Over the past four weeks, the United Nations has been engaged in final negotiations on the terms of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). This treaty has the purported goal of reducing the illicit trade in arms. However the ATT is massive in scope, possibly covering every conventional weapon, from battleships and missiles to your common deer hunting rifle and ammunition. The ATT has been in the works for more than a decade, and SCI has continually and consistently monitored its progress to protect hunters from the threats that it could pose. SCI has continually lobbied to exclude hunting firearms and ammunition entirely from the scope of the treaty.
Negotiations have been moving slowly during the months of June and July, however on July 24, 2012, a draft version of the treaty was released and it contains numerous provisions that are extremely dangerous to hunters. Some of the worst provisions of the draft are listed below.
- The current draft ignores the position of millions of sport shooters worldwide and includes all sporting arms, hunting rifles, and ammunition, instead of excluding this legal trade from the scope of the ATT. Sadly, the current United States administration has stated their support for the inclusion of sporting arms in the scope of the treaty.
- The current draft would require all signatory nations to establish a “national control system” to control the export of firearms and ammunition. This national control system could easily be interpreted as a national gun registration system by an anti-hunting administration.
- The draft fails to exclude the temporary import or export of firearms from its scope. This could add burdensome reporting requirements for even the temporary export of a firearm for a hunting trip.
- Article 11 of the draft treaty requires states to keep ten years of records for all arms exported. A country must keep records of “quantity, value, model/type, authorized arms transfers, arms actually transferred, details of exporting State(s), recipient State(s), and end users.” This requirement also applies to arms that merely transit or transship through a country. This huge bureaucratic undertaking could devastate traveling hunters as it is much more likely that air carriers will stop shipping firearms than comply with this unduly burdensome requirements.
- Article 13 would establish a new U.N. bureaucracy that would oversee national implementation of the treaty. This Orwellian named “Implementation Support Unit” would facilitate and oversee the implementation of the treaty.
- Finally, the draft treaty also contains an insidious clause in Article 23 that would essentially apply the treaty to countries whether or not they even sign the treaty. This clause requires that “States Parties shall apply Articles 3-5 to all transfers of conventional arms within the scope of this Treaty to those not party to this Treaty.” This unacceptable position undermines state sovereignty and must be opposed.
The bitter irony of all this is that the United States already has the most comprehensive set of export controls in the world. Other nations could simply emulate these protocols and address any problem, real or perceived.
We need every SCI member and hunter and their friends and family members to contact their senators and the President and urge them to oppose this dangerous treaty. Please click here to contact your legislators now.