The National Rifle Association's fearmongering over the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has reached a zenith, with its media representatives claiming that passing the treaty would result in “192 other countries to tell[ing] us what our gun control laws ought to be,” while not passing the treaty would result in “even more of a threat when it comes to our Second Amendment.”
Negotiations are currently taking place on the treaty, which aims to prevent the diversion of weapons to human-rights abusers in order to reduce the estimated 500,000 deaths that occur worldwide each year as a result of armed violence.
While the NRA routinely trumpets - and fundraises off of - the baseless conspiracy that the treaty is actually an Obama administration plot to disarm Americans, the text of the treaty proposal plainly states that it seeks to regulate the international trade in arms and not nations' domestic gun policies. Far from meddling in America's domestic gun affairs as the NRA claims, the treaty actually seeks to implement on an international scale arms trade standards already in place in the United States.
The latest claims from the NRA on the treaty came during the March 19 edition of the NRA's Cam & Company show on the Sportsman Channel when NRA News investigative journalist Ginny Simone interviewed Fox News contributor and NRA advisor John Bolton. During that interview, Bolton and Simone suggested that while it would be a disaster for the Second Amendment if the treaty were enacted, it would be even worse if it wasn't.
SIMONE: But you know John, they claim this is the final conference. So here's a what if. What if it doesn't get by this conference? And what if it doesn't get by the General Assembly and the U.N. decides, or the countries, the member states at the U.N., decide to go outside? Is that even more of a threat when it comes to our Second Amendment?
BOLTON: Well I think it is. And it actually allows more freedom for those who have an international control agenda to pursue.
Beyond fearmongering about what would happen if agreement is not reached on the treaty, Bolton also advanced the common NRA myth that it would supersede our domestic gun laws.
During the interview Bolton claimed that if the treaty were adopted, “we would find ourselves in the position of adhering to a treaty and changing our domestic gun control laws when rogue states and dictatorships around the world would just go their own way” and added, “we don't 192 other countries to tell us what our gun control laws ought to be.”
The actual treaty, however, clearly indicates that it does not reach nations' domestic affairs.
The treaty's draft preamble “reaffirm[s] the sovereign right and responsibility of any State to regulate and control transfers of conventional arms that take place exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional systems.” Furthermore, the U.S. Department of State has declared that the United States will oppose any final treaty that contains “restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution.”
The American Bar Association has also reviewed the treaty plans and concluded that “the proposed [treaty] is consistent with the Second Amendment.” As the ABA notes, the NRA's dire predictions about the treaty do not acknowledge that the U.S. Constitution's supremacy clause would render any treaty language that conflicted with the Second Amendment void.
During the interview, Bolton claimed that Obama administration support for the treaty evidenced how Obama himself is a “is the most radical we've ever elected” and went on to state that the president “is comfortable with American decline around the world” and that “his desire to constrain American sovereignty, to have more authority given to international institutions, really is going to come into full bloom” in his second term. Bolton concluded that Obama is a “post-American president.”