Obama Administration to Sign U.N. Arms Trade Treaty “In the Very Near Future”
May 17, 2013
As we reported last month, on April 2, the United Nations General Assembly voted 153-4 to pass the Arms Trade Treaty, with the United States voting in favor and several countries abstaining. The vote in the General Assembly pushed the treaty process forward after negotiations twice failed to deliver on the goal of developing the treaty by consensus. The Obama Administration is expected to sign the treaty soon after it is opened for signature on June 3.
According to a May 16 Amnesty International article, a senior US diplomat–Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman–has confirmed the U.S. government will be quick to sign the new treaty. According to the article, Countryman said on Wednesday that the United States would sign the ATT “in the very near future.”
If the deeply problematic treaty is signed, the fight will move to the U.S. Senate, where the Obama administration would need to find 67 senators to ratify the treaty.
Of course, anti-gun Amnesty International approves of the treaty and is advocating its signing and ratification. In addition, Amnesty International has gone so far as to claim that the treaty will not affect “domestic gun control regulations.”
On the contrary, the ATT does indeed threaten the rights and privacy of American gun owners. Signatories will be encouraged to keep information on the “end users” of arms imported into their territory and supply such information to the exporting country. Exporting nations, nearly all of which have civilian firearm control regimes far harsher than the U.S., will be encouraged to take the firearm control laws of an importing country into account before approving a transfer of arms. And the treaty also encourages states to adopt domestic legislation to facilitate the treaty’s onerous requirements.