Gun rights: why UN small arms treaty is another land mine for Obama
The final version of the UN Arms Trade Treaty, aimed at keeping small arms from terrorists and rogue regimes, is due Friday. US gun rights advocates reject assurances the treaty would not infringe on their rights.
(Page 2 of 2)
“I’d put gun rights way at the top” of issues tea partyers care about, Mr. Zawistowski says. “That’s really high on the emotional ladder.”Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
On Tuesday, the UN Arms Trade Treaty Conference released a draft of the treaty to widespread criticism that it was ambiguous and contained loopholes. Even groups supportive of the treaty’s concept voiced concern.
"All the core provisions of this draft treaty still have major loopholes which will simply ratify the status quo, instead of setting a high international standard that will change state practices and save lives on the ground,” said Peter Herby, head of the arms unit of the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to Agence France-Presse.
But on the issue of protecting civilian gun rights in the US, humanitarian groups watching the treaty negotiations were reassuring.
"This treaty is only about the international transfer of civilian weapons,” says Scott Stedjan, a senior policy adviser at Oxfam America. “A transfer means when a weapon both crosses a national boundary and there's a change of title or control. US gun rights do not involve weapons flowing from one border to another border – it's only about things domestically within the United States. The Second Amendment applies to the use of weapons within the United States."
Mr. Stedjan said that once the National Rifle Association (NRA) sees the treaty text, it will see that it does not pose a threat to individual gun rights.
Suzanne Trimel, media director of Amnesty International USA, accused the NRA of sowing fear.
“The goal of this treaty is to keep weapons out of the hands of countries that we know are going to use them to commit human rights abuses and atrocities, like in Syria, like mass rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Ms. Trimel. "The fearmongering of the NRA should not get in the way of the proper argument, which is stopping human rights abuses and atrocities."
The NRA declined a request for comment.
Monitor intern Kimberly Railey contributed to this report.