Will the NRA kill a global arms trade treaty?

By William Hartung
July 13, 2012

As the world’s governments meet at the United Nations this month to craft a global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), one organization is making its voice heard loud and clear: the National Rifle Association. If you thought the NRA had restricted itself to rolling back gun regulations within U.S. borders, you might be surprised at the group’s intense interest in the U.N. proceedings. But on closer inspection, it’s clear that opposition to measures making it harder to arm tyrants or pour weapons into war zones is in keeping with the NRA’s overriding ideology: We love guns, and we hate treaties. That was the thrust of the remarks that NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre made this week at the U.N. conference negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty, which he said would be “an offense to any American who has ever breathed our free air.”

LaPierre’s rhetoric may be over the top, but his organization has a detailed position on the ATT that is best encapsulated in a July 2 NRA-instigated letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed by 130 members of the House of Representatives. It makes the proposed treaty sound like an end to life as we know it, one that would “pose significant threats to our national security, foreign policy, and economic interests as well as our constitutional rights.”

The letter begins with a predictable ode to the Second Amendment right to bear arms, arguing that any treaty on the arms trade should “not cover small arms, light weapons or related materials such as firearms ammunition.” Since these are precisely the weapons that account for most of the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by war and repression each year, leaving them out is tantamount to gutting the treaty. But that’s not enough for the NRA and its allies. The agreement must also “expressly recognize the individual right of personal self-defense, as well as the legitimacy of hunting, sports shooting, and other lawful activities pertaining to private ownership of firearms and related materials.”

This aspect of the NRA’s posture is particularly ironic given that the treaty makes it clear it is only intended to regulate the transfer of arms across international borders, not their sale within individual countries. The NRA has set up a straw man, and it is using its lobbying muscle to knock it down again – all in the interest of killing off the ATT.

In fairness, the NRA seems open to something called an “arms trade treaty” as long as it doesn’t actually do anything. That puts it shoulder-to-shoulder with Iran, Syria and North Korea, the most obstructionist participants in this month’s ATT conference. The NRA’s bottom line is that the agreement place “no new requirements for action on the United States.”

The truth is that even a fairly robust ATT would ask far less of the United States than of virtually any other country in the world. The U.S. already has regulations for arms exports licensing, reporting and – at least for major weapons systems – congressional sign-off. It regulates arms brokers and has provisions in law for curbing sales to human rights abusers and conflict zones. These restrictions are already more rigorous than those in most nations, but they need to be enforced far more consistently, and efforts should be made to roll back attempts by the industry to undermine them. Ideally, an Arms Trade Treaty would encourage decision makers in Washington to observe the spirit and letter of U.S. law, but it wouldn’t entail any vast new regulatory structure. This would be a very small price to pay for an international agreement that helps keeps arms out of the hands of tyrants, terrorists and aggressor nations.

Getting a consensus within the U.N. on a treaty covering the full range of instruments of destruction and setting tough legal limits on their transfer to irresponsible users will be hard enough without the NRA’s interference. As the world’s leading arms exporting nation, the United States has a special responsibility to play a leadership role in beating back opposition to a meaningful treaty. Although the Obama administration has supported the treaty in principle so far, one major weakness in the current U.S. position is its unwillingness to support regulation of ammunition sales, a logical choke point in stemming the violence in wars being waged with small arms and light weapons. The U.S. needs to press for the best possible treaty now, before an historic opportunity to finally rein in the global arms trade is allowed to slip away.

As for the NRA, it will oppose the agreement unless it is a treaty in name only, and even then its support can’t be counted upon. The Obama administration would be in a far better position, both in terms of politics and policy, if it clearly explained why it supports a strong ATT – and why the agreement has absolutely nothing to do with domestic gun possession.

 

51 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

The NRA is 5.5 -6 million dues paid members, 10s of millions of non-member supporters, and the largest, most popular political grass roots force in America that can be called into political action with military speed and precision within hours. I am a member of that political movement.

With that said, there are already laws against illegal gun trafficking. Law abiding people adhere to them, while criminals do not. Creating a another new UN gun control law will only make it easy for this administration to impose gun control at home, something they failed to do with the Fast and Furious fraud that got U.S. agents and thousands of others in the U.S. and Mexico killed. If the rest of the world wants to sign on to this fraud, then nobody can stop them, however the American people and the U.S. Senate have already announced that we will have nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, instead of being high and pious about gun control, UN Secretary General Annan and U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, the biggest enablers of tyranny to date, need to step out of the way and let the beleaguered Syrian people receive international arms so that they can defend themselves against state sponsored tyranny.

