Thursday, July 26, 2012

US Senators threaten to veto a UN treaty on International Arms sales

The National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. gun lobby, opposes the treaty, saying its members will never surrender the right to bear arms to the United Nations. (This quote is taken from the piece by Donna Cassata, of The Associated Press, included below for readers.)
What that really means is that a legitimate UN treaty to inhibit the international sale of arms to terrorists could effectively be blocked by some blockhead Senators who are themselves, being held hostage by the NRA.
My question for the NRA is this: Which agency is more dangerous to the safety and security of the U.S. and the world, the Islamic radicals or the NRA?
This situation in the U.S. Senate is categorically absurd, tragic and competely unacceptable.

 By Donna Cassata, The Associated Press, in Globe and Mail, July 26, 2012
A bipartisan group of 51 senators on Thursday threatened to oppose a global treaty regulating international weapons trade if it falls short in protecting Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms.

In a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the senators expressed serious concerns with the draft treaty that has circulated at the United Nations, saying that it signals an expansion of gun control that would be unacceptable. Gun control is a politically explosive issue in the United States, where it has re-emerged since last week’s shooting a Colorado theatre killed 12 people.
The world’s nations are pressing to complete the first legally binding treaty dealing with the arms trade and preventing the transfer of weapons to armed groups and terrorists. The 193-member UN General Assembly is expected to approve the treaty this month.

The senators said as the negotiations continue, “we strongly encourage your administration not only to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership, but to ensure – if necessary, by breaking consensus at the July conference – that the treaty will explicitly recognize the legitimacy of lawful activities associated with firearms, including but not limited to the right of self-defence.
“As members of the United States Senate, we will oppose the ratification of any Arms Trade Treaty that falls short of this standard,” they wrote.
The lawmakers insisted that the treaty should explicitly recognize the legitimacy of hunting, sport shooting and other lawful activities.
They also raised concerns that the draft defines international arms transfers as including transport across national territory while requiring the monitor and control of arms in transit.
The National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. gun lobby, opposes the treaty, saying its members will never surrender the right to bear arms to the United Nations.
The treaty has been in the works since 2006. Abandoning the Bush administration’s opposition, the Obama administration supported an assembly resolution to hold this year’s four-week conference on the treaty.
In April, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, Thomas Countryman, reiterated U.S. support for a treaty.
“We want any treaty to make it more difficult and expensive to conduct illicit, illegal and destabilizing transfers of arms,” he said. “But we do not want something that would make legitimate international arms trade more cumbersome than the hurdles United States exporters already face.”
The UN General Assembly voted in December, 2006, to work toward a treaty regulating the growing arms trade, now valued at about $60 billion, with the U.S. casting a no vote. In October, 2009, the Obama administration supported an assembly resolution to hold four preparatory meetings and a four-week UN conference in 2012 to draft an arms-trade treaty.
Adoption of a treaty requires consensus among the 193 UN member states – a requirement the United States insisted on in 2009 – and diplomats said reaching agreement will be difficult.
With the conference scheduled to end on Friday, negotiators have been trying to come up with a text that satisfies advocates of a strong treaty with tough regulations and countries that appear to have little interest in a treaty including Syria, North Korea, Iran, Egypt and Algeria.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press earlier this week that the United States wants export controls to prevent illicit transfers of arms and has been making clear its “red lines, including that we will not accept any treaty that infringes on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.” The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms.

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