A UN Dispatch reader in New Hampshire was at the receiveing end of a National Rifle Association push poll about the Obama administration’s decision to join a treaty process at the UN to limit the sale of small arms to irresponsible end-users, like militias that use child soldiers. From our man in the north country:
I just got a call from the National Rifle Association that was about “The outrageous united nations scheme to ban guns in America.”
They then asked if I’d like to hear a message from some NRA person so of course I delighted in the opportunity. I’m not sure who it was, but it was a man talking about how the UN and some politicians are trying to get gun laws that will keep guns from Americans.
At the end, a woman came back on and asked me this question: “Do you believe that third world dictators along with Hillary Clinton should be able to determine our gun rights here in America?“
Amused, I said “yes, but it’s a terribly leading question.” Then they just said thanks and hung up.
Couldn’t turn my phone recorder on fast enough. [emphasis mine]
For the record, the proposed Arms Trade Treaty, does not yet exist. A few weeks ago, however, the Obama administration breathed new life into a process to control the sale of arms to irresponsible governments and militias by, for the first time, agreeing to a General Assembly resolution that set a time table for negotiations. It’s not like such a treaty could ever affect domestic American gun policy, but predicting opposition from the domestic gun lobby, the Obama administration nevertheless inserted a provision in the resolution stipulating that domestic guns sales would not regulated by the agreement.
The gun lobby follows this issue closely. They know that the United Nations has neither the ability nor desire to regulate domestic gun sales. Still, they deliberately mislead people by framing this process as an insidious global effort to take Americans’ guns away.
This is a flat out lie. And to the extent that it makes a treaty process to limit the sale of weapons to militias and governments with poor human rights records or ties to insurgent groups, it is a dangerous lie.