On Friday, April 26, 2019, at the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting President Donald Trump announced the United States would be withdrawing from the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. Former President Barack Obama had signed the Arms Trade Treaty on September 25, 2013. Through this action, President Trump has effectively stopped the ratification of this treaty by the United States Senate and withdraws our support for the global registry that was a part of this treaty.
In his speech on stage at the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting, President Trump said, “Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone, we will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom and that is why my administration will never ratify the U.N. trade treaty.” The sovereignty he is referencing in this statement is the requirement of instituting a registration process for any firearms that are bought from a foreign manufacturer. This would open the door for further registration requirements in the United States as a means to ensure compliance with this treaty.
Anti-gun treaty proponents continue to mislead the public, claiming the treaty would have no impact on American gun owners. This is a bald-faced lie. For example, the most recent draft treaty includes export/import controls that would require officials in an importing country to collect information on the “end user” of a firearm, keep the information for 20 years, and provide the information to the country from which the gun was exported. In other words, if you bought a Beretta Shotgun, 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. If the U.S. refuses to implement this data collection on law-abiding American gun owners, other nations might be required to ban the export of firearms to the U.S.
NRA-ILA 2012 statement about the UN Arms Trade Treaty
Many international anti-gun organizations are championing this treaty as a way to “The treaty aims to reduce human suffering caused by illegal and irresponsible arms transfers, improve regional security and stability, as well as to promote accountability and transparency by state parties concerning transfers of conventional arms.”
The following is a list of what the Arms Trade Treaty does:
- The Arms Trade Treaty requires all states-parties to adopt basic regulations and approval processes for the flow of weapons across international borders, establishes common international standards that must be met before arms exports are authorized, and requires annual reporting of imports and exports to a treaty secretariat. In particular, the treaty:
- requires that states “establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list” and “designate competent national authorities in order to have an effective and transparent national control system regulating the transfer of conventional arms”;
- prohibits arms transfer authorizations to states if the transfer would violate “obligations under measures adopted by the United Nations Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular arms embargoes” or under other “relevant international obligations” or if the state “has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes”;
- requires states to assess the potential that the arms exported would “contribute to or undermine peace and security” or could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law, acts of terrorism, or transnational organized crime; to consider measures to mitigate the risk of these violations; and, if there still remains an “overriding risk” of “negative consequences,” to “not authorize the export”;
- applies under Article 2(1) to all conventional arms within the seven categories of the UN Register of Conventional Arms (battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, and missiles and missile launchers) and small arms and light weapons;
- requires that states “establish and maintain a national control system to regulate the export of ammunition/munitions fired, launched or delivered by” the conventional arms listed in Article 2(1) and “parts and components…that provide the capability to assemble” the conventional arms listed in that article;
- requires each state to “take the appropriate measures, pursuant to its national laws, to regulate brokering taking place under its jurisdiction” of conventional arms covered under Article 2(1);
- requires each state to “take measures to prevent…diversion” of conventional arms covered under Article 2(1);
- requires each state to submit annually to the treaty secretariat a report of the preceding year’s “authorized or actual export and imports of conventional arms covered under Article 2(1)” and allows states to exclude “commercially sensitive or national security information”
If the United States Senate had ratified the Arms Transfer Treaty then it would have been obligated un this treaty to the following:
To be in compliance with the ATT, states-parties must:
- establish and maintain an effective national control system for the export, import, transit, and transshipment of and brokering activities related to (all defined as “transfers” in the ATT) the eight categories of conventional arms covered by the ATT, as well as exports of related ammunition and of parts and components that are used for assembling conventional arms covered by the treaty (Articles 3, 4, and 5.2);
- establish and maintain a national control list (Article 5.3) and making it available to other states-parties (Article 5.4);
- designate competent national authorities responsible for maintaining this system (Article 5.5);
- designate at least one national contact point responsible for exchanging information related to the implementation of the ATT (Article 5.6);
- prohibit transfers of conventional arms, ammunition, or parts and components for the eight categories of conventional arms covered by the ATT that would violate obligations under Chapter VII of the UN Charter or international agreements relating to the transfer or illicit trafficking of conventional arms or where there is knowledge that the items will be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, or other war crimes (Article 6);
- review applications for exports of the eight categories of conventional arms covered by the treaty and conducting a national export assessment on the risk that the exported arms could have “negative consequences” for peace, security, and human rights, denying an arms export if the assessment determines that there is an overriding risk that the exported arms will be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian or human rights law or offenses under international conventions or protocols relating to terrorism or international organized crime and taking into account the risk of the exported arms being used to commit or facilitate serious acts of gender-based violence or violence against women and children (Article 7);
- take measures to regulate conventional arms imports (Article 8);
- when importing conventional arms, provide information to assist the exporting state-party in conducting its national export assessment, including by providing documentation on the end use or end user (Article 8);
- take measures, where necessary and feasible, to regulate the transit and transshipment of conventional arms (Article 9);
- take measures to regulate brokering taking place under its jurisdiction (Article 10);
- take measures, including risk assessments, mitigation measures, cooperation, and information sharing, to prevent the diversion of conventional arms to the illicit market or for unauthorized end use and end users (Article 11);
- maintain national records for each export authorization or delivery of conventional arms for at least 10 years (Article 12);
- provide annual reports to the secretariat on export and import authorizations or deliveries of conventional arms to be distributed to states-parties (Article 13);
- take appropriate measures to enforce national laws and regulations to implement the treaty (Article 14); and
- cooperate with other states-parties in order to implement the ATT effectively (Article 15).
This treaty would mean that the infringements that are ongoing against the Second Amendment would increase and eventually lead to a systemic program to disarm the American citizens. While on the surface the Treaty looks like it would allow member States to allow their citizens to continue to own firearms and that this treaty would not interfere with this. The end goal is to ultimately disarm citizens and only allow for guns to be in the hands of “trusted” governments.
We can see this from the support of organizations like the Arms Control Organization, Amnesty International, The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, and other International anti-gun organizations. By disarming people they set an environment where citizens are easily oppressed with no recourse to stop their oppression. President Donald Trump took action to ensure that the rights of the American People are not subjected to this international attempt to disarm the citizens.
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