The Arms Trade Treaty – Falling Apart?

Original Story Via:

By Paul Gallant, Sherry Gallant, Alan Chwick, & Joanne D. Eisen

Manasquan, NJ –-( With only a week left for treaty negotiations, one might surmise from the multitude of complaints of its proponents that the Treaty, as it is being drafted, is destined to fail because it is becoming too weak.

But no matter how “strong” its language, it will fail very simply because it’s a foolish idea, concocted with fantasies that cannot work.

Deepayan Basu Ray,of anti-gun group Oxfam, stated: “Under no circumstances should countries agree to a watered down Treaty that fails to control the arms trade and failsto reduce human suffering.”

And here we thought all along that the objective of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was to control the illegal arms trade, not to control the actions of tyrants (an impossible goal)!

Attempting to press home a sense of urgency, Anna MacDonald, Head of the Arms Control Campaign at (anti-gun) Oxfam, stated: “The negotiations are running at least a week behind schedule. The clock is ticking now and we need to see a greater sense of urgency from delegates, who must agree a strong treaty text [sic]. The world is watching, and people across the globe are demanding a treaty that will tighten up controls on the arms trade and close the loop holes that allow the illicit and irresponsible part of the trade to flourish. There is not a moment to lose.”

The arguments and complaints being bandied about by Treaty proponents are abundant.

For example,the July 19 issue of the Arms Trade Treaty Monitor states:

On Wednesday morning, the Chair of Main Committee I released a new draft text on the goals and objectives of the arms trade treaty (ATT). The most glaring change to the text was the removal of language stating that preventing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law is an objective of the treaty. Leaving this out will have serious repercussions for the negotiation of other sections of the treaty and for the treaty’s implementation. It is an abso­lute necessity that this be corrected [sic].

The revised language, written by the Chair of the Main Committee I, states that “The goals of the treaty are….in order to…. ensure that the international trade in conventional arms does not contribute or facilitate human suffering….” This is upsetting to the Treaty’s advocates because “Without an explicit reference to gender-based violence, international humanitarian law (IHL), and international human rights law (IHRL), the treaty is in substantial danger of failing to meet its original purpose.

The Treaty’s proponents further complain about language that is watered down:

Achieving the fundamental goals of the ATT also means the treaty will need strong, clear, and effective implementation mechanisms. Unfortunately, the draft text on implementation does not yet meet this requirement. It suggests notification of export authorizations to relevant transit and transshipment states would be voluntary when it should be mandatory. It indicates that contractual obligations to sell arms would supersede the ATT when clearly the ATT should take precedence. It suggests actions states “may” take on brokering, when such actions should be mandatory.In general, it is vague on binding language. If adopted as written, the implementation section would undermine the treaty’s objectives [emphasis ours].

There are practical reasons for these complaints. The Treaty’s proponents need to pressure those countries that expect to be on the receiving end of generous financial gifts, and which are expected to increase their capacity to comply with the Treaty’s obligations. They also need to keep their supporters eager for the next “iterations”(revisions) to come.

The only benefits to us of a weaker treaty is that it will take longer to implement —and longer to fail— giving us the time we need to ride out the destructive waves of futile and foolish attempts to control the actions of evil-doers, and to destroy legal civilian firearm ownership.

We certainly should not be depending on U.S. politicians to safeguard our right to self-protection, as they have not done so in the past. We cannot depend on our national firearm organizations, as they are only as strong as we make them. (With an estimated 70-80 milliongun-owners in the U.S., how many support the various national firearm organizations??)

We need time to prepare for a new century of attempts to break the strength of civilian sovereignty, and a rash of new weapon-control laws attempting to bring us into compliance with “global norms,” luring us with the hint of paradise on earth.

About the authors:
Dr. Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne D. Eisen practice optometry and dentistry,respectively, on Long Island, NY, and have collaborated on firearm politics forthe past 20 years. They have also collaborated with David B. Kopel since 2000, and are Senior Fellows at the Independence Institute, where Kopel is Research Director. Most recently, Gallant and Eisen have also written with Alan J.Chwick. Sherry Gallant has been instrumental in the editing of virtually all ofthe authors’ writings, and is immensely knowledgeable in the area of firearm politics; she actively co-authored this article.

Almost all of the co-authored writings of Gallant, Eisen, Kopel and Chwick can be found at, which contains more detailed information about their biographies and writing, and contains hyperlinks to manyof their articles. Their recent series focusing on the Arms Trade Treaty can be found primarily at