On Monday, in New York City, the United Nations kicked off its final round of negotiations on its comprehensive global arms trade treaty agreement.
In preparation for the talks, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his optimism in astatement released last week that all 193 Member State will “overcome their differences and muster the political will needed to agree on this landmark treaty.”
While it’s unclear what the final draft of the ATT will look like, Ban Ki-moon said that he expects it to include regulations on both weapons and ammunition, from “small arms to tanks to combat aircraft.”
“I reiterate my support for an Arms Trade Treaty that regulates international transfers of both weapons and ammunition and provides for common standards for exporting States. These standards are important for assessing the risks that transferred weapons are not used to fuel conflict, arm criminals or abet violations of international humanitarian or human rights law,” said Ban ki-moon.
Ban Ki-moon also noted that this treaty was only the beginning, a launching pad for more expansive regulations down the road.
“Adoption of this treaty will also provide much-needed momentum for wider disarmament and non-proliferation efforts by the international community.”
The renewed push for an ATT certainly has many gun owners and gun rights organizations on edge. On that front, the NRA is leading the charge to defeat the ATT or to ensure that it doesn’t contain any provisions that would subvert the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.
“What we really object to is the inclusion of civilian firearms within the scope of the ATT,” said Attorney Tom Mason, the NRA’s longtime UN liaison. “This is a treaty that really needs to address the transfer of large numbers of military weapons that leads to human rights abuses. We have submitted language that you can define what a civilian firearm is.”
In other words, it is one thing to regulate bazookas and battle tanks, but keep your hands off commonly owned modern sporting rifles, such as the AR-15.
The NRA also objects to the call for an international registry of gun owners, a notion that was discussed during previous negotiations.
Supporters of the ATT argue that the NRA is off base with their assessment and that they’re only ratcheting up fear to bring in more bucks from members. Additionally, they contend that for an ATT to be impactful, it must regulate all weapons and not just military arms.