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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/28/13

Does the New UN Treaty Mean I'll Lose My Gun?

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Since the passage of the Arms Trade Treaty, some in the U.S. have been stoking fears that the U.N. is going to come down from New York and take away the firearms of American citizens.

As a gun owner and sportsman, I'm concerned about my Second Amendment rights to bear arms and use those firearms for sport, food and hopefully never protection. I can safely say that despite the NRA's rhetoric, my 7mm bolt-action Savage is perfectly safe. If I make it home this winter, the white-tailed deer of Washington County Pennsylvania are a different story.

The treaty passed by the General Assembly is the foundation of a system that will oversee the international sale and purchase of guns, bombs, fighter jets and tanks. The most important thing to remember about the treaty is that it is an international treaty. It cannot and does affect domestic gun control policy.

During the negotiations, the ambassadors of the U.S. championed the Second Amendment by demanding the treaty not interfere with the power of a country to regulate the sale, purchase, collection or use of firearms within their borders.   Secretary Kerry reaffirmed this in his statement, "nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment."

My right to sell my firearm to my father, brother or cousin is not limited by this treaty nor is my right to hunt, target practice or purchase more firearms or ammunition.

What the treaty does do is take steps to prevent terrorist organization from gaining weapons to use against American troops, interests or tourists.   If you remember the 2000 movie Proof of Life with Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe, you might remember the real life story of Thomas Hargrove's 1994 kidnapping on which the film was based.

Fashionable narco-terrorists from the 90s are not the only less-desirables that will be hurt by the new arms control treaty. It is a fundamental and sad fact that many of our servicemen and women who have given their lives abroad were killed by weapons that under this treaty might never have been in our enemies' hands.

While the NRA have promulgated rumors of U.N. peacekeepers going door-to-door seeking hunting rifles and handguns, diplomats also took major steps toward limiting the dangerous sale of "big ticket" conventional weapons including missile systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters and battle tanks.

Anyone that saw Ted will remember Star Trek's Patrick Stewart's verbal drooling over the Apache helicopter, "nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish. Except an Apache helicopter.   An Apache helicopter has machine guns AND missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine."

To be completely honest, I can sleep a little sounder at night knowing someone is working to prevent the sale of "an absolute death machine' to terrorist organizations or rogue States that could turn them on the U.S. or our troops.

Some have expressed concern that the new treaty will limit the ability of the U.S. to support our allies with conventional arms sales. It is necessary for the U.S. to export certain weapons systems to our allies in order to maintain democracy and international peace and security.   The treaty will only ensure that those arms make it into the appropriate hands.

It is a simple fact than when stripped of scare-tactics and informed with facts every American should be in support of the new arms treaty. The only people with something to fear from the new treaty are those looking to seek military hardware subvert peace and security. Hunters, sportsman or gun collectors can head to the range with ease.  

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James Lewis is a former Senior Policy/National Security Analyst at the Washington-based think-tank, Robert Weiner Associates. He has also worked for Student Conservation Association as a Crew Leader engaging low-income urban students in a summer (more...)
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