The Arms TradeTreaty (ATT) has been on the books of the UN agenda since 2006 (created in 2003). Bush opposed the treaty, and the Obama administration changed Bush’s opposition to a position of being willing to negotiate.
So what we know for sure is that the Obama administration was willing to enter into negotiations and would support a treaty that had unanimous consent.
Yeah, because that was ever going to happen.
Is my obvious sarcasm implying that the Arms Trade Treaty was opposed by Bush for the sake of votes, and pseudo-supported by Obama for the sake of votes?
Yes, yes it is. Neither administration was going to support the treaty, but they had to oppose it in a way that suited their political party. Welcome to American politics
As late as mid-July, one could see countless online news sources posting articles with headlines screaming that Obama’s hidden agenda on gun control was going to be exposed with his support of the ATT…and then Obama opposed the ATT.
Officially, why did the Obama administration oppose the treaty?
Well, they wanted a clause that allowed for the supplying of arms in cases of national security which Obama received reasonable criticism for by Amnesty International. Amnesty International’s concern is warranted as the United States has certainly armed the wrong guy in the past, which led to massacre. Massacres are typically a violation of someone’s human rights (Amnesty International’s sole concern).
Who arms more people internationally than any other country in the world? You guessed it; The United States of America. We are the largest exporter of guns in the world amounting to 40 percent at a worth of $55 billion dollars.
For Pete’s sake, Iran is a Vice President on the counsel for this treaty. Yes. Iran. The same country under sanctions for “weapons proliferation or massive human-rights abuses.” (Quote from here: http://usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/194947.htm)
I repeat, Obama was never going to support this treaty.
Do I and Amnesty International have a good reason to be suspicious of the Obama administration’s opposition to the treaty? Well, many of those that we arm are absolutely, 100 percent for sure terrorists.
Don’t believe me? Well, because I am so nice I have provided some Google searches which will allow you to do your own reading. Save this article and click at your leisure: United States arms contras in Nicaragua or United States arms Saddam Hussein or United States arms Osama bin Laden or Bay of Pigs or Fast and Furious scandal or (my personal favorite) United States arms Mobutu.
These are just the cold hard facts of the USA’s “Oops, we accidentally did it again” moments.
Now that Obama has actually opposed this treaty that the NRA swore he was supporting, the NRA is claiming victory over the administration that was never going to support the ATT in the first place.
We get it NRA. You are one of the most powerful interest groups in the country. You have loot. Your power was never in question, so you do not need to hold a victory party for a battle that never threatened your excessively well-armed borders.
Here are some quotes from the NRA:
“Anti-gun treaty proponents continue to mislead the public, claiming the treaty would have no impact on American gun owners. That's a bald-faced lie…if you bought a Beretta shotgun (from Italy), you would be an "end user" and the U.S. government would have to keep a record of you and notify the Italian government about your purchase. That is gun registration.”
“Exports could also be blocked if they would "support" or "encourage" terrorist acts or "provoke, prolong or aggravate acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace," or could be used in "gender-based violence" or to inflict "human suffering." Anti-gun activists here and abroad have long claimed that gun ownership in general does all of these things, so any of these provisions could be abused by foreign governments to shut off exports to law-abiding Americans.”).
The NRA is yelling up and down that this gun registration will apply to American private gun owners, as some accusations seem much more far-fetched than others, I went on a search for a copy of the ATT draft.
Two quotes from the Arms Trade Treaty draft :
“The responsibility of all States, in accordance with their respective international obligations, to effectively regulate and control international transfers of conventional arms, as well as the primary responsibility of all States in establishing and implementing their respective national export control system…”
“Such records may contain, inter alia, quantity, value, model/type, authorized international transfers of conventionalarms under the scope of this Treaty, conventional arms actually transferred, details of exporting State(s), importingState(s), transit and transshipment State(s) and end users, as appropriate. Records shall be kept for a minimum often years, or longer if required by other international obligations applicable to the State Party.”
So basically the draft says over and over that only “international” trade is affected by this treaty, and the NRA’s Wayne La Pierre says ““We are told, ‘Trust us, an ATT will not require registration of civilian firearms.’ Yet, there are numerous calls for record-keeping and firearm tracking from production to eventual destruction. That’s nothing more than gun registration by a different name…”
Yes, there are numerous calls for the registration of international gun imports and exports. Wayne says that this is evidence of a hidden agenda that will force all civilian gun owners to register their guns. Well, Wayne is missing one huge piece from his argument—the evidence. He has none.
Not exactly a “prying from you cold dead hands” situation, but hey; I get suspicious any time I have to register for something as well. I too get paranoid about my government’s intentions, but I try to maintain a healthy level of pragmatic skepticism before I start digging bunkers and booby trapping my Welcome mat.
So why would the NRA be so interested in raising all kinds of heck over an Arms Trade Treaty that does not really affect Second Amendment rights, by their own convoluted admission through the inability to present any evidence?
I have a few guesses but here is a fact; The NRA is paid to be interested in the upcoming presidential election by the Koch brothers. In other words, the NRA has been given money to get Romney elected.
This is not a huge scandal. This is American politics. This is the purpose of interest groups. Interest groups protect their interests by electing politicians who protect their interests.
If the American people let interest groups (which are very typically funded by the wealthiest people in the country, as shown above) dictate our votes, then these interest groups will run elections. This is a fact that both parties can easily agree on.
The Bottom Line:
The Second Amendment is important. The main point here is that the issue of gun control is twisted and exaggerated to support a particular political party (either one depending on how you sell it).
The NRA lost its dignity a long time ago with vice presidents like Wayne LaPierre who care less about the right to firearms as they do about publicly bashing the president should he have the misfortune of being a Democrat.
The NRA has been bought and paid for a million times over to gain and maintain a select group of the voting public. This is really a shame as gun control is a rare issue in American politics where there is the least amount of polarization.
When one puts aside the NRA’s pathetic attempts at gloating over a war never waged and Obama’s equally as pathetic pseudo-support of the Arms Trade Treaty, the American people have the ability to stand on one ground that recognizes the rights of private gun owners in America while being able to take a pragmatic assessment of their country’s very misguided role on the international stage of gun exports.
Reasonable discussions could be had over whether or not there is the possibility of responsible international regulations that could potentially end the USA’s misguided arming of sociopaths committed to human rights violations.
Let’s ditch the spoon fed paranoia and have some real conversations about a responsible national and international gun market.