Today a vote at the UN approved a treaty on small arms trade around the globe. The New York Times reported that before the treaty could go into effect as an international standard, it must be ratified by 50 nations.
The United States is unlikely to vote any time soon to ratify the treaty. Votes in the US senate fall short, and there are significant concerns the treaty would not meet the standard of the 2nd amendment to the US constitution.
Outside the United States there are concerns the treaty may curtail legal purchases of arms by other countries or citizens of those countries as well. Many of the terms used by the treaty are ill-defined. As has been discussed in past articles at theguntutor.com here, here, here, here and here, concepts such as “human rights abuse” are tenuous.
The right of states to defend themselves from outside attack, or the right of a subset within a country to defend themselves from violent oppression, derives from what historically was called “natural law,” the fact that the individual has the right to self-defense, and thereby the tools of effective self-protection. In Syria, for example, would a claim of “human rights abuses” stop sales to the Syrian Ba’ath party, or to the rebels who rose up after the government tried to crush a peaceful movement? This question is not only unanswered by the United Nations treaty, but it is ambiguous how such concepts would be applied following implementation.
Oxfam International arms control advocate Anna McDonald said “This treaty won’t solve the problems of Syria overnight, no treaty could do that, but it will help to prevent future Syrias.”
This author believes that the government of Syria had the opportunity to stop the civil war by entering negotiations with its citizens when they rose up in protest in 2011. Once the government proved itself willing to engage in tyranny by using deadly force against nonviolent protesters, the only thing that could stop it is a sufficient force to shut the government down, followed by effective nation building focused on developing a republic.
Under the UN standard, for a country to support either side of the Syrian conflict with arms, they simply need to build a coalition that accuses the opposition, either the government or the rebels, of causing human rights abuse. Such a standard could result in increased international posturing, divisiveness and war.
The standard the United Nations hopes for, a standard where weapons manufacturers are called out for providing resources to oppressive governments is, from one perspective, well-intentioned. However, this standard already exists in movements such as the Kony 2012 movement which brought together conservative and liberal groups around the world to oppose a despot. It is important to consider the risk that institutionalizing such opposition and moving it from the people to a governmental intermediary such as the U.N. may cause.
How can you oppose this ill defined treaty? First, write your elected officials. Second, support the 2nd amendment. Third, consider joining an organization supporting concealed carry, the right to self-defense, or the 2nd amendment. Human rights begin when you have the right to protect yourself and others.
The Gun Tutor is Alan Murdock. Alan is a certified NRA Pistol instructor, licensed Utah Concealed Firearms instructor and is authorized to teach Utah Bail Enforcement Firearms. He has written on firearms, archery, hunting and similar topics for Ammoland, Break Studios and Demand Media. Read more of his work at TheGunTutor.com.
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Contributed by Alan Murdock of The Gun Tutor.