The NRA is taking credit for scuttling a UN treaty that would have limited the sale of weapons to potential human rights abusers overseas.
In a triumphant email titled “NRA Stops U.N. Arms Trade Treaty” and sent to constituents within hours of the Arms Trade Treaty’s (ATT) death on Friday, the NRA wrote:
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre testified before the U.N. making it clear that the NRA would fight any international treaty that included civilian arms.
NRA maintains its steadfast opposition to any treaty that includes civilian arms in any way. NRA will continue to work with our allies, particularly in the U.S. Senate, to insure that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is not threatened by this or any future international treaty.
To be crystal clear, no constitutional right could possibly have been affected by this treaty: First, because it would only have dealt with international arms trade, and second because no treaty can supersede the U.S. Constitution, period, full stop.
As LeVar Burton used to put it in “Reading Rainbow,” you don’t have to take my word for it. I spoke with Michael Doyle, a Columbia Law School professor and expert in international treaties. He said that while the ATT “might hypothetically restrict [Americans’] ability to buy an AK-47 from Russia”; overall, “the Constitution is superior to all treaties, so there’s no way a treaty could change the Constitution.”
What the treaty would have done is abrogate U.S. arms manufacturers’ time-honored right to sell guns to warlords and insurgent militias. Which if you’re the NRA, which relies on arms manufacturers’ donations and good will, is pretty much something you’d want to stop at all cost.
Speaking of costs, Reuters has some information about them for us:
One person every minute dies from armed violence around the world, and arms control activists say a convention is needed to prevent illicitly traded guns from pouring into conflict zones and fueling wars and atrocities. They cited conflicts in Syria and elsewhere as examples of why a treaty is necessary.
While most U.N. member states favored a strong treaty, activists said there was a small minority of states, including Syria, North Korea, Iran, Egypt and Algeria, who loudly voiced opposition to global arms control throughout the negotiations.
But ultimately, arms-control activists blamed the United States and Russia for the inability to reach a decision on Friday, as both countries said there was not enough time left for them to clarify and resolve issues they had with the draft treaty.
Hmm … Syria, North Korea, Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Russia … and us? Thanks, NRA!