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  • Heritage Analyst Speaks to U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Conference

    Photo Courtesy of Sheldon Clare, Canada’s National Firearms Association

    On Wednesday morning, nongovernmental organizations made presentations to the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) conference. Heritage’s Ted R. Bromund, senior research fellow in Anglo-American relations in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, spoke as follows:

    Thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity to offer written remarks to be placed in the record of this conference. My name is Dr. Ted R. Bromund. I am senior research fellow in Anglo-American relations at The Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., with over 700,000 individual members. The views I express in this statement are my own.

    Supporters of the ATT argue that we need it to raise national standards on the import, export, and transfer of arms. But if any nation wishes to raise its standards, it is free to do so now. The fact is that many U.N. member states have neither the desire nor the ability to raise their standards. A treaty will not compel or enable them to do so.

    The U.N. Security Council has adopted embargoes against the shipment of arms to particular nations. It has called on all U.N. member states to eliminate the supply of arms to terrorists. These embargoes and resolutions are regularly violated.

    The ATT’s proponents claim that this is why we need the ATT. But it is a fantasy to believe that a universal ATT, backed by nothing more than the words of the treaty itself, will succeed where the Security Council, backed by the authority of Chapter 7 [of the U.N. charter], has failed.

    The ATT will not limit the ability of terrorists to acquire arms. The reason for this is simple: The U.N. has never defined terrorism, because some member states insist that terrorist groups like Hamas are struggling against so-called foreign occupation.

    This points to a basic fact: It is member states that, by design or negligence, arm terrorists and violate existing embargoes. What is needed is not a new treaty on the arms trade. It is nations that are willing and able to uphold the commitments they have already made.

    An ATT based on easily politicized criteria will create unparalleled opportunities for lawfare against law-abiding democracies. With its vast scope, it will be another aspirational treaty that has no effect on the autocratic member states of the U.N. Indeed, the ATT will legitimate the worst aspects of the arms trade by asserting that the U.N. charter recognizes the right of even dictatorial nations to buy, sell, and transfer arms.

    I hope the democracies at this conference will reject the naive beliefs on which the ATT is founded and instead craft a treaty that recognizes that abuses in the arms trade stem ultimately from the member states of the United Nations itself.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Heritage Analyst Speaks to U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Conference

    1. Concerned citizen says:

      My gripe is the looming possibility of the govt disarming law abiding citizens instead of making it harder for convicted felons to get a weapon. Why should law abiding citizens suffer because of criminals? The average Americans right to freedom of speech and the right to bear arms and the right to speak out against moral and social injustices and Christian faith freedoms are being slowly eradicated . Before we know it , America will be like George orwells 1984.

      • Jeff says:

        Your are correct. Additional laws will only hurt those of us who obey laws. We already have laws that prohibit convicted felons from purchasing or possessing firearms. No matter how many laws you pass, criminals will be criminals…they don't care about obeying laws.

    2. Peter F.Z. Zaizay says:

      Dr. Bromund has raised a very salient point that needs to be considered, when he says that it is member states that are arming non-state actors to include terrorists. What comes to my on this whole ATT issue is that it continues to reflect the Geo-political imbalance. The so-called developed democracies that are autocratic in the center are unwilling to eradicate arms manufacturing, commercialization,trade,, etc, least talk about controlling it. In the scope of the ATT, powerful countries have begun arguing that ammunition should not be included in the scope, failing to realize that arms/weapons without ammunition are mere toys.More to that, it beats my imagination to see and hear human beings defending arms/weapons production, etc to kill fellow human beings in the almighty name of profit. The use of weapons/arms in the form of armed robberies, conventional warfare and non- conventional warfare are all part of the negative extenalities of the arms trade and/or commerce. In my mind, the manufacture and sale of weapons/arms along with their ammunitions should be banned and mankind pursue other peaceful means to preserve its kind on Planet Earth. The manufacture and sale of weapons/arms and their ammunitions will lead to negative intelligence intended for states to undermine each other to create markets for these weapons/arms. This is my take on this issue.Thanks

      • Jeff says:

        Banning arms and ammunition is like trying to ban mosquitoes. Good luck collecting all the guns and ammo. Remember that bad guys (and governments) don't obey laws. It's naive to think they would. Even if you could ban arms and ammunition it would only take the means of defense from those of us who obey laws. No such utopia is possible.

    3. Jeff says:

      Any treaty or agreement that potentially overrides our Constitution should be summarily dismissed. As far as I know Obama supports the ATT. What ever happened to "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." ???

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