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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why Gun Owners Need to Keep An Eye on the UN Arms Trade Treaty

Yesterday, I suggested that when gun owners received forwarded emails or read Internet stories about the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) deliberations, that the recepient should dig a little deeper to get the full story.  At the same time, I noted that gun owners need to be concerned about the proceedings taking place. This article in US News and World Reports makes it clear why that is the case.  In one breath, those pushing the treaty tell us that private gun ownership is not the target:
(Daryl) Kimball says the regulation of domestic gun possession is totally outside the scope of the treaty. Sarah Parker, senior researcher with the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey and an adviser to the Australian delegation to the ATT talks, agrees. "There is no attempt in the Arms Trade Treaty to control the internal regulation of weapons, only international transfers," she says.
But in the next breath, proponents say we have to include civilian arms because different countries classify the same type of arms differently:
"You have a very big problem making a firm distinction between military and civilian in a legal context" because different states define and regulate arms differently, Parker says.

For example, in the United Kingdom, only military personnel are allowed to have handguns, while in the United States an individual may even own a semiautomatic rifle. Parker says it would be impossible to come up with a universal definition for military arms that would be comprehensive or effective in preventing irresponsible transfers—the ultimate goal of the treaty.
And they say we have nothing to worry about.

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