national assessments)
39:10 – 41:02 | Sarah Parker comments to Keith Krause (on national assessments)
41:03 – 42:08 | Dr. Clapham second response to Keith Krause (on national assessments)
42:09 – 44:43 | Question 8 and responses (on the definition of authorization)
44:44 – 52:06 | Question 9 and responses (on legitimating the arms trade and exporting to third parties)
52:07 – 52:51 | Dr. Clapham clarification about transfers to third parties, and close)


About The Author

Jeff Moran, a Principal at TSM Worldwide LLC, specializes in the international defense, security, and firearms industries.  Previously Mr. Moran was a strategic marketing leader for a multi-billion dollar unit of a public defense & aerospace company, a military diplomat, and a nationally ranked competitive rifle shooter.  He is currently studying international law of armed conflict with the Executive LL.M. Program of the Geneva Academy.  Earlier this year he completed an Executive Master in International Negotiation from the Graduate Institute of Geneva.   Mr. Moran also has an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and a BSFS from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.


End Notes

[1]  The first session of the UN ATT Conference was held from 3 -28 July and ended with no action on the final draft treaty dated 26 July 2012.  A .pdf version of this draft ATT is available here.

[2]  The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights website is here.  According to the back of the briefing cover, the Geneva Academy “provides post-graduate teaching, conducts academic legal research, undertakes policy studies, and organizes training courses and expert meetings;” and “concentrates on the branches of international law applicable in times of armed conflict.”  A .pdf of the Academy Briefing is available in here.

[3] A draft resolution before the First Committee of the United Nations is available at here.

[4]  The stated authors of the briefing acknowledge collaboration from Roy Isbister, Claire Mortimer, and Nathalie Weizmann on the front inside cover of the Academy Briefing.  These individuals are well-known representatives of Saferworld, Oxfam, and the ICRC respectively.  While a disclaimer states the views expressed “do not necessarily reflect those of the project’s supporters or of anyone who provided input to, or commented on, an earlier draft,” previous public statements by these individuals  indicate strong concurrence with the briefing by these individuals and their respective employers.  You can learn more about the Small Arms Survey here.

[5]  Mexico is most likely to lead the effort to reset the ATT negotiations outside the United Nations based on its prior statements and actions during ATT negotiations process since 2009.  At the conclusion of the UN ATT Conference in July, they spoke on behalf of 90 countries signaling a clear willingness represent the interests of other like-minded states.  A .pdf of this statement is available here.

[6] “Academy Briefing No. 2: The Draft Arms Trade Treaty.”  Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.  30 October 2012.  Page 31.

[7] Ibid., page 23.

[8] Ibid., page 23.

[9] Ibid., page 25.

[10]  Mr. Giacca made reference to the problem of consensus rules and the US  insistence on them in his remarks.  A .pdf of the press statement announcing the US support for the ATT negotiations with consensus rules is available here.  Dr. Clapham specifically identified the US as creating the balancing problem when answering the first question from the audience.  You can hear this starting at 20 minutes and 19 seconds in the audio file referenced above.

[11] A .pdf of the blog post presented during the news briefing is available here.

[12] Among the people making comments at the news briefing, Ms. Parker was alone in declaring her preference for a treaty by consensus through the UN system.

[13] Here are links to press releases from Reuters, Oxfam, Amnesty International, and Control Arms. Sources last accessed 5 November  2012.

First Published: 5 November 2012
Last Updated: 5 November 2012

Online republication and redistribution are authorized when this entire publication (including byline, hyper-links, and Indexed Audio, About the Author and End Note sections) and linkable URL are included.

UPDATE: UN Arms Trade Treaty

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

By Philip L. Watson

Julianne Versnel of IAPCAR and SAF last week at the UN Conference of Parties

Executive Director

The evolution of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) from the “Firearms Protocol” and the “Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons” (PoA) for more than a decade continues despite the failure to reach agreement on the ATT this last July.

On October 15-19 the “Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime” was held in Vienna Austria. IAPCAR’s Julianne Versnel and Alan Gottlieb attended the meeting via the WFSA on behalf of the Second Amendment Foundation. In the past, the UN’s “Conference of Parties” has served as a bureaucratic and educational platform supporting the Firearms Protocol, the Programme of Action, and the ATT.

At this meeting the “illegal” trade in small arms used for sport and/or self-defense was lumped in with various forms of crime such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, terrorism, counterfeiting, and organized crime.

A resolution was passed to continue the working group’s study and recognizing the legitimacy of firearms with sporting uses.

Mexico was apparently vehement on not mentioning firearms in civilian possession. Rather, their preferred method of mentioning firearms replaces “civilian possession” with “lawful use.” This proposed verbiage would presumably give governments and the UN more authority to limit civilian use of firearms.

The Mexican delegation also hosted a side event titled “Arms Trade Treaty, Firearms Protocal and Small Arms Programme of Action: Three essential components of effective firearms control. What options for synergies?” The main stated goal of the meeting was to “establish synergies” among the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms, the Firearms Protocol, and the UN Arms Trade Treaty. During the meeting a representative from a different group advised against changing terms and contexts that had already been negotiated.

At the main meeting, a representative from Russia questioned the motives, funding sources, and accuracy of the so called “Small Arms Survey,” a yearly publication distributed by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) and Cambridge Press. The 366 page tome supposedly focuses on “illicit trafficking of small arms;” however, the ‘survey’ frequently veers far off track highlighting domestic laws and issues unrelated to international affairs or the UN. The publication serves as a clear blueprint and source of skewed data for a political agenda against the civilian use of firearms.

