UN Arms Trade Treaty Not a 2A Threat? Really?

Over and over again I’ve heard the antis trying to placate people paying attention to the UN’s latest antic, the Arms Trade Treaty. They point out that the UN passed a resolution explicitly recognizing “the right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through national constitutional protections on private ownership, exclusively within their territory.” So if all of us gun nuts think our weapons are under any sort of threat from this treaty, we must be even squirrelier than usual, right? Not so fast . . .

That certainly is an interesting resolution, but I notice one glaring exception – nowhere does it mention limitations on manufacturing. I know, I know, most of the Armed Intelligentsia aren’t Smith & Wesson, so what do you care about manufacturers having to get a license? I’ve said it before and I will no doubt say it again: the devil is always in the details.

So what details of the ATT have me worried? Well I haven’t actually read the proposed treaty because, curiously enough, I have been completely unable to find a draft copy. So I called upon Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation who has been travelling the world trying to keep track of the goings-on with the ATT. And even though he has attended meetings and testified even he hasn’t been able to get a copy of the proposed text.

This is starting to make my Spidey-sense tingle a bit, because I remember the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, (more commonly called by its Spanish acronym, CIFTA). CIFTA was signed by Bill Clinton back in 1997 but was left to languish by the Bush administration. What does that have to do with the ATT? You really have to dig into CIFTA’s details but there is deviltry to be found.

The main problem is in the definitions of all places. Specifically:

ARTICLE I
Definitions

 For the purposes of this Convention, the following definitions shall apply:

1. “Illicit manufacturing”: the manufacture or assembly of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials:

b. without a license from a competent governmental authority of the State Party where the manufacture or assembly takes place;

4. “Ammunition”: the complete round or its components, including cartridge cases, primers, propellant powder, bullets, or projectiles that are used in any firearm.

6. “Other related materials”: any component, part, or replacement part of a firearm, or an accessory which can be attached to a firearm.

Then we get down to Article IV, the Legislative Measures and find:

1. States Parties that have not yet done so shall adopt the necessary legislative or other measures to establish as criminal offenses under their domestic law the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials.

Now remember what I said about the resolution doesn’t keep the ATT from regulating firearms manufacture? And what do we have here in CIFTA? The CIFTA definition of manufacture includes assembly. So if I have a rifle and I want to put a scope on it, I am assembling a firearm and a related material. Gotta have a manufacturer’s license.

If I have an ATI VK-22 and want to replace the trigger, I need a manufacturer’s license.

If I want to hand load my ammo, I need a manufacturer’s license.

If I want to load my weapon, do I need a stinking manufacturer’s license? Yep; even loading ammunition in a magazine and seating the mag in the gun constitute assembly of a firearm and ammunition. Or it conceivably could to the right court.

Anyone here want to bet the antis couldn’t find the right court?

comments

  1. avatar Totenglocke says:

    Well, it’s nice to know that not all of the editors are going to defend the ATT.

    1. avatar MrCrispy says:

      I came here to say this. Last week, wasn’t someone from this very site saying that this arms treaty was bunk?

      1. avatar Totenglocke says:

        Bruce posted today’s article, Rob (the owner of the site) has been the one defending it almost daily. I asked him last week what he’ll do if it turns out he was horribly wrong, but never got a response.

        1. avatar Robert Farago says:

          I’ll do what I do now: fight for all Americans’ gun rights. And admit my error, should it come to that.

      2. avatar Robert Farago says:

        I think you’re referring to my post telling gun rights advocates to take a chill pill, ’cause the ATT is about military sales.

        Know this: TTAG is not a monolithic enterprise. We invite opinions on firearms and firearms-related subjects from anyone who cares to share them, from whatever perspective.

        1. avatar ben says:

          I’m with Robert. I’d be willing to make quite a large wager that this “treaty” has absolutely no effect on our Constitutional right of gun ownership. Those of you who attended law school like myself should reread your con law notes on the hierarchy of authority – hint, treaties don’t trump the constitution.

          All this hoopla over this is designed to drum up support for the right wing of the republican party in an election year. Nothing more.

        2. avatar Totenglocke says:

          cause the ATT is about military sales.

          Except that their stated goal is to control sales between countries (at a minimum, if not interfering inside countries). That means it’s very likely that anything not made in the US will be banned or extremely expensive.

        3. avatar Totenglocke says:

          @Ben

          Those of you who attended law school like myself should reread your con law notes on the hierarchy of authority – hint, treaties don’t trump the constitution.

