As long as I’ve been covering National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, I’ve never known him to equivocate, to be coy or timid, to be anything less than emphatically clear on matters related to the U.S. Constitution and our 2nd Amendment rights.
Yesterday, in his address before the United Nations at a conference on the controversial Arms Trade Treaty, which seeks to establish “common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms,” was no exception.
LaPierre was on point. He made it crystal clear that law-abiding, American gun owners will not allow their rights to be trampled by foreign governments.
“On behalf of those 100 million American gun owners, I am here to announce NRA’s strong opposition to anti-freedom policies that disregard American citizens’ right to self-defense,” LaPierre said in his characteristically solemn voice.
“No foreign influence has jurisdiction over the freedoms our Founding Fathers guaranteed to us.”
“We will not stand idly by while international organizations, whether state-based or stateless, attempt to undermine the fundamental liberties that our men and women in uniform have fought so bravely to preserve – and on which our entire American system of government is based,” he continued.
The major beef the NRA has with the ATT is the looming possibility that civilian arms will be regulated under the terms of the treaty.
“We have watched with increasing concern and, one year ago, I delivered to the Preparatory Committee our objections to including civilian arms in the ATT,” LaPierre warned. “I said then … and I will repeat now … that the only way to address NRA’s objections is to simply and completely remove civilian firearms from the scope of the treaty.”
“That is the only solution. On that there will be no compromise. American gun owners will never surrender our Second Amendment freedom. Period.”
As Guns.com pointed out in a recent article, proponents of the ATT contend that for it to be effective it must (a) require governments to strictly regulate the sale and transfer of all arms (including civilian firearms) (b) compel nations to publicly report on all authorizations and deliveries and (c) hold nations accountable that fail to comply with treaty obligations.
Whether the U.N. will try to push through a ATT that regulates civilian arms is unclear at this point, however, if it does, it’s highly unlikely that the U.S. would adopt it. As LaPierre pointed out, he’s got majorities in the U.S. Senate and House backing the NRA’s position.
“Any Arms Trade Treaty must be adopted by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, which has 100 members. Already, 58 Senators have objected to any treaty that includes civilian arms, and a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives also opposes such a treaty,” LaPierre declared.
Overall, LaPierre’s address was short and to the point, i.e. ‘Don’t mess with our 2nd Amendment.’ We’ll see in the coming weeks whether or not the U.N. General Assembly got the message.