UN treaty column was off-base
James Kellogg’s opinion piece asserting the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty will compromise American sovereignty and destroy American Second Amendment rights is simply wrong.
The text of the treaty is available on line. The purpose of the Act is to get control of the ILLICIT arms trade, which fuels terrorism and crimes against humanity. It specifically recognizes the legitimate interests of states in the international trade of conventional arms. It reaffirms “the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system.” It is “Mindful of the legitimate trade and lawful ownership, and use of certain conventional arms for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities…” Its Principles include “respect for the legitimate interests of States to acquire conventional arms….and to produce, export, import and transfer” them.
Article 2 lists the categories of arms covered: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons. Articles 3-5 require States to establish a control system, including a control list for ammunition and parts and weapons in the covered categories. The parties are encouraged but not required to make the control list publicly available. Articles 6-11 define a State’s responsibility to assess risk prior to authorizing export to minimize the diversion of arms or munitions to illegal purposes. The remaining Articles outline a suggested system for States to control the export and import of arms through their individual national laws and regulations. International cooperation is highly encouraged and the U.N. would provide a clearing house for that cooperation.
Rachel Stohl notes in a New York Times opinion piece, “There is nothing in it that would violate the Second Amendment.” She also notes that American laws already regulate the export of conventional arms to the purposes of the ATT. She states, “The treaty would simply level the playing field for our defense industry…by making other countries follow the same rules.”
A side note is that the only votes against the treaty were Iran, Syria, and North Korea.
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