Posted by OIFVetAtUSC | Report as abusive

There are a lot of statistics out there showing that numerous special “gun laws” only serve to make it harder for law abiding citizens to obtain firearms, while the criminals committing the very acts the laws were passed to prevent simply obtain what they want via the black market. Given the UN’s history managing regulatory schemes in the past (oil for food anyone?) being frought with corruption and fraud–unless one is naive enough to think this really is going to have a meaningful impact on global arms trafficking–this can only be a cynical attempt by a bunch of unaccountable bureaucrats to take baby steps towards undermining individual freedoms. The fact that the “Fast and Furious” Obama administration is supporting it doesn’t exactly leave one with a great deal of comfort.

Posted by AntoniusBlock | Report as abusive

Why should people trust very large, organized groups who order others to obey or die? Government. Only Government can give us massive tyranny on a national scale. Only government can declare itself infallible and untouchable. Why should individuals have their personal power reduced so that they are even more at the mercy of whoever has managed to get control of the State?

Government kills people.

Posted by usagadfly | Report as abusive

Did Jesus carry a gun? Nope. He carried no weapons as all, actually.

It would be interesting to see what percentage of NRA members call themselves Christians.

Posted by DifferentOne | Report as abusive

The NRA is nothing more than a crony free citizen rights ‘pacifier’ happily supported by the powerful & elite.
You will need much more than hand guns to overthrow oppressive elite governments who possess high-tech weapons & armies. In fact the elite want more violence within their societies, it gives them more legitimacy. Democracy has long gone, it has now now evolved into a virtual reality game.

Posted by GMavros | Report as abusive

Has the author of this article lost his mind? A UN commission comprised of totalitatrian regimes inculding Iran, etc, is going to help regulate global arms, deciding who should and shouldn’t have them? It’s laughable on its face. No American president should being going anywhere near this UN effort, for ANY reason. Shame on Obama and his administration for pretending to be too strategic on this one, by about half. And no American Senate ever imaginable, would be so foolish as to ratify such complete garbage. NRA? Thank God someone is paying attention to this nitwit nonsense.

Defeat America – re-elect Barak Obama

Posted by Thucydides | Report as abusive

I will be satisfied with my existing firearms when we stop wasting billions funding the tyrants at the UN.

Posted by wisehiney | Report as abusive

@Thucydides & wisehiney; You’ve got a legitimate target, the UN, but for the wrong reason, you need to do some more research. And Mr. Obama will prevail.

Posted by GMavros | Report as abusive

Seriously, folks, the NRA is made up of a bunch of testosterone driven types whose guns are really nothing more than phallic symbols. Guns are not just tools to these people – guns are objects love and desire. They lust for their guns.

Posted by explorer08 | Report as abusive

@explorer08, you are obviously what the gun control effort has spawned. Fortunately, you are in the minority and you don’t represent most Americans. Please grow up. Half of NRA’s memberships are women, most of the 15 million+ (and rapidly increasing)concealed carry licensees, who refuse to be victims of crime and gun control laws. Most NRA members are people of average or better means who are better educated and better enlightened of world events than the average follower of Rosie O’Donnell, Sarah Brady, Jon Sugarman and Michael Bloomberg, who have made a lucrative industry out of being blithering mouthpieces for more worthless gun control. If you don’t want to own a gun, then don’t. With your attitude, it might be better if you armed yourself with a whistle instead.

Posted by OIFVetAtUSC | Report as abusive

@DifferentOne – What do you know of Jesus? He came into the world to fulfill a specific mission for which there was no need for weapons. As for the rest of us, the basic freedoms we enjoy in this country were founded by an armed citizenry. Study your history, most totalitarian regimes’ first moves were disarming the citizens.

Posted by AntoniusBlock | Report as abusive

@GMavros, obviously, the people of Romania were more optimistic than you about throwing off the yoke of tyranny as the Cold War ended. Perhaps you don’t remember Chadian rebels equipped with Toyota pickup trucks and anti-tank weapons turning back Libyan tanks in the early 80s. Likewise the people of Southern Sudan who stood up to the Islamic regime in Khartoum, the people of Libya who stood up to Qaddafi’s loyalists, and now the people of Syria who have had enough of Bashar Assad’s overbearing Ba’thist tyranny. There are a hundred such examples in our lifetime alone. Determined men, women and boys armed with bolt action rifles, locally made explosives, and little more than a few hard gotten anti-tank and anti-air weapons have prevailed over powerful armies in the recent past. Governments exist only through the patience, tolerances and will of the people that they administer. Ultimately, if and when bad government goes too far, the people will prevail. The speed of their success depends on whether outside influences, like other regime members in the UN, stand in their way.

