Suggesting the United Nations is coming for your guns is among the longest running pieces of scarelore for the National Rifle Association and other gun lobby groups. Today Fox News got in on the action, airing a segment that recycled the paranoid accusations most recently seen in NRA fundraising efforts.
The segment, produced as part of Fox's "Taking Liberties" series, appeared on today's episodes of America's Newsroom and Happening Now, correspondent Douglas Kennedy interviewed critics of the proposed treaty who inaccurately describe its intended goals.
Happening Now introduced segment with the misleading chryon, "Obama Administration Backs U.N. Treaty To Control Guns."
While the Obama administration hopes to back the U.N. arms treaty, treaty negotiations haven't been concluded. There is no final treaty language, no treaty to back, and no guarantee the administration will find the final treaty acceptable. Fox's misleading suggestion mirrors a long debunked chain e-mail that erroneously suggests the administration has already signed the treaty.
It didn't get much better once the segment started rolling.
From Happening Now:
KENNEDY: The U.N. says it's time to crack down on international gun sales, but does its proposed solution threaten the U.S. constitution?
The answer is demonstratively no. The Second Amendment can't be repealed by treaty, nor is the treaty aimed at domestic gun regulations.
Kennedy interviews Concord Rod and Gun Club president Henry Dane, who erroneously complained that the proposed treaty would give the U.N. authority to regulate U.S. firearms laws.
DANE: It [the U.N. treaty] really means turning over our policy with regard to firearms over to the United Nations.
This isn't any closer to the truth. The U.N. General Assembly's resolution on the treaty makes clear that countries will "exclusively" maintain the right within their borders to "regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through national constitutional protections on private ownerships." As reported in the Washington Post, the goal of U.S. negotiators is get other countries to agree to follow import and export rules that the U.S. already has already instituted:
The Obama administration hopes it can use the talks to press other governments to adopt a rigorous system of export controls similar to one put in place to regulate U.S. arms exports.
Last month, Thomas Lane at Talking Points Memo talked to Jeff Abramson of the Control Arms Secretariat who elaborated on the treaty:
Jeff Abramson, the coordinator of the pro-treaty Control Arms Secretariat, told TPM, "[Second Amendment-citing] critics say the sky will fall, but the things the treaty suggests already exist in the US. It's hard to see where the US would need to make changes to its existing national laws."
Any treaty that the Obama administration signs would need a 67-vote supermajority in the Senate to be ratified, making it exceedingly implausible that any controversial measure would be advanced in that manner.
Kennedy talks to the U.N.'s Daniel Prins, who states that the treaty is "supposed to regulate the way that these goods cross national borders," but the Fox host then pivots right back to Dan, who says that "the problem is that the U.N. is dominated by countries who are unsympathetic to the United States and the freedoms that we enjoy."