Double-Barreled Threat: U.N. Arms Trade Treaty And Universal Background Checks

by Larry Bell, Forbes.com  |  published on April 10, 2013

Do those of us who are determined to defend our constitutional rights to own and bear arms really have anything to worry about? Well no, at least not according to those who have aggressively opposed these rights now tell us.

Supporters of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) argue that it doesn’t really threaten the Second Amendment, but only regulates international arms trade. And as for the proposed provision for “enhanced” background checks for gun sales that is being brought before the Senate, forget about that too. It’s only a “sensible measure” to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys. It has nothing to do with the rest of us.

So, relax?

Or maybe not. Perhaps consider that these two prospective developments may have a lot to do with you and me after all. They also have more serious mischief in common than international and domestic anti-gun rights politicians would like us to realize.

The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty:

Purportedly, the ATT’s intended purpose is to regulate the high number of conventional weapons traded internationally each year, making it more difficult for them to be diverted into the hands of those who are intent upon sowing seeds of war and conflict. While the George W. Bush administration voted against a resolution that initiated the drafting process in 2006, the Obama administration has reversed that policy.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Internal Security and Nonproliferation, Thomas Countryman, has stated that the Obama administration only wants to make it more difficult to “conduct illicit, illegal and destabilizing transfers of arms”. In addition, a press release issued by the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs said that “The outcome will not seek to prohibit citizens of any country from possessing firearms or to interfere with the legal trade in small arms and light weapons.”

One hundred thirty Republican House members are skeptical of those claims. In June of last year they sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary Clinton arguing that the proposed treaty does infringe upon the “fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms”. It warns: “…the U.N.’s actions to date indicate that the ATT is likely to pose significant threats to our national security, foreign policy, and economic interests as well as our constitutional rights.” The lawmakers adamantly insisted that the U.S. Government has no right to support a treaty that violates the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

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