An Unholy Alliance

What do Iran, Syria, North Korea, half the U.S. Senate and the National Rifle Association have in common?

That unholy quintet is adamantly opposed to any restrictions on selling arms to anyone anywhere in the world – be they terrorist organizations, tyrannical regimes or organized crime — who wants them: no principles, no qualms, no regrets.  

The trio of pariah states voted against approval of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that was approved by a 154-3 vote in the United Nations General Assembly and bars the transfer of conventional arms – tanks, warplanes, artillery, missiles, combat ships, small arms — to regimes and groups linked to terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The NRA is on their side and wants to make sure the U.S. Senate is, too. The gun lobby didn’t have a vote at the UN but if it had, it would have joined this axis of evil.  It already has half the Senate on record opposing the treaty, which needs 67 votes for ratification. Ratification by 50 countries is required for the treaty to take effect.

In a non-biding test vote, the Senate opposed the treaty by 53-46 – all but two of the 53 are Republicans. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), sponsor of the measure, claimed the treaty “cedes our authority to the United Nations” and “would require the United States to implement gun control legislation… which could supersede” U.S. laws. 

Not true, said Secretary of State John Kerry: “Nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.” The American Bar Association has called the treaty “consistent with the Second Amendment.”

Israel was among those voting for the treaty, and one reason can be found in why Russia, China and 21 other countries abstained: they opposed the ban on sales to non-state players like Hizbullah, Hamas, al-Qaida and a swarm of other “liberation” movements seeking to destroy the Jewish state.

 “[The treaty] will help reduce the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes, including terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes,” said Secretary Kerry. 

An ultra-conservative group calling itself “Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” fears the treaty may be “a replacement for the Second Amendment” and lead to UN-imposed international licensing, registration and eventual confiscation of privately owned firearms, something its chairman, Alan Gottlieb, called President Obama’s highest priority.

The treaty doesn’t infringe on Second Amendment rights but it could threaten the profits of those behind the NRA who want an unfettered ability to make and sell weapons and ammunition to anyone with the money to pay for them. The United States is responsible for 30 percent of he approximately $70 billion in global arms exports. Is that real the right NRA is really protecting?

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.