Last week my column discussed the disastrous legal consequences likely to emerge from the ongoing negotiations to create the Arms Transfer Treaty at the United Nations.
Fox News reports that with the conference coming to a close, a draft text has been released that has everyone not working for a dictatorial regime hopping mad:
While critics say U.S. gun owners and interests would be left exposed by the draft, it has drawn criticism on other fronts. Activists on the political left say it is a gift to illicit gunrunners around the world, and the only group that seems to like it is the rogue states leading talks, say critics.
“The talks … are now being dominated by skeptical governments including Iran, Syria and Cuba, intent on having a weak treaty, or no treaty at all,” Control Arms, a global movement that says illicit gunrunning is fueling conflict, poverty and serious human rights violations worldwide, said in a statement. Other activists named North Korea, Egypt and Algeria as additional spoilers of the UN’s stated aims for the treaty: to keep conventional weapons out of the hands of rogue regimes, terrorists and criminals.
Heritage expert Ted Bromund says it’s no surprise why the draft text of the ATT treaty is benefiting bad actors while stymieing liberals’ good intentions:
Any conceivable ATT, simply because it is being negotiated through the U.N., will be based on recognizing that all members of the U.N. are equal and sovereign states and thus have equal rights. The inevitable result of this, in the context of the ATT, will be a treaty stating that Iran and Venezuela have the same rights to buy, sell, and transfer weapons as do the U.S. and Japan. The U.N. already contains far too many dictatorships; negotiating a treaty that enshrines their equality of status in the realm of arms transfers is inherently a bad and dangerous idea.
As I noted in my column, the push for the ATT at the UN arose because gun control groups could not get legislation they favored passed in the United States Congress. But instead of getting the hint that the political marketplace was unreceptive to their ideas, gun controllers threw in their lot with a body that treats every government the same, even those willing to turn a gun control treaty into a mechanism that oppresses citizens at home and abroad.
It will be a form of perverse justice that when the ATT becomes an international law protecting Iran and Venezuela’s ability to kill their own people and arm other dictatorships like Syria that the constituency most responsible for enshrining those rights will be gun control groups.