          And what part of our government’s activity over the last few decades makes you think they give a damn about the Constitution? I have a bad feeling that this treaty will either result in yet another Federal government power grab and a massive loss of our rights or a civil war as a result of said power grab.

        4. avatar jkp says:

          Just seemed a bit strange that Mr. Krafft would go on at length about the ‘antis’ on this issue and not address the fact that Mr. Farago has taken a strong stand on the issue too.

        5. avatar Robert Farago says:

          I think he made his point.

  2. avatar jkp says:

    “Over and over again I’ve heard the antis trying to placate people paying attention to the UN’s latest antic, the Arms Trade Treaty.”

    Do these “antis” include that notorious gun-grabber Robert Farago?

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/07/robert-farago/u-n-arms-trade-treaty-still-not-a-u-s-gun-grab/

    1. avatar LeftShooter says:

      @ jkp

      So…, if the guy who runs the website is an “anti” and a “gun grabber,” does that make you one, too, for visiting? Just checking.

      1. avatar jkp says:

        LeftShooter,

        It was sarcasm, actually. If Mr. Farago is out grabbing guns, it’s probably so he can have fun with them himself. And he’ll probably give them back when he’s done.

        Also: for the record, one can actually visit websites that one disagrees with without subscribing to the opinions expressed therein.

        For instance: a leftist can visit TTAG, the home of the “armed intelligentsia”, without being armed.

        Or intelligent.

        1. avatar LeftShooter says:

          Whoa, I thought I caught your humor when you called RF notorious. I’m sorry I didn’t make mine easier to spot!

          Sign me “armed & intelligent,” BTW.

  3. avatar Ike says:

    By the way, do you know that ATF is REQUIRING gunsmiths to get a manufacturer license? Wonder where that requirement came from?

    Has anyone else heard that the UN small arms treaty negotiations have gone into secret sessions, not open to the public? Hmmmmm.

    Look up the UN “International Tracing Instrument” which will probably be included in the treaty so guns can be traced. As I recall, this includes a requirement that individual sales transactions (including used commercial guns) be recorded and kept for 20+ years. Isn’t that a lot like registration? I’m sure ATF is all geared up to handle this requirement…..

    1. avatar Todd says:

      No, they’re not. Unless, of course, the gunsmith in engaging in manufacturing. The definition of manufacturing is broad, yes, but gunsmithing (repairing or modifying customer’s guns) does not require a manufacturer’s license.

  4. avatar John says:

    Treaty, schmeaty. As a general rule if the UN wants it, its bad for the United States.

    It long since time we got out of the august gathering of kleptocrats, thugs, murders, rapists, thieves, et al.

  5. avatar crosswiredmind says:

    If you combine manufactured components into a new configuration, and then sell that new combination, then you are a manufacturer. It does not matter if that means you make quilts or guns. The key there is that you then sell the new combination. You are selling a product. If you do not intend to resell the product you just made, then no, you are not considered a manufacturer.

    For example, if you reload for your own use, then you are not a manufacturer. If you reload in order to sell ammo, then you are a manufacturer.

  6. avatar crosswiredmind says:

    The Arms Trade Treaty has no details, and you cannot find the text, because it does not exist.

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:

      It has text, but it’ll be another “We can’t find out what’s in it until we pass it” bullshit power grab.

      1. avatar crosswiredmind says:

        If it has text then where is it? Do you think the UN is so competent that it could keep it a secret? Hardly. We do not have it because it does not exist.

        1. avatar Totenglocke says:

          What part of “moved to secret negotiations” makes you think that they’ll allow us peasants to see it?

          We do not have it because it does not exist.

          Right, that’s why pro-gun politicians are sending letters to the President about it and Hillary, Obama, & Di Fi are barely able to contain their orgasms at the thought of disarming people so that there’s less resistance to them cramming their agenda down our throats.

        2. avatar Totenglocke says:

          OK, the disappearing comment thing is getting annoying.

          What part of “secret negotiations” makes you think they’d publicly give you the document? I’m willing to bet money that this turns into another “We have to pass it before we’ll let you see what’s in it” power grab.

  7. avatar Jim Barrett says:

    Since I have not seen this semi-mythical document, I can’t really say what or what not it will include, but a couple of things here:

    First of all, with respect to the courts, it can be a very tricky issue to try and convict someone in a U.S. court for violating an international law. Generally, unless there is a similar law in the U.S., you can’t be convicted (or the conviction will be overturned on appeal) of breaking a non-existent law. So Bruce’s concern that the anti’s will find a court here in the U.S. to enforce U.N. laws might be a stretch. Then again, if our government capitulates and passes domestic laws in compliance with the ATT, that is a different can of worms.

