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Negotiations to produce a United Nations agreement on a small-arms trade treaty – a move seen by many Second Amendment defenders as an assault on U.S. gun rights – have ended with barely a whimper.
According to a statement from the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, “the Conference on the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has broken down and will not report a draft treaty to the member nations.”
“This is a big victory for American gun owners, and the NRA is being widely credited for killing the U.N. ATT,” the NRA-ILA statement said.
The organization also credited a Senate initiative on Thursday for helping bring an end to the session.
“Yesterday, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) gathered the signatures of 51 senators on a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton opposing any treaty that infringes on our rights,” the NRA-ILA statement said.
The session was already on shaky ground earlier Friday when U. S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Countryman said the State Department still needed time to see the text.
“We only saw the draft of the treaty 24 hours ago,” a spokesman said.
The treaty was seen as problematic by most U. S. gun-rights groups. Writing for the National Association of Gun Rights, Dudley Brown said beneath the treaty advocates’ claims, there were definite signs the real objective was to neutralize the Second Amendment.
“After you strip away all of the flowery language of this treaty, it comes down to a completely open-ended attempt to put United Nations bureaucrats in charge of firearms policy worldwide, usurping the authority of countries to set their own policies,” Brown said.
Spokesmen for groups like Oxfam and the Arms Control Association say they are hopeful the session can resume in six months. So far, the U. S. has not made any commitments to another session.
In reporting the results of the negotiations, the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs tweeted, “Failure of #armstradetreaty great disappointmt for UN. I trust gov’ts will find common ground to deliver on the ATT in future.”