Arms Trade Treaty – Down, But Not Out

By Paul Gallant, Sherry Gallant, Alan J. Chwick, and Joanne D. Eisen

Arms Trade Treaty – Down, But Not Out

New York, NY –-( On Friday afternoon, July 27, 2012, Arms Trade Treaty talks collapsed at U.N. headquarters in New York City.

The Treaty’s proponents cannot blame the U.S. alone for its failure, since other States, such as China, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, and the Democratic People’s Republic Korea (DPRK), also blocked consensus.

A group of ninety States —approximately half of the world’s countries— released a joint statement indicating: “We are disappointed this process has not come to a successful conclusion today. We are disappointed, but we are not discouraged…. In order to make this Treaty a reality, additional work and efforts are needed.”

Control Arms,a weapon-prohibitionist organization, stated in its press release: “the lack of agreement on a final text was disappointing but not the end of the story…in spite of today’s lack of agreement, momentum is gathering for an international and legally-binding treaty to bring the arms trade under control.”

We may reasonably assume that the Treaty’s proponents are livid as success was snatched from their clutches. We expect, when the General Assembly meets again in the Fall, there will be a request for a revised definition of “consensus” to no longer require 100% agreement among States, since Treaty proponents are now assured that they have at least 90 countries in their pocket, willing to agree to a legally-binding global Arms Trade Treaty.

We cannot view this as a victory for us because the Treaty has not been abandoned. Nor can we view it as a defeat for its proponents—merely a temporary setback.

In effect, we have been given a reprieve. We will only be able to claim a victory for civilian sovereignty, and lawful private weapons possession, if we use the time before the next session of the U.N. productively, setting aside petty squabbling and differences amongst ourselves, and if we unite and use then ext election as a means of putting our politicians on notice that the rights bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers trump Washington politics.

According to the July 27, 2012 issue of the New York Times, in an article entitled “U.N. Misses Its Deadline for Arms Pact”:

The treaty [Arms Trade Treaty] would for the first time establish common international standards for authorizing international arms transfers, including basic regulations and approval protocols that would improve transparency and accountability. A prime purpose, according to the draft, is to “prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and their diversion to illegal and unauthorized end use.” It would also prohibit signatories from transferring conventional weapons that violate arms embargoes or enable those who commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes [emphasis ours]

But history has amply shown that that it is impossible —through any treaty (in this case, specifically, an Arms Trade Treaty) or law— to prevent the commission of “genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.”  World-renowned genocide scholar Rudy Rummel has estimated that, in the 20th century, alone, 262,000,000 innocent victims have been killed by their own government.

Are we that naïve to believe that the nature of mankind —and especially the behavior of tyrants and human-rights abusers— will change with just the stroke of a pen, most of them scrawled by just such people?

The authors of this article are not!

About the Authors

Dr. Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne D. Eisen practice optometry and dentistry, respectively, on Long Island, NY, and have collaborated on firearm politics for the past 20 years. They have also collaborated with David B. Kopel since 2000, and are Senior Fellows at the Independence Institute, where Kopel is research director. Most recently, Gallant and Eisen have also written with Alan J.Chwick. Sherry Gallant has been instrumental in the editing of virtually all of the authors’ writings, and is immensely knowledgeable in the area of firearm politics; she actively co-authored this article.

Almost all of the co-authored writings of Gallant, Eisen, Kopel and Chwick can be found at, which contains more detailed information about their biographies and writing,and contains hyperlinks to many of their articles. Their recent series focusing on the Arms Trade Treaty can be found primarily at

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