Posted by OIFVetAtUSC | Report as abusive

The NRA is so mighty and powerful. But, ever since the supreme court ruled that anyone could buy an election in the US, they’re about to be yesterday’s news.

Posted by TheBushYears | Report as abusive

Love that they got House members to sign their petition; don’t they know it’s the Senate that ratifies treaties?

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

@DifferentOne, what a ridiculous comment. Besides the obvious fact that guns didn’t exist then, to suggest that anyone who owns a gun couldn’t be a Christian is embarrassingly ignorant. I’ve owned a gun for the last 30 years, and have never pointed it in the direction of a human being. But I reserve the right to do so if ever threatened. Why should private citizens have any less right to self defense than a police officer?

The U.N. has no regard for the U.S. Bill of Rights, and it’s up to us and our elected officials to protect those rights.

Posted by Richod | Report as abusive

The NRA is obviously aware that a UN treaty that gets anywhere close to infringing on the Right to Bear Arms would be struck as unconstitutional in record time. Between this and the delusional conspiracy theory from the NRA about Obama having a secret plan to take everyone’s guns away if re-elected, I fear that the NRA is now just another GOP hangout, with protecting the Right to Bear Arms taking a backseat to getting the GOP elected. For the growing number of us on the democratic side of the isle who appreciate the NRA’s stated mission and are thankful of the check they serve on the unreasonable voices on our side, it really is concerning.

Posted by NoVaCRE | Report as abusive

Why is it people think the US Government or the United Nations need to control our lives. They do not!

The NRA needs to be successful so that US citizens can enjoy our autonomy and our Constitution. Do not let the UN begin to control our lives as our own government is trying to do.

Posted by aDemnomore | Report as abusive

@NoVaCRE, it is no mistake that there is are a large percentage of Democrats, and even people who would call themselves social liberals concerning other issues who in the ranks of the NRA.

As for this president, he made it known early in his career as a house representative and later senator from Illinois where he stood on gun ownership and the right to keep and bear arms. As president, his handlers tell him what to say and what not to say. To say “nothing” about guns, especially after his botched 2008 campaign speech about “clinging to guns and Bibles” is wise on his part. Staying out of the argument is now standard operating procedure. However, there is the issue of Operation Fast and Furious under the direction of Attorney General Holder where thousands of semi-auto rifles and .50 Barrett sniper rifles were moved south of the border as quickly as possible by government straw buyers and with neither any means, nor intent to trace them as they moved. What’s with that??!! Since the weapons were not being traced, it is easy to conclude that this was a scheme to promote more gun control, especially on the heels of Secretary Clinton’s and Mexican President Calderón’s staged and televised appeal for gun control in the U.S., and President Obama’s corresponding promise to Sarah Brady that he had a gun control plan in the works “under the radar.”

With the demise of Fast and Furious and with all appearances that it was an administration conspiracy complete with congressional hearings and possible charges pending, it is only natural that the American people and the Congress won’t stand for another attempt of gun control, this time through the UN, an organization composed of well known corrupt and oppressive regimes.

Posted by OIFVetAtUSC | Report as abusive

The suggestion that the Fast and Furious program was some huge conspiracy by President Obama is not supported by reality. Holder had nothing to do with the program and was not aware of it until it was stopped; there isn’t any evidence to suggest otherwise. You can choose to believe otherwise; many people still refuse to believe Obama was born in Hawaii. I do not understand the motivation to choose to believe such clearly false ideas, but there is no point in debating reality.

Posted by NoVaCRE | Report as abusive

The suggestion that the Fast and Furious program was some huge conspiracy by President Obama is not supported by reality. Holder had nothing to do with the program and was not aware of it until it was stopped; there isn’t any evidence to suggest otherwise. You can choose to believe otherwise; many people still refuse to believe Obama was born in Hawaii. I do not understand the motivation to choose to believe such clearly false ideas, but there is no point in debating reality.

