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Friday, September 27, 2013
CNS Pushes Bogus Claims About U.N. Arms Treaty

Patrick Goodenough uses a Sept. 26 article to uncritically repeat the "deep misgivings" of "Second Amendment advocates" about the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) noted that the treaty urges countries to keep records of arms transfers, including information on end users, “for a minimum of ten years” (article 12).

“Data kept on the end users of imported firearms is a de-facto registry of law-abiding firearms owners, which is a violation of federal law,” it said in a statement. “Even worse, the ATT could be construed to require such a registry to be made available to foreign governments.”

In fact, as Media Matters details, the treaty's "end user" language does not -- and cannot -- require nations to create a gun registry or otherwise dictate how a nation regulates firearms domestically. Indeed, the ATT's preamble is explicit in "[r]eaffirming the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system."

Goodenough also writes:

The U.S. already maintains what the administration says is recognized as the world’s “gold standard” in export controls for arms transfers, but under the ATT, countries hostile to U.S. allies like Israel and Taiwan would likely challenge U.S. weapons sales to them. (A majority of U.N. member states have backed texts accusing Israel in particular of grave human rights abuses.)

“The ATT outrageously forces the United States – the world’s most important defender of peace and democracy – onto equal footing with the world’s worst dictatorships and terror-sponsors,” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) said in a statement criticizing the signing.

“Under this treaty, our crucial support for friends like Israel and Taiwan is endangered while enemies of these nations are empowered,” he said. “On the turbulent global stage, it risks preventing the good from doing good while doing nothing to prevent the bad from doing bad.”

That's another bogus claim. According to the text of the proposed treaty, the ATT would allow for arms embargoes to be issued against countries engaged in "genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes constituting grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, or serious violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949." Given that the United States Security Council is the issuing body of arms embargoes, and that the United States is a permanent member of that Council, the U.S. would possess the ability to unilaterally veto any proposed arms embargo.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:49 PM EDT

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