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The 2nd Amendment & the Small Arms Treaty

The 2nd Amendment & the Small Arms Treaty (ATT)


Gregg F. Swift

The global arms business is estimated to be valued at about $60 billion. The United States is the biggest player in the game. There was a deadline set by the United Nations to complete the wording of the ATT Treaty with the primary goal being to set forth the directives that would eventually lead to a full attack on the Second Amendment right to bear arms. This deadline lapsed without an agreement on the language to be used in the treaty. For many in the United States that signaled some measure of success. But was it really?

In October 2008 a resolution was introduced at the U.N. calling for work on the ATT the following year. At that time there were 116 countries that agreed with the text of the resolution. The U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) held a vote in late October of 2008 at which time 147 countries voted in favor of the original language. The United States was one of only two countries in opposition.

Some of the proposed language in the ATT according to the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) seeks to “strengthen regulation of international arms transfers of conventional weapons, helping to reduce serious violations of human rights… ” Additionally they say that a comprehensive ATT would cover all conventional arms, including small arms & light weapons (SAWL) possibly including ammunition. The ATT would like to have annual reporting requirements as part of the treaty as well as an Implementation Support Unit to coordinate reporting by respective states.

Gun owners in the United States should be concerned. Is this an attempt at a “gun grab” by the U.N.? The U.N. has traditionally been opposed to the private ownership of firearms, a sentiment shared by many of the U.N. member states. What happens next with the attempt of the U.N. to move the ATT forward? How will they come after the guns?

There are a couple of things that you should know about the U.N. and how they operate. In the open when the U.N. has an agenda item such at the ATT they outline a theoretical objective that they widely publicize. In this case the U.N. states its objective is to control or regulate the amount of arms trade that goes on from state to state (U.N. member states). However, the true intent of the U.N. is to create a bureaucracy that will mandate rules and regulations on the registration of firearms to better control the sale from state to state. The mere assertion that the U.N. wants to control the export of firearms from state to state is ludicrous as most of the international transactions in firearms are between governments.

As with most things the devil is in the details. What concerns many who are watching to see how this unfolds is the issue of “transfer requirements.” The language of the ATT says that the ATT will apply to all of the international transactions of conventional arms. That in and of itself is seemingly innocuous. The ATT then goes on to define these “international transfers” in such a way that it might apply to all firearm transfers in the United States, even from individual to individual.

An additional concern that some have is how the ATT plans to satisfy the reporting requirements. Does the ATT wish to establish an international agency to register all transactions? We will have to wait and see and be vigilant in our efforts to ensure that our Second Amendment rights do not continue to erode. To be sure, the U.N is used to waiting. They don’t do things in giant measures. They operate in incremental measures, piece by piece. How much of our other rights have been eroded because of U.N. dictates over the years. Where will it end? To gain a real perspective on the U.S. policy on the reduction of firearms in America read this U.S. State Department Publication written in 1961 entitled, Freedom From War, The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World, at: http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ERC/arms/freedom_war.html


Gregg Swift, J.D., IACSP is the Director of Operations for Tactical Weapons Solutions, an AR-15 manufacturer. Mr. Swift graduated from Barry Law School in 2001 and has written numerous articles relating to the manufacturing and selling of high quality AR-15 parts, components, rifles, 2nd Amendment rights, the political environment relating to guns, and survival related topics. Visit Tactical Weapons Solutions at http://twsarms.com/.  For more on MilSpec parts and high quality AR-15 rifles and to enter a monthly drawing for a FREE AR-15 at http://twsarms.com/ar-15-monthly-drawing/.

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