Posted by NoVaCRE | Report as abusive

Report of Canada’s National Firearms Association Distributed at UN ATT Treaty Talks 11 July 2012

STATEMENT TO UNITED NATIONS ON ATT
Mr. President, I am Sheldon Clare, President of Canada’s National Firearms Association. Our members are collectors of everything from cartridges to fully automatic firearms; they’re sports shooters and Olympic competitors, wholesalers and retailers, re-enactors, members of the movie industry, hunters, people who hand load ammunition, and those who own firearms for defence. Our members are concerned that UN attempts to regulate trade in arms are misdirected and will have an unfair and unreasonable effect upon the ability of free people to have access to firearms and ammunition for perfectly legitimate purposes. It is a false premise that civilian access to small arms is the problem.
Canada’s National Firearms Association (NFA) recommends that controls on small arms and light weapons be limited solely to major weapon systems possessed or sold by nation states – not firearms owned or desired to be owned by civilians, also called non-state actors. The rights and property of Canadians, and our firearms businesses engaged in the lawful trade in firearms and ammunition, including surplus firearms and ammunition, must not be subject to UN edict or control. Quite simply, these are matters of national sovereignty, civil freedoms and property rights, and are related to national culture. Also, marking and accounting for ammunition would be exceptionally onerous and expensive for manufacturers and firearm owners alike. Control of ammunition would be unreasonable, unnecessary, and impossible.
The proposed Implementation Support Unit (ISU) could potentially serve as a form of promotional and enforcement agency for the ATT and thus interfere with national sovereignty over laws affecting firearms ownership and use. It could be used to operate a form of international registration system. Funds given to this body and other initiatives such as the Victims Assistance Fund could be directed to terrorist states. Supporting these potentially huge and inappropriate expenses is not in the best interests of Canadians.
Reducing arms in civilian hands can significantly limit the ability of people to defend themselves. This is especially important in the event of unrest and disorder, or in case of state-mandated crimes against humanity. Civilian ownership of arms is an important factor in preventing and limiting the effect of events such as what occurred in Sebrinica and Rwanda. While governments need to act against terrorism, perhaps better ways to deal with unrest would be to address the economic situations, political differences, and human rights issues that contribute to people agitating for change.
A global ATT would only be in the interests of those who would seek economic advantage by limiting market opportunity and of regimes who would use such a treaty to disarm their citizens in order to rule through fear. Thank you for your consideration Mr. President.

Posted by www.nfa.ca | Report as abusive

I’m curious. I’ve tried to correspond with the NRA on this and received little response. Is it the position of the NRA that 1) There should be absolutely no regulation of any kind within the US regarding weapons; 2) That everyone should own a weapon; 3) That political candidates should be primarily evaluated on their position regarding gun control rather than any other criteria; 4) That international arms sales should be unrestricted. I would welcome responses from any of the Posters above who are NRA members

Posted by steve778936 | Report as abusive

@OIFVetAtUSC;
It is in the interest of the Elite Powers to arm the citizens of less powerful & poor nations, so as to overthrow theirs and install crony ‘Democratic’ governments that will join the corrupt New World Order Elite Club, presently chaired by Goldman Sachs.
Membership includes the governments of the USA, EU, China, Russia, and crony organizations such as the UN, IMF, World Bank, WTO, NAFTA, Wall Street, etc.

There is a good book out there titled “How Goldman Sachs Got To Control The World” or something like that.

Possession of conventional arms by their citizens poses no threat to the powerful nations. It is only effective in weak countries outside the Elite Club, eventually to be forced into membership.

If you ‘follow the money’ and connect the dots of recent international financial frauds, political, economic & military maneuvers, the picture becomes very clear.

The USA, China, Russia, Brazil, India & South Africa are the main members of the New World Order Club, and in that order, which reflects economic & financial strength.

China’s ‘opening up’ was nothing more than the Chinese Elite’s membership into this Club. Goldman Sachs has been operating there for many years ‘advising’ the Chinese Elite on how to play this game.
A very good indication of this is the fact the Chinese media has never reported the ongoing financial scandals of the West, they simply cover it up as a world economic downturn.
At a recent World Bank conference in Beijing, a 26 year old economist stormed in blasting & accusing the World Bank of their intentions in raiding the Chinese middle class and destroying their economy. You can find this video if you Google it.

Our world is entering a real Dark Age.

Posted by GMavros | Report as abusive

This aspect of the NRA’s posture is particularly ironic given that the treaty makes it clear it is only intended to regulate the transfer of arms across international borders, not their sale within individual countries.

