US Signs Arms Treaty; Cue the Wingnut Freakout


Secretary of State John Kerry signed his name to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on behalf of the United States. The treaty seeks to reign in the global arms trafficking business that ships large amounts of weapons, from tanks to machine guns, to war zones and brutal dictatorships around the world.

Secretary of State John Kerry signed the treaty on behalf of the United States on Wednesday, making the U.S. the 91st country to do so. “I signed it because President Obama knows that from decades of efforts that anytime we work with cooperatively with the illicit trade in conventional weapons, we make the world a safe place,” Kerry said. “And this treaty is a significant step in that effort.”

The legal arms trade, comprised of both the import and export weapons, constitutes around $70 billion annually. Attack helicopters, tanks, and other larger arms are covered under the treaty, as well as small arms and ammunition for these weapons. Under the terms of the treaty, states are required to determine whether the shipment of arms to a second country would be used to commit atrocities or violate human rights or if they could diverted for such a purpose, and report back to the U.N. Secretariat on their efforts.

I can’t wait to read the hyperbolic reaction of the wingnuts over the next few days. “ZOMG, the UN is coming for our guns just like we done told ya” they’ll all scream. That’s complete nonsense:

Counter to worries that the ATT will constitute an infringement of the Second Amendment in the United States, the American Bar Association has concluded that Americans needn’t fear such an outcome. As the ABA points out in their white paper, import restrictions on firearms have been ruled constitutionally valid. At present, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms already regulates and tracks the import of firearms into the United States, leaving no need for further domestic legislation regarding the ATT’s implementation. Exports of firearms, the ABA also notes, are not protected under the Second Amendment.

Unfortunately, the treaty still has to be ratified by the Senate, which requires a 2/3 vote and the wingnuts likely have the votes to block it at the moment. The right wing has good company in their opposition to the treaty, though. Three nations voted against it at the UN — Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    … states are required to determine whether the shipment of arms to a second country would be used to commit atrocities or violate human rights or if they could diverted for such a purpose….

    Also, since the US doesn’t commit atrocities or violate human rights, this would have no effect on imports into the US.

    QUIT LAUGHING AT ME!

  2. a miasma of incandescent plasma says

    Three nations voted against it at the UN — Iran, Syria and North Korea.

    But NOT Russia?!?!
    Oh man!
    So they’re not quite our World Christian leaders we thought they were…
    They take one step forward with the hatin’ of the gays but then take one step back by not having Agenda 21 black-helicopter delusions er fantasies INFO!!

  3. John Hinkle says

    I expect some state legislator somewhere will try to pass a law claiming their state is not bound by the treaty.

  4. Abby Normal says

    The NRA is predictably leading the charge:

    The Obama administration is once again demonstrating its contempt for our fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms… These are blatant attacks on the constitutional rights and liberties of every law-abiding American. The NRA will continue to fight this assault on our fundamental freedom.

    And from their pocket, Sen. James Inhofe (R) & Sen. Jerry Moran (R).

    We will continue to work with our colleagues to make certain this treaty will be put on the shelf to collect dust alongside other misguided U.N. treaties, including the Kyoto Protocol and the Law of the Sea Treaty.

  5. says

    “The NRA is predictably leading the charge:”

    The only thing that Weene LaPutrid and his warriorlobbyists won’t lead the charge on is any actual body of enemy soldiers; that shit is for the rest of the suckers.

    You can have my arms sales when you can pry the order pad from the cold, dead fingers of the free hand of the market!

  6. unity says

    You know, if I wanted to tweak the noses of the NRA I’d point out the treaty only covers imports of foreign-made weapons and ask them what’s wrong with their members being patriotic and buying good old American-made firearms.

    That should be good for a few coughs and splutters over an answers.

  7. kyoseki says

    The more I get to know them, the more the NRA seems to be little more than a fundraising mechanism that operates through manufacturing hysteria and gun & knife versions of the skymall catalog.

    There’s an NRA wine club, did you know that?

  8. blf says

    There’s an NRA wine club

    It seems easier to explain the necessity for using machine guns when hunting, or to explain why mass shootings of schoolchildren “prove” the need for moar guns, or why carrying concealed metal penises shows you are responsible, when you are drunk.

