The U.N. Speaks: The Arms Trade Treaty Will Affect “Legally Owned Weapons”
June 22, 2012
Yesterday, the U.N. released its press kit for the July conference that will finalize the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The most interesting item in the kit is a lengthy paper by the U.N.’s Coordinating Action on Small Arms (CASA) program titled “The Impact of Poorly Regulated Arms Transfers on the Work of the UN.”
This paper perpetuates the belief, on which much of the ATT is based, that the big problem the world faces is a lack of agreed standards on arms transfers. That’s wrong: The big problem the world faces in this regard is that many U.N. member states are dictatorships, supporters of terrorists, or simply incapable of controlling their own borders.
But the paper makes it clear that the job of the U.N.—as the U.N. itself sees it—is to make the case for a very broad treaty. As CASA puts it, “Advocacy efforts should be developed…through relevant reports and op-eds, messages, and statements at relevant meetings and to the press.” So watch out for U.S. taxpayer-funded funded U.N. propaganda in a newspaper near you.
But in spite of its desperate efforts to rebut Second Amendment concerns, the U.N. can’t stop stepping on its own shoelaces. After proclaiming that the ATT “does not aim to impede or interfere with the lawful ownership and use of weapons,” the CASA paper goes on to say that “United Nations agencies have come across many situations in which various types of conventional weapons have been…misused by lawful owners” and that the “arms trade must therefore be regulated in ways that would…minimize the risk of misuse of legally owned weapons.”
How, exactly, would the ATT do that if it doesn’t “impede” or “interfere” with lawful ownership? The U.N. would have a lot more credibility on the ATT if it didn’t imply so regularly that the problem is as much lawful ownership as it is the international arms trade.
Of course, CASA isn’t just concerned with lawful ownership; it’s also campaigning against “community attitudes” that “contribute to the powerful cultural conditioning that equates masculinity with owning and using a gun, and regards gun misuse by men as acceptable.”
All this just goes to show that the U.N. regards gun ownership—even under national constitutional protection and for lawful activities—as a cultural failure that it needs to redress and that it has no patience at all with the idea that self-defense is an inherent right.
And that is exactly why the concerns that Senator Jerry Moran (R–KS) expressed at Heritage on Tuesday are so important—and why his criteria to ensure that the ATT does not infringe on Second Amendment rights are so valuable.