UN adopts Arms Treaty in hurried vote

Original Story Via:  TheGunMag.com

By Dave Workman | Senior Editor

By a 154-3 vote with 23 abstentions that included Russia and China, the United Nations General Assembly quickly pushed through an international Arms Trade Treaty that many in the gun rights community see as a direct threat to the Second Amendment.

The Obama administration officially supported the treaty, in an about-face that raised the anger of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane said that this proves “the Obama administration wants a sweeping U.N. arms control treaty.”

“We are troubled by the timing of the Obama Administration’s decision to abandon consensus on the eve of the Senate debate on pending gun-control measures,” Keane said in a press release. “The United Nations treaty would have a broad impact on the U.S. firearms industry and its base of consumers in the U.S.”

Gun rights organizations, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), have been sounding alarms on the treaty effort for several years. SAF helped create the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) in early 2010, and CCRKBA has been instrumental in creation of at least two Capitol Hill measures to prevent the United States from participating in U.N. gun control actions.

According to Fox News, the vote was 154-3 with 23 abstentions. The Washington Times quoted Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) who essentially said the treaty would not survive a Senate vote.

“The Senate has already gone on record in stating that an Arms Trade Treaty has no hope, especially if it does not specifically protect the individual right to bear arms and American sovereignty,” he said, according to the newspaper. “It would be pointless for the president to sign such a treaty and expect the Senate to go along. We won’t ratify it.”

Gun control organizations including Amnesty International were crowing about the vote. Deputy Executive Director Frank Jannuzi issued a statement blasting the NRA, which opposed the treaty.

“Today’s victory shows that ordinary people who care about protecting human rights can fight back to stop the gun lobby dead in its tracks, helping to save countless lives,” he said. “The voices of reason triumphed over skeptics, treaty opponents and dealers in death to establish a revolutionary treaty that constitutes a major step toward keeping assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons out of the hands of despots and warlords who use them to kill and maim civilians, recruit child soldiers and commit other serious abuses. Iran, Syria and North Korea blocked consensus at the U.N., while the NRA cynically – and ultimately unsuccessfully – tried to erode the U.S. government’s support through a campaign of lies about the treaty But in the end, the global call for responsibility in the arms trade won out.

“Amnesty International played a leading role in initiating the campaign for this treaty nearly 20 years ago and has fought tirelessly to stop weapons from being sent to countries where we know they are used to commit human rights atrocities,” Januzzi added. “This has been a life-saving struggle that never could have been achieved without the support of millions of human rights activists who stepped forward to demand change. We call on President Obama to be first in line on June 3 when the treaty opens for signature.”

That may be a tall order for the president, who already knows that there are not enough votes in the Senate for ratification.

Phil Watson, IAPCAR executive director, noted that the treaty language is troubling because there is no specific protection for privately owned civilian firearms. He was also wary about the vote because he said it had not been on the General Assembly agenda, but was called up and passed quickly on the morning of April 2.

In a statement to TGM, Watson noted that the treaty had not been able to reach consensus with all parties in agreement, and it was “hurried to the General Assembly.”

“An ATT without any provision protecting civilian use of firearms for the purpose of self-defense is unacceptable,” Watson said. “While the preamble makes vague reference to civilian arms, there is nothing acknowledging the right in the operative language of the treaty.”