Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty

Written by Michael Badnarik

I try to keep my ear to the ground, and my finger on the pulse of the people, but I didn’t know about the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty until just recently. If you are a defender of individual rights (and by logical inclusion, a defender of the Second Amendment) you’re not going to be very happy about this.

To begin, the United States now formally supports this conference.
U.S. Support for the Arms Trade Treaty
Hillary Clinton, our current Secretary of State, writes, “The United States is prepared to work hard for a strong international standard in this area by seizing the opportunity presented by the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations. As long as that Conference operates under the rule of consensus decision-making needed to ensure that all countries can be held to standards that will actually improve the global situation by denying arms to those who would abuse them, the United States will actively support the negotiations.”

Consensus is defined as “majority of opinion” or “an opinion or position reached by a group as a whole”. First I’d like to point out that this is merely opinion, and as such has no legitimate authority in law. Secondly, the United States is not a democracy. Democracy was considered “a tyranny of the majority” by the founding fathers because when the majority wins, the minority loses. Third, I reject the widely accepted idea that any treaty becomes part of the supreme law of the land.

Closer examination of Article VI reveals that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” Notice that only laws “made in Pursuance” of the Constitution become part of the supreme law. “In pursuance of” means that the law in question must support the general principle of the Constitution to protect the lives, liberty, and private property of Americans. Any law which violates that principle, is not “in pursuance” of the Constitution, and is therefore completely invalid. Marbury .vs. Madison states, “any law repugnant to the Constitution is null and void”.

Continuing, only treaties made under the Authority of the United States are included as the supreme law. Since the United States has no authority to violate the rights of Americans (or anyone else, for that matter) it logically follows that treaties which violate the rights of Americans could never have been signed under the (legitimate) authority of the United States.

U.S. Backs Arms Trade Treaty at UN
Bill Varner writes, “The U.S. trade in conventional weapons amounts to 40 percent of the global total, according to Wood. The resolution says the unregulated trade in conventional arms ‘can fuel instability, transnational organized crime and terrorism.’ ”

Conventional weapons are considered anything non-nuclear. Admittedly this definition often implies tanks, jeeps, and aircraft, but it also includes rifles and pistols – which is the reason for my personal concern.

DISARMAMENT: U.N. to Pursue Conventional Arms Trade Treaty
Thaliff Deen writes, “The proposed new treaty, which is expected to be ready for a U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in 2012, will regulate the global trade in conventional arms, including fighter planes, combat helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, warships, missiles, battle tanks and armoured personnel carriers.”

Very few Americans would have any reason to oppose the international sale of anything on this list, but later in the article it says, “[It was] also pointed out it was less than a decade ago that the United Nations adopted its first “programme of action” on small arms and light weapons.” I don’t know about you, but I do not consider the United Nations authority on whether or not I can carry a gun for self-defense.

So far, most United Nations agreements allow individual nations to openly veto an agreement, or to simply refuse to sign onto the agreement. This has prevented a majority of nations from imposing undesirable laws on nations who oppose an agreement. That may no longer be the case.

U.S. reverses stance on treaty to regulate arms trade
“While praising the Obama administration’s decision to overturn the Bush-era policy and to proceed with negotiations to regulate conventional arms sales, some groups criticized the U.S. insistence that decisions on the treaty be unanimous.” “Governments must resist US demands to give any single state the power to veto the treaty as this could hold the process hostage during the course of negotiations. We call on all governments to reject such a veto clause,” said Oxfam International’s policy adviser Debbie Hillier.

Ms. Hillier is more concerned about “holding the process hostage” than she is about protecting the lives, liberty, or property of individuals. The only real political dichotomy is between individualism and collectivism. Essentially a conflict between the Constitution and Communism. It should go without saying that I am a strong individualist, and I will do everything I can to resist global collectivism wherein other countries presume the authority to vote on any aspect of my life.

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