American Rifleman - July 2019 - 16

POLITICAL REPORT

President Trump "Unsigns"
The Arms Trade Treaty

A

By Chris W. Cox
NRA-ILA
Executive Director

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DUES ARE NOT
ENOUGH.
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right to own and carry a
firearm ...

If your FREEDOM to hunt and
shoot is important to you ...
Then you need to SUPPORT
the NRA Institute for
Legislative Action.
We are the only arm of
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with defending your
Second Amendment
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and in state legislatures and
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Visit nraila.org/donate
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16

t the 148th Annual Meetings of NRA
members, I had the distinct honor
of hosting President Donald Trump
at NRA-ILA's Leadership Forum. During his
address to the nearly 15,000 NRA members
in attendance and the many more who were
watching on television, the President took
the historic step of "unsigning" the United
Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
Officially joined by the United States
in 2013 by former Secretary of State John
Kerry, the ATT represented the boldest step
yet taken by international gun-ban advocates.
By announcing that he will officially withdraw
the United States from the treaty, President
Trump made clear he would not abdicate
control over the rights of law-abiding gun
owners to foreign bureaucrats. He then
signed-in front of all in attendance-a
formal letter to the U.S. Senate requesting that it halt the ratification process and
return the treaty to the Oval Office, where
he would properly "dispose" of it.
The NRA has long drawn attention to
the danger this treaty posed to law-abiding
American gun owners. Our complaints have
focused on the treaty's framework for an
international gun registry, its ability to be
amended without the consensus of all parties, and its proponents' repeated refusals to
clarify that it has no effect on the possession
of small arms by civilians in the United States.
The treaty urged recordkeeping of end
users, directing importing countries to
provide information to an exporting country
regarding arms transfers-which included
"end use or end user documentation" for a
"minimum of 10 years." Each country is to
"take measures, pursuant to its national laws,
to regulate brokering taking place under its
jurisdiction for conventional arms." Data kept
on the end users of imported firearms is a defacto registry of law-abiding firearms owners.
And, participating countries could have been
required to share this information-effectively laying the groundwork for international
gun registration.
While the potential creation of an international gun registry should have been reason
enough for its rejection by the United States,
the most dangerous aspect of the treaty was
its ease of being amended. While many treaties require full consensus of the parties for an
amendment, the ATT only required that the
parties make "every effort to achieve consensus on each amendment." But, rather than
requiring consensus, the treaty required only
three-quarters of the parties to amend the
JULY 2019

treaty-making effectively limitless the future
danger of the treaty to American gun owners.
Changes to the treaty that are contrary
to our rights already have been adopted. At
a treaty conference last year, proponents of
the treaty "welcome[ed]" several living documents into the ATT. One of these documents
was the International Small Arms Control
Standards (ISACS).
Purporting to set the standards for
"National Regulation of Civilian Access to
Small Arms and Light Weapons," a portion
of ISACS creates a means to almost entirely
limit civilian access to small arms. It reads like
a gun-control advocate's wish list with everything from gun bans to "may-issue"
gun licensing.
While incorporation of the ISACS into the
ATT was alarming, it also was not entirely
unpredictable. As with every anti-firearm
United Nations initiative, our concerns are
never limited to what is in it now, but with
what it will become and how it will be used
by a future U.S. administration-especially
one seeking international justification for a
gun-control agenda.
Perhaps the easiest way to understand
the future danger the ATT posed to U.S.
gun owners is the complete refusal by treaty
proponents to limit its application to civilian
arms. The NRA and other opponents of the
treaty repeatedly asked for a carve-out in the
treaty, yet those requests were flatly denied.
If the treaty's proponents had no intention of
limiting American gun ownership, why resist
such a limitation to the text of the treaty?
Instead, the treaty included language in
its preamble that treaty parties be "mindful
of the legitimate trade and lawful ownership,
and use of certain conventional arms for
recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting
activities, where such trade, ownership and
use are permitted or protected by law." A
careful read will show that the use of arms for
individual and collective defense is notably
missing from this statement. And, this aspirational statement creates no real limitation on
any action undertaken pursuant to the treaty.
Please join me in thanking President
Trump for protecting our firearms freedom
by withdrawing the United States from this
terrible treaty and ensuring that the rights
of law-abiding American gun owners aren't
surrendered to the anti-gun whims of foreign
bureaucrats.

AMERICAN RIFLEMAN


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American Rifleman - July 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - July 2019

Contents
American Rifleman - July 2019 - Cover1
American Rifleman - July 2019 - Cover2
American Rifleman - July 2019 - 1
American Rifleman - July 2019 - Contents
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