Tell me sir, If the UN can regulate the transfer between countries of firearms, how can free and open trade of these firearms be conducted between the US and others? No foreign body should ever have any authority over the trade of anything between the US and any other Country.
Period!!!!!

Posted by Abetterplace | Report as abusive

Government elite want to find a way to take away your weapons and your ability to self defense because if they can take your weapons they can take your freedom and you will be powerless to do anything against the ones in power and the law enforcement and military with weapons that protect them. We can’t allow anyone to infringe upon our nations sovereignty and citizens rights! We need to label these as enemies and do whatever it takes to make sure their plans do not succeed.

Posted by CountryPride | Report as abusive

It’s hard not to be worried about the future of the US, once a great country and always a beautiful country, when our policies and politics are driven by groups founded on a delusion. I’m 60 years of age and never in my lifetime has there been, and never will there be, any conspiracy of our government to deprive citizens of the right to own small arms. There never will be a conspiracy of liberals and leftists to take away freedom. There never has been a threat of that in the US. Ever. It just isn’t going to happen and no one of any importance ever wanted it to happen. And none of our leaders have the courage to call bullshit on this. A country of fools led by self-interested cowards has only the dimmest future.

Posted by sandblast | Report as abusive

The world would be a better place if there were no weapons. The amount of money that we spend on “defense” (Is it no offense?) instead of education is incredibly stupid. I am currently a gun-owner, but only because I was the victim of a serious threat many years ago by a gun owner. It would have been a less tense world if neither of us had them. Does our love of weapons have any correlation to the amount of money that we spend imprisoning the largest percentage of our citizens of any country? Yes, let the world be as free of weapons and of violence as possible. Support this treaty!

Posted by jfxwsr | Report as abusive

I tell you the rhetoric and violence is crazy!

The pea shooters are meaningless.

Todays’ warefare is digital and cyber.

For personal safety our family has Airdales. With a hand signal or a flick of a finger a person with any weapon has no chance.

Larry

Posted by Flash1022 | Report as abusive

Here’s just a brief, Heads Up, on where this nonsense about the UN having any say, ANY input what so ever, over ANY American policies regarding gun control… It aint gonna happen… AND,.. should any idiot believe that the American people will EVER let that scenario become a reality,.. You might consider deep pshyciatric help and medication.. Only a fool would think a US citizen would even consider heeling to ANY demand the UN might try to impose on American Sovereign Rights. Also, any attempt to enforce such a notion by any American Agency, should be seen as treasonous and should be met by the American People as a direct threat to subjugate them in an unlawful manner. The author of this article is delusional at the least. ANYONE supporting his opinionated piece is delusional as well. Sorry if that offends you.. but here is the reality…. No matter what a government official signs or agrees to sign regarding the control, or reliquishment of control, by a foreign entity over American Constitutional Rights will have absolutely no bearing on a patriot. For a government to believe that scenario is possible will ultimately end in violence (and rightfully so)and the dismissal of that entity as a governing factor. It WILL be replaced by an authority that will uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That my friends IS what will transpire.

Posted by jerico911 | Report as abusive

@explorer08..REALLY?? I am a female with absolutely no gun lust or need to feel something warm on my hip. I am on the other hand an AMERICAN who understands exactly why the 2nd ammendment was created in the first place. Guns are not to protect you (only) from the psycho who wants to envade your home at 3am, or to add 3 inches to your genitalia as you seem to believe..GUNS ARE FOR YOUR PROTECTION FROM YOUR TYRANISTIC GOVERNMENT!! Look at Africa, Columbia…oh geez, we could go on forever. When the powers that be knock on your door, demanding your name, SS#, and weapons..you can proudly say, “I don’t have any”. Please refrain from running thru the streets looking for someone who does a way to protect themselves and their families. Do I sound crazy to you?? Then apparently, you don’t read the news!

Posted by trymcclinton | Report as abusive

Apparently Mr. Hartung didn’t actually watch Mr. LaPierre’s delivered remarks to the UN, nor did he read a transcript of those remarks. Had he done so, he would have clearly noted that Mr. LaPierre qualified his concerns to how the proposed treaty would treat CIVILIAN ownership of arms — and he made this qualification at least twice during his speech. Thus, Mr. Hartung’s flotsam about the NRA being in “opposition to measures making it harder to arm tyrants or pour weapons into war zones” has no merit.

Posted by Randy549 | Report as abusive

Any idea why the murder rate in the USA is 3 times that of its closest neighbour (Canada) and 5-8 times the rate of any western European country? It mystifies me that Americans are unwilling to look at the cold hard facts surrounding guns.

