Thomas R. Eddlem
July 31, 2012
The month-long United Nations conference to draw up a global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) failed to achieve consensus after the United States, Russia, and China requested more time to consider a draft treaty, according to the United Nations. The draft treaty, which would have required national gun registration, required unanimity among the nations assembled in order to advance.
“I am disappointed that the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) concluded its four-week-long session without agreement on a treaty text that would have set common standards to regulate the international trade in conventional arms,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. Ban termed the lack of agreement a “setback.” Ban said that the UN’s commitment to signing “a robust ATT is steadfast” and that the global body would continue to work toward what he termed “a noble goal.”
Proponents of the global gun control measure argued that the ATT draft treaty would not have impacted private firearms ownership in the United States under the Second Amendment, as the treaty was nominally directed to international transfer of firearms. Of course, assurances that gun ownership will not be impacted by the UN treaty fell on deaf ears to the National Rifle Association and other supporters of the Second Amendment. While draft versions of the ATT did not explicitly call for the ban on privately held firearms, they did call for national gun registration and vague “control” measures that could be implied to include gun collection. From an administration that recently argued in court that not purchasing health insurance constituted interstate “commerce” that Congress can regulate under the Constitution, gun owners were not about to give the federal government a loophole that allowed for confiscation of firearms — even an improbable loophole.