    My first point aside, I do see a big potential problem here. All this talk about regulation and registration of manufacturing says one simply thing to me – vastly increased administration costs for our favorite gun companies which they will happily pass on to us. It could get even work for those who are fans of guns manufactured overseas and shipped here including some Berettas, Glocks, and some Sigs.

    Bottom line – the U.N. is a toothless coward dominated by small-fry states. Why the hell should a country like Zambia or Somalia have the same amount of say in International Affairs? Granted, the Security Council gives some countries a lot more power, but the fact is that a lot of the U.N. stuff gets done in the General Assembly where everyone is equal. I say Pshaw. Time to kick the U.N. out of NYC and stop funding it. It does little to serve our interests and only makes things harder for us.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      Jim, we’re not talking about the UN passing some resolution, which the US is free to cheerfully ignore. We’re talking about a treaty, which when ratified, becomes part of the laws of the US, as per Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution:

      This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. (emphasis added)

      The Constitution still trumps all, but it’ll take a long fight to get it struck and there are no guarantees. Much better that something like this never sees the light of day to begin with.

  8. avatar Alex says:

    What about this document?

    http://www.poa-iss.org/mge/documents/topics/undp_salw_legislation.pdf

    It clearly documents that the U.N. has put a lot of thought into regulating civilian gun ownership. Read chapter 3 for specifics.

    These guidelines are not just for third-world countries. Repeatedly, they refer to France, Germany, U.K., and Canada.

    Sure, we have to see the text of the ATT first, but this document seems to make the intentions of the U.N. abundantly clear. If Brady, Clinton, Feinstein, et al had a clue what they are talking about, this is probably what they would have come up with, if not worse.

    Until somebody finally produces the text of the ATT, we do need to remain vigilant.

    1. avatar Cubby says:

      Looks like the UN would like to get the gun laws of NJ applied to the world. Gotta love the term ‘justifiable need’, and how needing a gun for hunting is not a ‘justifiable need’ for possession of a hunting rifle for a hunter.

    2. avatar Greg Camp says:

      That text looks like the stated goals of every gun control advocate that I’ve read. Of course, what they really want is no guns in private hands, but they can’t just say that. Control freaks have to get tied up in the details.

      Clearly, we can’t rest on our successes. As long as there are people in this world who can’t stand me doing things my way and you doing things your way, our work isn’t done.

  9. avatar Silver says:

    The trick is to take logic out of the equation. Remember, antis thrive and depend on lack of logic; they’re expert liars because they have to be. So while the logical person would say, “pf, there’s no way any semi-intelligent person would see that as manufacturing,” remember that antis are not even semi-intelligent. They’d see that and only see an opportunity to further their sick agenda.

    And if you think people as a whole aren’t that stupid, just remember…the fact that Obama even has a chance of reelection speaks volumes about the American public.

    1. avatar DerryM says:

      “And if you think people as a whole aren’t that stupid, just remember…the fact that Obama even has a chance of reelection speaks volumes about the American public.”

      Got that right!

      This U.N. Arms Treaty, if (when)it gets passed, is one of those “baby steps” (maybe larger) in the wrong direction and may well be the key to Pandora’s Box of all kinds of Kalifornication of U.S. Citizen’s gun rights. As economies erode, and the so-called “American Dream” steadily evaporates, the Federal and State Governments’ vested interest in controlling their populous rises in parallel. Disarming the people becomes necessary in order to better control them…just as the Founding Father’s envisioned…
      When Governments have no respect for, nor trust in, the intelligence of the People as moral, rational Beings….the road to Tyranny is open.

      1. avatar Bob says:

        “the intelligence of the People as moral, rational Beings”

        I wonder how many people in the USA today would qualify for that. Our public education system has produce political, moral, and intellectual morons for several decades. The producers of morality and ethics (churches of every type and civic organizations) have also failed for a long time.

        Maybe we deserve what we are getting…

        One result from the Great Depression of the 1930s was an improvement in the quality of the people of this country – less immorally selfish and more involved in the betterment of their neighborhood and their country. Do we NEED another great depression to turn this country around?

        1. avatar Todd Carroll says:

          “Do we NEED another great depression to turn this country around?”

          Do we NEED another great REVOLUTION to turn this country around?

        2. avatar Bob says:

          Yes another revolution would be even better, but that would require many more courageous and dedicated individuals than we have today.

  10. avatar Irock350 says:

    Can someone answer the question on how this actually poses a threat? It doesn’t exist, the is the UN equivalent of a Zombie Apocalypse. Yeah the idea of it is scary, but I don’t expect it to come shambling to life anytime soon.

