Tags: NRA | U.N. | Arms | Treaty

NRA Fighting U.N. Arms Trade Treaty

Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 01:16 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is getting ready for an international fight as it opposes a United Nations treaty to slow the flow of firearms into the world's conflict zones.

The Arms Trade Treaty requires countries to determine if the weapons they sell will be used to violate human rights, be used in organized crime, or for terrorism, reports The Washington Post.

The NRA is concerned the treaty will also restrict civilian weapons, while treaty supporters say it will reduce trafficking of weapons that are used in attacks against civilians.

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Negotiations on the treaty, which has been several years in the making, will begin on Monday. The Obama administration will support an accord that helps “address the adverse effects of the international arms trade on global peace and stability,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry said in an issued statement.

“We will not support any treaty that would be inconsistent with U.S. law and the rights of American citizens under our Constitution, including the Second Amendment.”

The NRA has founded the World Forum on Shooting Activities, joining gun rights advocates and firearms manufacturers against the treaty.

Tom Mason, the group's executive secretary, said the treaty “really needs to address the transfer of large numbers of military weapons that leads to human rights abuses,” and not civilian weapons, the Post reports.

The NRA says the treaty could also infringe on U.S. gun rights and force Americans into registering weapons on an international basis.

The treaty not only covers small firearms, but also tanks, aircraft, warships, missiles, and other wartime weapons. There are no real enforcement measures involved with the treaty, but activists say it can shame exporters who violate it, the publication noted.

The U.N. was discussing the accord last July, but the United States suspended talks on the last day, and then China and Russia — the other two largest exporters along with the United States — pulled out.

The Obama administration said the treaty had technical issues, but the pull out was blamed on the election. While the negotiations were going on last summer, the NRA sent a letter, signed by 51 senators from both parties, opposing the treaty, according to the newspaper.

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