Talks fail at the U.N. for the Arms Trade Treaty

Good news come, at once, from the United Nations Headquarters in New York, after it has been made official last July, 28, that talks to achieve a global treaty on small arms trade have failed. Despite the conference chairman saying to be “confident a treaty could be agreed by the end of the year”, three Countries, namely the United States, the Russian Federation and the Peopleʼs Republic of China, abandoned the treaty talks saying they need “more time to consider the issues”, prompting anti-gun medias such as the British Broadcasting Corporation to consider this a “disheartening end to a month of intense negotiations”.

What can be considered “disheartening” at the eyes of anti-gun lobbies makes instead us all, gun owners, enthusiasts, and responsible, law-abiding shooters, hopeful to be able to maintain our gun rights for the near and distant future. The U.N. “Small Arms Treaty” has been promoted as a way to fight the illegal arms trade towards Countries in a war state, towards rogue states and criminal or terrorist organizations, and thus as a tool to “stop the killing of some 750,000 people each year”. The ATT (Arms Trade Treaty) negotiations were the result of a six-year campaign by a coalition of notoriously anti-gun non-governmental organisations, including Amnesty International and Oxfam. The same U.N. Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, called himself “disappointed at the failure to agree on a treat”, and called it “a setback”. Conference chairman Roberto Garcia Moritan said the eventual adoption of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was inevitable, “Because there is a need”.

Many Countries whose arms industries would be heavily damaged by the adoption of said treaty don't seem to agree with him, though, and thus the adoption of an ATT seems, or at least is hoped to be, highly unlikely. The ATT would in fact have prompted several Countries to enact tighter local gun laws, de facto banning civilian ownership of many firearms, including military-style semi-automatic rifles used in competitions such as 3-Gun shooting, and above all would have imposed the issue of End-User Certificates for the export and import of every single firearm from any Country to any Country, everywhere in the world − a measure that would have had very little effect on the black market, but a devastating effect on the legal civilian markets, since the legal Governmental sales of small arms would have remained basically unafflicted by the Treaty. The aim of the ATT was seen by many pro-gun right activists as an U.N. move to institute an international oversight system on civilian arms ownership, and possibly as an international tool to force those Countries which have an history of gun rights to deprive their citizens of them.

Some delegates blamed the failure on the United States Government, which has been accused of bowing to domestic pressure from the powerful gun lobby in the run up to presidential elections, our correspondent says. As a matter of fact, a bipartisan group of 51 US senators threatened to oppose any agreement that infringed on the Constitutional right to bear arms. Even before, however, the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, previously one of the strongest support of the U.N. ATT talks, put the U.S. participation to the Treaty in strong doubt, stating that the United States would have signed the ATT only if it had been adopted unanimously, and that however the credibility of the entire negotiation had been seriously compromised by the U.N. choice of an Iranian delegate as the Vice-Chairman for the conference.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has an extensively developed small arms industry, whose production is officially entirely absorbed by the national Armed Forces, albeit some of its most recent military SALW products have been unsuccessfully offered on the foreign market − the Iranian-manufactured Khaybar KH-2002 5,56mm bull-pup assault rifle was due to be sold to the Military of Uruguay, but transfer was stopped due to the U.S. and U.N. arms embargo on Iran − and many Iranian-manufactured small arms and light weapons have illegally, although with the Teheran government's placet, found their way in the arsenals of Countries like Syria and of terrorist organizations such as Hizbullāh, the Islamic Jihad and insurgent cells in Iraq and Afghanistan. However the U.N. ATT draft, which appeared to have been specifically written to afflict the American, Italian, Russian and Chinese gun industries − very active on both governmental, military AND civilian exports − didnʼt appeared to consider the strictly military-oriented Iranian Defense Industry Organizaton (DIO) at all.