Posted by truenorthfree | Report as abusive

@OIFVetAtUSC. Do you also include the Taliban, Lenin and the Communists in 1917, the Viet Cong, and Zimbabwe in the list of armed insurrections where the people fought against and overthrew a tyranny and thereby established a wonderful democratic government and freed the people? Rebels frequently overthrow tyrants and then install their own. Many Conservatives in America argue that this is what is happening or needs to happen in their own country. The sacred Revolutionary War has been co-opted by the forces of darkness. A second Revolution is necessary to re-constitute the ideological purity that the Founding Fathers embodied in the Constitution (which was so phenomenally accurate that it has only been amended umpteen times). The world is not a simple place where adherence to an ideology will solve all problems. Unless you are an adherent of Islam. Or Christianity. Or Marxism. Or…

Posted by steve778936 | Report as abusive

To those who are pro gun control. I am not a member of the NRA but I do own guns and plan on getting a concealed gun permit this fall. I am 70, retired and am not a radical to the right or left. I have worked hard all my life and raised a family with my loving wife. I did my time in the military in Vietnam back in the 60′s and experienced what arms can do. I don’t think that I am an isolated case. There are probably millions of american gun owners with similar life stories. Your freedoms came at a price. I am willing to protect those freedoms, with arms if necessary, from those who want to see me and you in subjucation.

Posted by duet | Report as abusive

Although i do not own a gun i find this line laughable “Since these are precisely the weapons that account for most of the hundreds of thousands of deaths… leaving them out is tantamount to gutting the treaty.” – I wonder what people killed each other with before guns? Perhaps after small arms are banned we can ban sticks and rocks as those weapons will result in hundreds and thousands of deaths each year. And perhaps metal should be banned, lest people make spear or arrow tips.

The megalomania of the Left in wanting to ban this and that is out of control. The world is a dangerous place, you can’t wrap the whole world in cotton wool to death proof it nor should the Left try to force their opinion on how the world should look according to a utopian world view. And if it escaped anyones attention, small arms can be manufactured in backyards now… it’s simply wishful thinking to imagine you’d be able to disarm the world. BUt hey, dreams are the currency of the left, dreams far from removed from reality at that.

It’s like saying if a CCTV camera was on every street corner no one would ever get away with a crime again. Perhaps, but what do you give up for this supposed “safety”?

Posted by onlyif | Report as abusive

Unless Rush Limbaugh, Wayne LaPierre, and Grover Norquist all give their OK, nothing the GOP proposes ever gets off the ground. Kind of makes you wonder who’s really leading whom.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

It’s such a mind-stumping mystery. Year after year rightwing influences such as the NRA, Grover Norquist, the Tea Party, Karl Rove, the “Christian” Coalition, FOX News, the Republican Supreme Court, conservative talk radio, and the Chamber of Commerce keep exerting their ever-increasing power over our government and into our lives, and yet things continue to get worse for all but about .1% of the American people. But since these entities represent the best of conservative America and they continue to grow in size and strength, why aren’t things getting better instead of, well, worse? This has got to be one of the greatest conundrums known to man. Is it because taxes aren’t low enough yet? Is it because Americans don’t own enough guns? Could it be the burdensome regulations we have on our industries, despite the the all-time record profits they made in 2011? Are we not eating enough fast food?

The United States must have the largest collection of fools on the planet. The masses on the right are so darn gullible. They believe ANYTHING they’re told despite how obvious it is that these organizations only care about protecting the profit intake for the top .1%. It’s just dumbfounding. I’m not saying those on the left are that smart, but at least they tend not to support arming the world’s population with guns while claiming to give their lives to Jesus.

Take the NRA (please). They exist for one purpose only: to protect and increase profits from the sale of “small arms, light weapons or related materials such as firearms ammunition”. They’ve been overwhelmingly successful at protecting those profits here in the US, and now they’re exercising their control over the world. Great. For as long as I can remember, the NRA has been telling our American gunoholics that Uncle Sam, more specifically, the Democrats, are on the verge of taking our guns, yet I’ve never met a person who’s had any guns taken from them or had received any threats to have their guns taken from them. But there’s always that chance, huh? Let down your guard for just a moment, and that’s when it’ll happen, right?

