John Lott Combines Two NRA Conspiracy Theories To Attack UN Arms Trade Treaty

Discredited gun advocate John Lott argued against a draft United Nations Arms Trade Treaty by invoking two debunked NRA conspiracy theories and claimed that it would lead to international regulation of gun ownership and national gun registries for lawful gun owners.

United Nations member states met this week to negotiate an international arms trade treaty with the stated objective of establishing “the highest possible common international standards for regulating” international trade in conventional arms and to “eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion.” In a March 28 editorial on, Lott claimed that the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) would “regulate individual gun ownership all across the world.” He went on to say that the treaty would force countries to maintain “a national control list” so that they could regulate weapon brokering between states.  

In fact, both the U.N. draft  of the arms treaty and the Obama administration made clear that the agreement would not infringe on the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens. The U.N. draft reaffirmed in its preamble  " the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system." The U.S. Department of State added that the final treaty must not cross key "red lines" in order to receive U.S. support, which included that “the Second Amendment to the Constitution must be upheld” without infringements upon “sovereign control” of domestic gun laws:


Lott is also wrong in his assertion that the ATT would lead to an international gun registry and licensing system.  Article 12 Section 1 of the draft treaty maintains that all states are “encouraged to maintain records,” however they must be “pursuant to its national laws and regulations.” Current proposals for universal background checks do not create national registries for gun applicants -- they add the types of transactions that must receive background checks for gun purchases. Under current law, the FBI administers the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), and destroys identifying information about gun owners within 24 hours after check is complete. Furthermore, the 1986 Firearm Owner's Protection Act prohibits the creation of a national gun registry.

This is not a first time Fox News has peddled NRA conspiracy theories. It previously used debunked NRA conspiracy theories on the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty and background checks to incite fear on gun violence prevention.