The United Nations voted late Christmas Eve to once again take up a global arms trade treaty in March. The treaty would regulate global weapons exports and have no effect on domestic gun laws. Still, the US failed to ratify it in July, mainly due to conspiracy theories advanced by conservatives, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and the National Rifle Association that suggested the U.N. would revoke American gun rights.
Member states will try to negotiate an agreement at a conference from March 18-28. But American resistance to the treaty has little basis in fact. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre claimed in July that the U.N. was infringing on Americans’ right to bear arms and refused to support any treaty involving civilian gun ownership.
Far from touching Second Amendment rights, the treaty seeks to control the $60 billion illicit weapons trade that has helped along some of the worst human rights violations in history, and continues to kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. The Associated Press explains:
Many countries, including the United States, control arms exports but there has never been an international treaty regulating the estimated $60 billion global arms trade. For more than a decade, activists and some governments have been pushing for international rules to try to keep illicit weapons out of the hands of terrorists, insurgent fighters and organized crime.
The treaty also specifically acknowledges that domestic constitutional protections for arms owners would be unchanged.
Shortly after the arms trade treaty failed, Congress also refused to ratify a U.N. treaty affirming equal rights for people with disabilities. That treaty was blocked because some Republicans falsely claimed that it would revoke parental rights over children with disabilities.