This time it’s the UN who’s going to come and try to take our guns from our cold, dead hands . Jeez, people, is it really so hard to think for yourselves? No one’s coming to take away our guns, restrict our gun ownership, or do anything else with our guns. Wayne LaPierre has made himself a millionaire lobbying for the gun industry and for convincing millions of docile, empty-headed Americans that any attempt to pass any legislation that might interfere with the gun industry’s profit making, er, I mean, any legislation that has anything to do with guns, unless it promotes gun ownership in some way, constitutes a threat to American freedom. It’s just grossly ironic that here’s an organization that exercises a threatening amount of control over our entire population and they do it by pretending to protect our freedom. Can people not see the irony in that? Hello, hello, anybody home?

This country is doomed to fail, but the core threat to our Republic is not our massive debt, Congress’s inability to legislate, or even the industries and their chief profiteers that have seized control of our government. The single biggest threat to the United States of America is the American people’s inability to separate reality from propaganda designed to subjugate us while a tiny cadre of plutocrats are sucking every bit of profit from our lives and our nation’s resources. As the saying goes, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Posted by flashrooster | Report as abusive

People the world over need weapons so their governments will fear them. Socialism always comes with weapons bans, which pave the way for dictatorship. Witness Hitler, Stalin, Castro, and Chavez. The right to hold private property and own guns go hand in hand. One enables the defense of the other.

Posted by Truth_Teller | Report as abusive

May I add another Vietnam vet to the page. I’ve never been a member of the NRA, although in law enforcement for 28 years. However, I too support their position.
While attending the National Victims Academy put on
by Clinton’s DOJ, each participant was asked to chose
the amendment in The Bill of Rights they held dearest.
It was simple for me to say, “The Second Amendment, because it provides the basis to assure all the rest.”

Posted by BluePelican | Report as abusive

Under the US Federal government’s charter it was “only intended” to regulate trade between the states and under this cover it now interferes with many aspects of commerce within every state. The arms treaty only intends to regulate trade between nations. This means it will take a while before avaricious bureaucrats sustained by the document will attempt to distort the intent of the treaty to extend there powers where they have no place. Maybe 10 years, maybe 100. By example of the US federal alliance we can clearly demonstrate that an with agency power to regulate trade of something between states can easily expand that mandate over time. Our first president warned to avoid entangling treaties, I believe this would be an example of an “entangling treaty” and that there are other ways to crack down on arms traffic to dangerous regimes.

Posted by ser1010101 | Report as abusive

I’m not a member of the NRA, and I do not usually vote for political candidates that they endorse. However, there is a logic to the NRA’s concern about a treaty regulating the transfer of small arms. Under the U.S. Constitution, a treaty that has been ratified is a type of Federal law and is, thus, “the supreme law of the land.” If Federal law in the form of treaty limits gun ownership rights in a manner that the NRA would be concerned about if it were done by Federal statute, then it makes sense for the NRA to be concerned about doing the same thing through a treaty. For example, it sounds like it would be a violation of the treaty for a private gun owner to sell or possibly even give a gun to someone in another country. In many states in the United States, such a transaction would be completely unregulated and invisible to any Federal, state or municipal authority if it did not have an international dimension. I can see the NRA being concerned about a treaty in which compliance by the United States might require Federal, state and/or municipal awareness of gun transactions between private owners which would otherwise be invisible.

Posted by Bob9999 | Report as abusive

Bob9999: You you think anyone anywhere should be able to buy as many guns as they want, no restrictions? Since the premise is for self-protection, it doesn’t make any sense to limit this to small arms. In fact, doesn’t your argument, and those of others, actually encourage the making and selling and purchasing of larger and more lethal weapons? If the Second Amendment does provides “the basis to assure all the rest,” as BluePelican states, then shouldn’t our goal be to arm ourselves to the hilt, to compete with a government that’s in control of the most powerful military machine in the history of the human race, replete with thousands of nuclear weapons?

It just seems to me that if we really care about the survival of the human race, we should be moving in the opposite direction, and in that light this treaty makes sense. It’s not an infringement on our 2nd Amendment rights. The 2nd Amendment guarantees American’s rights to bear arms; no one elses. This treaty doesn’t impinge on that right in any way, shape, or form, but it could very well infringe on the profit making of gun makers in the US, which is really what LaPierre is concerned with. Theoretically, it could be used to help prevent the gun trafficking along our Mexican border, something Mexico has been begging us to do something about, but something we tacitly encourage because of the profits involved for gun makers and their influence on our state and federal law makers. Sorry, but regardless of what LaPierre says, our Constitution, and specifically our 2nd Amendment, only applies to Americans and it doesn’t protect an American’s right to sell arms to people beyond our borders, though I don’t think this treaty will do much to restrict that either. It provides for too many ways around that.