  9. Erk12 says

    The current group of clowns in power in Canada have refused to sign this treaty. They say they’re worried it will somehow interfere with hunters etc who own long guns (rifles). Yeah. Nice to see we’re in that good company too.

  10. naturalcynic says

    The NRA should be in a conundrum on this treaty. Since they are owned and controlled by firearms manufacturers, they should welcome some controls of imported arms. But, then again, they probably want the rest of the world to be just like US, with small arsenals in every home.

  11. uzza says


    ..the exporting party shall not authorize the export… if…there is an overriding risk … that the conventioanal arms or items could be used to commit of facilitate a serious violation of international human rights law,

    Wow! No more weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, Israel, Bahrain, Columbia … etc.
    Lockheed will retool their production lines to making ponies and rainbows. This is good, but color me skeptical (sort of light brown).

  12. Artor says

    The treaty seeks to reign in the global arms trafficking business

    Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Once this treaty is ratified, I will RULE the global arms trade!! Curses! I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling Teabaggers!!!

  13. Abby Normal says

    There’s an NRA wine club, did you know that?

    I thought that was their purpose. Though you forgot the “h”.

  14. kyoseki says

    naturalcynic

    The NRA should be in a conundrum on this treaty. Since they are owned and controlled by firearms manufacturers, they should welcome some controls of imported arms. But, then again, they probably want the rest of the world to be just like US, with small arsenals in every home.

    Some of the largest arms manufacturers in the world are European, Glock, Beretta, H&K, FN Herstal & Sig Sauer, for example aren’t American companies (though they do have American divisions and, in some cases, manufacturing capacities), even though the US is probably their largest market, so it’s not really a conundrum for the NRA, especially given that most of their funding comes from it’s members rather than the gun industry.

    The UN small arms treaty is a great way for the NRA to raise money, it’s tailor made to drive hysterical reactions from people who think that international law supersedes the Constitution and that we’re surrendering our 2nd Amendment rights to those ebil bureaucrats in NY.

    Given that it explicitly states that countries are free to regulate domestic sales of firearms, I have yet to hear a single cogent argument as to how it’s likely to affect people’s ability to own firearms here. It might affect imports of shitty firearms from small foreign manufacturers, but the large ones won’t be affected – and frankly, I’ll stick to companies who make firearms that don’t have a tendency to explode in your hand.

  15. Jeremy Shaffer says

    The right wing has good company in their opposition to the treaty, though. Three nations voted against it at the UN — Iran, Syria and North Korea.

    Given that several of the “True Patriot” friends and family I have on Facebook have recently posted a print negatively comparing attempts at immigration reform in the US to the immigration policies of Iran and NK, suggesting that we should duplicate them*, they might be okay with being in that company.

    * No, the hilarity of this crowd pointing to foreign nations as a model in legislation has not escaped me either.

  16. DaveL says

    I’ve read the treaty, as well as several of its drafts. There’s essentially nothing new there that wasn’t already in the Wassenaar arrangement under which we currently operate. There are also essentially no provisions for enforcement. So I’m not sure what particular good it’s going to do, but I do know it isn’t going to result in the U.N. confiscating privately owned weapons in the U.S.

  17. dmcclean says

    The treaty is milquetoast, certainly nothing to get upset about.

    Kerry said:
    “I signed it because President Obama knows that from decades of efforts that anytime we work with cooperatively with the illicit trade in conventional weapons, we make the world a safe place…”

    Uhh, whoops. Probably meant the opposite of that. Reminds me of the time editing the high school newspaper when we let slip in article that said that so-and-so “held a dinner to raise money for the fight against battered women.”

  18. says

    “and frankly, I’ll stick to companies who make firearms that don’t have a tendency to explode in your hand.”

    Like the AK and SKS? They both seem to be all around perennial favorites of the “Cold dead fingers” crowd.

    The only difference I see between gunzloonz and whining children is that only a few whining children HAVE the gunz that they think solve every problem.

  19. yoav says

    I’m sure David Barton can be relied upon to produce a large body of fake quotes, attributed to as many founders you can think of, where they claim that Jesus told them the constitution defiantly provide absolute protection to the right of US corporation to make obscene profits from selling weapons to any insane dictator or terrorist with a large enough bank account.

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