    1. avatar SD3 says:

      You don’t consider this to be a big deal, and that’s the whole point.

      It sets a precedent for determining U.N. authority WRT how/who/what/when/why firearms are owned, produced, sold, etc.

      This is how institutions incrementally establish control over your life in contexts where they never previously had a voice. Once this *precedent* is established, changing the *terms* is simple enough.

    2. avatar frankgon4 says:

      Eyes and no sight. It does matter. Why do we need to sign this treaty? We already have laws in place. We will add more laws ?
      Why? To establish tight control. It all begins with small steps.

  11. avatar Dustin says:

    Here is why I am against it no matter what…

    Is it gun control? – Yes. (Reason enough!)
    Who does it serve? – Those in power.

    These types of legislation don’t help anybody except dictators. What about opposition in Syria? Nope, sorry. Can’t legally sell to you anymore. I can only legally sell to the dictators who control the government you are resisting. Hell – we wouldn’t even be Americans today with this kind of crap. We would still be subjects of the British Empire. How in the hell do we keep forgetting that is the SOLE reason we have the Second Amendment in the first place?!?

    1. avatar Todd Carroll says:

      How in the hell do we keep forgetting that is the SOLE reason we have the Second Amendment in the first place?!?

      When guns are outlawed….only outlaws will have guns.

      1. avatar Bob says:

        We do have a god-given, natural-law right to self-defense, but that was not the reason for the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment gives the people the means to overthrow their government if it becomes tyrannical. Since the government must fear the people, the 2nd Amendment protects all the other rights in the Bill Of Rights. This is why evil power-hungry leaders always grab all the guns first.

  12. avatar Aharon says:

    Beware the organic process of how such a bill can grow, evolve, and expand into many things making it into a very different entity in practice after it passes the UN. The past is not the present and the present is unlike what the future will become. Those who do not learn from history will suffer the consequences.

  13. avatar crosswiredmind says:

    Note to self: Invest in Reynolds Metals Company. The sales figures on tin foil are sure to spike close to November.

  14. avatar tdiinva says:

    Here is my take a chill pill argument. The Treaty cannot become law in the United States until it is ratified. 34 Senators can stop the Treaty. Even Lyndon Johnson didn’t have 67 Seantors after the Goldwater debacle in 1964.

    Any attempt to apply the Treaty’s restrictions by legislation would require a majority of two houses of Congress. Anybody want to bet that the Antis will have the votes in the next 10 years/ If they do, then we have bigger issues than gun control.

  15. avatar Texas Deputy says:

    Here is the official “Blue Helmet” website for the ATT:
    https://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/

    Here is a “complete” list of the many documents: (good luck getting them – click on the “E” link to get them in English)
    https://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/documents/

    When I clicked on the ENGLISH (E) links to download the documents from the UN website, the UN webpage said, “NO AUTHORIZATION
    In case you use personal firewall, please adjust the privacy settings for this web site.”

    The following documents download OK:

    Secretary General statement on the ATT, July 3, 2012:
    https://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/sgsm14394.doc.htm

    SAAMI Responde:
    https://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/statements/docs/20120711/NGO/20120711_SAAMI_E.pdf

    Official NRA Response from the meeting:
    https://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/statements/docs/20120711/NGO/20120711_NRA_E.pdf

    ANTI (pro-gun control) response from teh CONTROL ARMS COALITION made up of Control Arms Coalition (Philippine Action Network to Control Arms, IANSA Women’s Network, Saferworld, Amnesty International, Oxfam, and IANSA). Note what it says in the first page about the 2nd Amendment

    http://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/ATTPrepCom/Documents/Statements-MS/PrepCom4/15-February-2012/NGO/20120215_ControlArms_E-S.pdf

    1. avatar Texas Deputy says:

      I looked up the IANSA listed above in my previous post:
      http://iansa.org

      It is funded by our old buddy, George Soros:
      http://archive.redstate.com/story/2005/7/12/151120/106

      IANSA internal document with instructions on dealing with the pro-gun media at the ATT:
      http://www.redstate.org/redstate/IANSA.pdf

      IANSA policy paper of GENDER and the ATT:
      http://iansa.org/resource/2012/06/joint-policy-paper-on-gender-and-the-arms-trade-treaty

      http://iansa.org/system/file/Joint_policy_paper_gender_att_final_june2012.pdf

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IANSA

  16. avatar AnotherMatt says:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/untreaty.asp
    Enough with the tinfoil hattery already.

