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U.N. arms treaty won’t infringe on Second Amendment rights, Heritage scholar says

Don’t panic, gun owners. The United Nations isn’t trying to stage a “gun grab” or limit your Second Amendment rights with their Arms Trade Treaty, according to an expert with The Heritage Foundation.

“I don’t think that the ATT is a gun confiscation measure for a variety of reasons,” Ted Bromund, a Heritage senior research fellow in Anglo-American relations, said on Tuesday. “First, because I don’t regard that as within the bounds of possibility in the United States and secondly, because that is not what the text says.”

During a Heritage Blogger Briefing, Bromund recapped the current status of the treaty, something he has been covering extensively, including the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty held in July of this year. In summary, he said the treaty is designed to provide common guidelines about international import, export and transfer of arms. Bromund stressed that people incorrectly view the ATT as a small arms treaty, when in reality it covers everything weapons-related — “from bullets to battleships.”

The treaty is worrisome for other reasons, however. Bromund noted that most of the member nations, and the U.N. as a whole, are supportive of harsher gun control laws than what the U.S. implements. Many of the member states of the U.N. will continue to push the definition of the ATT “in ways that will be, at best, uncomfortable for the United States,” he said.

While the language of the treaty might sound good, in practice it would only apply to the U.S., Israel and a few other nations, according to Bromund. He said proponents of the treaty believe its passage would cause Russia, Iran, China and other nations to behave better in the international community. Bromund said this is a false hope and compared the ATT to trying to stop murder by giving it a more detailed definition.

“It’s not going to the trick,” he said. “This is an enforcement problem, not a law or a treaty problem.”

Since the U.S. is the largest and most responsible arms dealer in the world, other countries would brandish the treaty as a weapon — pun intended — to cut into U.S. arms trade revenue.Bromund said all eyes would be turned on the U.S., watching for any small infractions, instead of looking at countries that are irresponsible with their weapons trade. The language of the treaty is also vague, further leaving the U.S. vulnerable to crackdowns on their arms trade.

Though Bromund strongly advises against signing the treaty — which should be finalized in March — he fully expects President Obama to sign it during his second term, an act that would make the U.S. legally bound to comply with its requirements, with or without Senate consideration, Bromund said.

As a final caution, Bromund stressed focusing on “the long haul” instead of panicking over individual incidents.

So holster your guns and don’t go off half-cocked. This is just one battle in a long war.

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