What makes this all the more unsettling is that the NRA, like most political forces in the world, is about the profits of a few people. So we use the Constitution as a rationale for the profit making of a few by selling as many weapons to as many people as possible. Bad logic. Down the rabbit hole we fall and the more stupid we get, the more we convince ourselves we’re smart.

Posted by flashrooster | Report as abusive

This is about selling guns.. about profit… “Arming the freedom fighters” where have we heard that before? How did that work out for us? Or them??? Again & again.. Don’t you get tired of making the same mistakes? I guess not if the right people continue to make their blood money…
Noo…I don’t support evil regimes, but I also don’t support evil rebels either…Y’all need to find ways to make money that don’t kill civilians in Mass and destroy the environment forever…Surly, y’all can find something better to do!

Posted by Tracy--lee | Report as abusive

What do all these anti-gun, far-left liberals think they would do if someone broke into their home and rapes their women and children?! You know, like what just happened in Mexico. Are they planning to just stand there and watch, hoping to call the nice police officers when it’s all over…if they’re still alive?!

Do home invasions not happen in their world? Do people not get raped, murdered, and robbed on a daily basis in their world? Do they think that the victims of the above daily crimes expected to be a statistic?

It is simply jaw dropping reading some of the comments from these nut-cases. The police cannot protect you in the instant of these violent crimes, all you can do is report them after the fact…if you survive. These weak minded cowards don’t want the responsibilty of protecting their own and they want to make sure you cannot as well. They want you to share in the shame of their pathetic, shameful cowardice.

Posted by stambo2001 | Report as abusive

Every gun is a symbol of human failure. The NRA now has created a country with the highest murder and incarceration rate in the world. That’s how they define “free” I guess.

After two generations under a military dictatorship, the US is living proof that Joe Goebbels’ methods continue to work. The average American has long since been brainwashed, he’s laughing in his grave.

Posted by DwightJones | Report as abusive

We can’t stem the international flow of illicit drugs so we’re going to take a stab at arms control? Are you serious? Take a look at who is involved in this business. There are some very nasty people who call themselves arms brokers. They are well financed and often protected by government officials who are in for a cut. This is just more election year tripe.

Posted by gordo53 | Report as abusive

Arms treaties are for the stupid.

The ones that should not have arms do not abide by the treaty, while those that should have arms abide by the treaty.

The facts no one wants to read.

Censorship is evil.

Posted by ALLSOLUTIONS | Report as abusive

Freaks. Glad I cancelled my membership. Did that after Columbine and that old fart Charlotn Heston’s “my cold dead hands” b.s.

Notice all the criminal-types bemoaning “arms treaties”. These are the same types of socio-paths that bemoan taxes, public schools, finance laws, or anything else based on commone sense.

The NRA serves the Gun Mfr industry. Anyone who really thinks they are protecting the 2nd Amd is a fool.

Posted by krimsonpage | Report as abusive

[...] Will the NRA kill a global arms trade treaty? (blogs.reuters.com) [...]

Some of the chief criminals and despots in this world are seated right there at the UN. Why should we ratify this? If any thing we should be hauling them Out of this country. Either that or they should at least punish Arabs countries like Iran for helping terrorist groups in Israel and Egypt. The UN IS A JOKE.

Posted by muse9657 | Report as abusive

While I remain frustrated with the amount of firearms floating around our city streets, it does appear that the NRA will right-wing itself out of existence. Which would be a good step forward on the issue.

Posted by SeaWa | Report as abusive

Yep you guys are right about how high cyber and economic risks are. When the systemic breakdown crap hits the fan in ther very near future, you will realize how stupid you are not to own firearms.

Posted by wisehiney | Report as abusive

[...] In a speech before the UN conference last week, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre called the potential treaty “an offense to any American who has ever breathed our free air.” Two days [...]

[...] Will the NRA kill a global arms trade treaty? (blogs.reuters.com) [...]

[...] Will the NRA kill a global arms trade treaty? (blogs.reuters.com) [...]

[...] In a speech before the UN conference last week, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre called the potential treaty “an offense to any American who has ever breathed our free air.” Two days [...]

[...] Will the NRA kill a global arms trade treaty? (blogs.reuters.com) [...]

[...] to William D. Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, because American [...]