    I love how the same people who for years have been saying the UN is a feckless and powerless organization are now claiming it has the power to trump our constitution. Hint: It doesn’t.

    1. avatar Todd Carroll says:

      I can’t believe that you believe Snopes. I guess everything on the internet really is real. Maybe I took too many drugs in my younger days. I’m really disillusioned. You know Al Gore invented the internet…..right?

      1. avatar AnotherMatt says:

        How about instead of attacking the source you try to refute their points. Theirs are backed up with data and evidence. Being a scientist I tend not to put faith in conjecture, fallacies, and conspiracies.

    2. avatar crosswiredmind says:

      Why bother with facts and reason when people can froth at the mouth and rage against the (imaginary) machine.

      Note to self: Write that book on effective tinfoil hat construction.

  17. avatar Accur81 says:

    Does anyone actually believe that the ATT, which is
    -supported by Dianne Feinstein
    -supported by Hillary Clinton
    -created in secret by the UN
    will actually be beneficial for the 2A?!

    I have absolutely no reason to trust or support such a document.

  18. avatar Sanchanim says:

    There are two thoughts I have here:

  19. avatar Sanchanim says:

    I am very much against it…
    There are two thoughts I have here:
    1. If we allow it to pass, how does this affect gun manufacturers? Both national and international companies. In a time when the economy isn’t so great why impose legislation either by the UN or anyone which could potentially cause issues.

    We don’t have the text so we can only speculate as to how this could affect us. Does reloading mean manufacturing? How about assembling your own AR for example? I know we stand by the fact we think that if you do things as a person you will not be affected, but unless the Treaty has specifics to not be applied to individuals then it could affect us. It could also be changed to affect us in the future as well.

    2. From a personal stand point people talk about the constitution and how we need so many votes etc. What’s to stop Obama from simply giving an executive order, and demanding the DOJ set in place right away all these laws? Of course folks would freak, but once done, it is very hard to undo. In the mean time all gun owners would be hog tied, and possibly loose their firearms until it is all sorted out.

  20. avatar Bob says:

    The real problem with Clinton, Obama, Fienstein, etc. is their interpretation of a few phrases. When they say that the UN ATT will not threaten your 2A rights or your gun rights, they are speaking the truth AS THEY UNDERSTAND IT.

    They do not believe that you have any gun right under the 2A, because they believe the 2A only applies to the militia, which includes the US Military and several Police organizations. They believe the 2A does not extend to the individual, even though the SCOTUS has made it very clear that it does. The way they see it, the UN ATT can’t take away rights that you don’t have.

    I’ll wait until we have seen the text of the UN ATT before I get very very angry or not.

  21. avatar DaveL says:

    Great, so in order to prove that the ATT is a threat to 2nd Amendment rights, you refer to the text of an entirely different treaty. The reason nobody can find a draft is they’re in the middle of negotiating one right now. However, if you want to find the documents generated so far towards a draft treaty, they have the lot of them at controlarms.org.

    That’s what sets my Spidey-sense tingling – that I have to troll gun grabber sites to find the actual documents.

  22. avatar frankgon4 says:

    I thought we already had gun laws in place. So why the treaty?

  23. avatar crosswiredmind says:

    After reading through the docs at controlarms.org, my conclusion is that this is simply an attempt to create a common set of import/export regulations. That makes a whole lot of sense. Why should a AK factory in Whereverastan be allowed to transfer small arms to Overthereastan with ZERO accountability because those two countries do not have national regulation to comply to.

    Oh, and as for the Second Amendment … aside from the fact that international treaty never trumps the Constitution, we have this in the Chairman’s Draft:

    12. Recognizing the sovereign right of States to determine any regulation of internal transfers of arms and national ownership exclusively within their territory, including through national constitutional protections on private ownership.

  24. avatar Gw says:

    Question of the millennia for The Truth About Guns members of the Think Tank
    About Guns intelligentsia.
    “If your Agenda was to establish a New World Order, how “exactly” would you go about implementing it?”

    “Truth, my good friends, is not a thing which can be forever be concealed, for it reveals itself moment by moment to anyone capable of recognizing it for what it actually is.”
    Gw

  25. avatar Dave White says:

    Like the Second Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the US constitution, it is not the wording of the law that is so important but what those in the government “think” it actually says. The Commerce Clause has been interpreted to mean that government can do anything to anybody if it crosses state lines or has to do with commerce (trade). The Second Amendment has been interpreted as allowing states to arm militias and not personal ownership of firearms. The devil is in the details and the interpretation.

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