As certain as the sun rises in the morning and sets at night, you can count on shoddy reporting from the right wing. This is especially true when reality fails to suit their narrative.
We saw a classic example of shoddy reporting in a Washington Times article about talks on a proposed Arms Trade Treaty. Under the headline U.N. threatens to override Second Amendment, Washington Times spin-madam Emily Miller cultivates the fiction that Obama is using the United Nations to come after your guns.
Well, there are a few problems with that. For one thing, the United States is on record as being in opposition to statements made by others about the treaty’s objectives. For another thing we have a list of conditions, including protecting the Second Amendment, that must be met before we will support the final draft of this treaty. Perhaps if Miller learned how to use Google, she would have found the Reuters report that sets the record straight.
She might have learned, for example, that according to the U.N.’s disarmament office, the ATT will not
do any of the following:
“interfere with domestic arms commerce or the right to bear arms in member states; ban the export of any type of weapon; harm states’ legitimate right to self-defense; undermine national arms regulation standards already in place.” (my emphasis)
If she was interested in facts, she might have done something radical – like read the draft document that is the starting point from which participants in the talks will hold their discussions.
Granted, it’s a draft and the final version will have changes that reflect the horse-trading that goes with making treaties. I realize that reading the text of proposed agreements or looking at statements of what was actually said isn’t as much fun as making stuff up, nor is it as politically expedient for a right wing extremists who feed on fear of the imagined, spiced with hatred for the proverbial other.
The thing is if you look beyond the NRA’s talking points, it’s pretty clear that this treaty is about controlling arms sales outside the United States. It’s about taking steps to prevent arms sales to war criminals and terrorists.
According to Reuters, 108 countries led by Mexico issued a statement supporting the treaty. ”the overwhelming majority of (U.N.) Member States agree with us on the necessity and the urgency of adopting a strong Arms Trade Treaty. Our voice must be heard.”
The United States was not among the states that supported the statement. Rather we joined with other members of the U.N. Security Council to issue a separate statement saying: ”an effective (treaty) should not hinder the legitimate arms trade or the legitimate right to self-defense under the U.N. Charter.”
Moreover, the State Department is on record with a series of conditions that must be met for the U.S. to support the final treaty. Guess what the first condition is.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution must be upheld.
Additional provisions reinforce the condition that the Second Amendment must be upheld.
- There will be no restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution.
- There will be no dilution or diminishing of sovereign control over issues involving the private acquisition, ownership, or possession of firearms, which must remain matters of domestic law.
- The U.S. will oppose provisions inconsistent with existing U.S. law or that would unduly interfere with our ability to import, export, or transfer arms in support of our national security and foreign policy interests.
- The international arms trade is a legitimate commercial activity, and otherwise lawful commercial trade in arms must not be unduly hindered.
- There will be no requirement for reporting on or marking and tracing of ammunition or explosives.
- There will be no lowering of current international standards.
- Existing nonproliferation and export control regimes must not be undermined.
- The ATT negotiations must have consensus decision making to allow us to protect U.S. equities.
- There will be no mandate for an international body to enforce an ATT.
The American Bar Association actually reviewed the content of the ATT and concluded:
The proposed treaty would obligate the United States to block both exports and imports of covered arms across its borders whenever those transfers pose an overriding risk of causing certain adverse consequences, including: serious human rights abuses, war crimes, or terrorist acts.
the United States retains the discretion to regulate the flow of weapons into and out of the United States in a manner consistent with the Second Amendment,
In short, for the U.S. to sign the treaty the aforementioned conditions must be met. Under the existing draft, the treaty is consistent with the Second Amendment. Even if there is something questionable in the final draft of the treaty, the United States has the option of registering a reservation reiterating these conditions.
Still, I’m not about to give the NRA a free pass on just what it is they are supporting when they express opposition to provisions that don’t exist.
By opposing this treaty, the NRA supports countries that do or will engage in war crimes and crimes against humanity. The NRA also supports the free flow of weapons to the hands of terrorists, like Al Qaeda.
Why not just come out and say the NRA advocates war crimes and terrorism for profit?
Image: Amnesty USA
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.