Gun groups promise fight as U.N. inches toward override of Second Amendment

by Tom Howell Jr., The Washington Times  |  published on April 1, 2013

united nations

American gun rights advocates said Thursday that they remain determined to block a far-reaching U.S. agreement on international arms sales, warning that the pact could lead to a national firearms registry and disrupt the U.S. gun market, even as the accord ran into an unexpected last-minute snag in negotiations in New York.

Objections from North Korea, Syria and Iran prevented negotiators from clinching a deal by acclamation on the proposed U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, although diplomats and private advocacy groups say they still anticipate an overwhelming positive vote when the world body’s General Assembly votes on the agreement next week.

But American gun rights activists insist the treaty is riddled with loopholes and is unworkable because it includes “small arms and light weapons” alongside battle tanks and combat aircraft in its list of weaponry subject to international regulations. They do not trust U.N. assertions that the pact is meant to regulate only cross-border trade and would have no impact on domestic U.S. laws and markets.

“Our main concern is that civilian firearms are included in the scope of this treaty,” said Thomas Mason, executive secretary for the Americas at the World Forum on Shooting Activities, which counts the National Rifle Association as a member and opposes the U.N. treaty.

Mr. Mason said the treaty has the potential to disrupt the market for imported firearms that accounts for a chunk of U.S. gun sales. He said language that calls for national control lists could be “bootstrapped” into a kind of gun registry, a concept that pro-gun advocates have decried during the debate over gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings in December.

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