By Attorney Marc Harrold
New York, NY –-(Ammoland.com)- The UN talks on the Arms Trade Treaty have effectively become a farce since Iran (who has violated UN sanctions by selling arms to Syria) was given a prominent role in the talks.
Iran will apparently have a pivotal role in creating a treaty that no sane person believes they will actually adhere to.
Beyond these specific Arms Trade Treaty negotiations, this shows how out of touch the UN is and why Americans should demand that we no longer pay any more than our equal percentage in operating it; and should seriously consider that it is another countries turn to house it and endure many of the indirect costs of having the UN physically located on its soil.
As to the treaty itself, the Obama Administration reversed the policy of the Bush Administration to take part in the talks. Gun owners should monitor these talks, and the eventual treaty that results, carefully because of the potential for it to establish a paternalistic international framework of arms trade that has the eventual impact of diminishing the individual rights of American gun owners under the Second Amendment.
As the final language of the ATT is not yet complete, it is impossible to scrutinize the treaty and attempt to determine its long-term effect. What is most troubling, and should alarm US gun owners, (and non-gun-owners who respect the Constitution) is the potential for a paternalistic international framework to emerge that will, over time, increase regulations that could potentially impact, directly or indirectly, the rights of Americans to keep and bare arms.
It is likely that the impact of such a treaty on the average American gun owner will be indirect and, thus, somewhat hard to detect. While this may lead some to believe that the actual impact will be minimal, it is actually more troubling than if any impact on Second Amendment right was easily evident from the language of the treaty. As the eventual effect may not be easily apparent, or may be seemingly minimal, it is a sort of “creeping,” yet-to-be-seen long-term impact that creates the greatest potential for the peril that international treaty-obligations could effectively trump the Constitutional rights of Americans.
Given that any conflict between American treaty obligation and Constitutional rights could potentially (and this is somewhat unchartered territory) be addressed by the judiciary, most notably the US Supreme Court, this becomes particularly hazardous given the recent tendency of certain US Supreme Court Justices to look to international law to interpret domestic law. Gazing to the hazy horizon of international law to measure any conflict between an international treaty and (what should be but is apparently not) the clear dictate of the Bill of Rights to limit the reach of the federal government in matters involving the individual right to bear arms is the type of double-whammy that can come about when not only the current Administration, but possibly the international community, view gun rights through a paternalistic prism tainted by the belief that only governments, and never people themselves, should have the sovereignty to protect themselves.
There is a very good possibility that this treaty, regardless of its final form, will never be ratified by 2/3 of the United States Senate thus becoming law of the land in the US. Whether or not the US eventually ratifies the treaty, we must be diligent in monitoring these negotiations as such a treaty could set forth a framework of international trade regulation that eventually impact the rights of American gun owners.
Marc Harrold (www.marcharrold.com)is an attorney, Former Police Officer, & author of the critically-acclaimed book “Observations of White No is e…an ‘Acid Test’ for the First Amendment. He is a regular on CNN HLN, TruTV, and radio everywhere.