In addition to the “Small Arms Survey,” GIIDS also frequently produces “Research Notes” and “Issue Briefs” for dissemination at UN meetings. These smaller, pithier handouts are distributed at meetings backing up the yearly ‘Survey’ to constantly reiterate their request for increased regulation on civilian arms.

The UN ATT is likely to resurface again. Overall, the goals of our opposition have not, and will not change. In the defense of the human right of self-defense, IAPCAR will continue to monitor these events closely.


NFA Warns of Problems With UN Arms Trade Treaty

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

NFA Warns of problems with UN Arms Trade Treaty

25 July 2012

A near final draft and the closing days of the UN Arms Trade Treaty talks could spell trouble for Canadian interests.  There is tremendous pressure to conclude a deal by July 27 and if the latest draft is any indication, the deal will not be a good one for Canadians.

“The draft treaty still affects civilian ownership of firearms and could cause trouble for Canadians travelling with firearms,” according to Sheldon Clare, President of Canada’s National Firearms Association who was present for part of the talks. “Even more significantly though, are clauses which would establish an expensive and intrusive Implementation Support Unit, a body which would be engaged in keeping firearms trade records.  The ISU would be a likely conduit for providing money to unscrupulous regimes from UN coffers partially funded by Canadian taxpayers.  That is certainly not something that Canadians want or need.”

Clare continued, “One of the most potentially dangerous clauses is the proposed amending formula which under Article 20 introduces a two-thirds majority requirement to amend the ATT.  Such a clause is a direct threat to national sovereignty in that it removes the traditional need for consensus in UN decision making.  It could easily lead to despots and dictators making amendments that would be binding on Europe and North America.  When combined with Article 23 which would mean that even countries that don’t sign it are subject to it, we have a clear step towards a dangerous system of world governance that would harm the interests of Canada and individual Canadians.“

“In addition, there are aspects of the draft treaty that could prevent Canada from providing aid to its needy allies, especially if such aid conflicted with the aims of countries opposed to Canadian values.  The recent draft of the Arms Trade Treaty is bad for Canada and Canadians, and our government should not sign it,” stated Mr. Clare.  “While governments need to act against terrorism, perhaps better ways to deal with unrest would be to address the economic situations, political differences, and human rights issues that contribute to people agitating for change.”

“A global ATT would only be in the interests of those who would seek economic advantage by limiting market opportunity and of regimes who would use such a treaty to disarm their citizens in order to rule through fear.”

In addition to its participation at the UN with the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities, Canada’s National Firearms Association is a founding member of The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) which includes many national and international organizations promoting civilian ownership of firearms.  At over 62,000 members, Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest advocacy organization promoting the rights and freedoms of all responsible firearm owners and users.

For more information contact:

Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682

Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841

Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393

NFA Website:

Canada’s National Firearms Association Statement to UN on ATT

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Click here to read document: NFA UN Presentation on ATT July 2012

More information about IAPCAR member NFA of Canada is available at


Mr. President, I am Sheldon Clare, President of Canada’s National Firearms Association.  Our members are collectors of everything from cartridges to fully automatic firearms; they’re sports shooters and Olympic competitors, wholesalers and retailers, re-enactors, members of the movie industry, hunters, people who hand load ammunition, and those who own firearms for defence.  Our members are concerned that UN attempts to regulate trade in arms are misdirected and will have an unfair and unreasonable effect upon the ability of free people to have access to firearms and ammunition for perfectly legitimate purposes. It is a false premise that civilian access to small arms is the problem.

Canada’s National Firearms Association (NFA) recommends that controls on small arms and light weapons be limited solely to major weapon systems possessed or sold by nation states – not firearms owned or desired to be owned by civilians, also called non-state actors. The rights and property of Canadians, and our firearms businesses engaged in the lawful trade in firearms and ammunition, including surplus firearms and ammunition, must not be subject to UN edict or control.  Quite simply, these are matters of national sovereignty, civil freedoms and property rights, and are related to national culture.  Also, marking and accounting for ammunition would be exceptionally onerous and expensive for manufacturers and firearm owners alike. Control of ammunition would be unreasonable, unnecessary, and impossible.

The proposed Implementation Support Unit (ISU) could potentially serve as a form of promotional and enforcement agency for the ATT and thus interfere with national sovereignty over laws affecting firearms ownership and use. It could be used to operate a form of international registration system. Funds given to this body and other initiatives such as the Victims Assistance Fund could be directed to terrorist states. Supporting these potentially huge and inappropriate expenses is not in the best interests of Canadians.

Reducing arms in civilian hands can significantly limit the ability of people to defend themselves. This is especially important in the event of unrest and disorder, or in case of state-mandated crimes against humanity. Civilian ownership of arms is an important factor in preventing and limiting the effect of events such as what occurred in Sebrinica and Rwanda. While governments need to act against terrorism, perhaps better ways to deal with unrest would be to address the economic situations, political differences, and human rights issues that contribute to people agitating for change.

A global ATT would only be in the interests of those who would seek economic advantage by limiting market opportunity and of regimes who would use such a treaty to disarm their citizens in order to rule through fear.   Thank you for your consideration Mr. President.