Mere hours after President Obama was re-elected, the U.N. General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament in New York voted to renew negotiations on a treaty to regulate the multibillion-dollar global arms trade.
The vote to resume negotiations passed by an overwhelming majority with 157 countries voting in favor, none voting against and 18 abstentions – notably, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Belarus, Cuba and Iran.
Talks will begin in earnest this coming March 2013, from the 18 to the 28, with the hope that the text to the Arms Trade Treaty will be finalized (you’ll recall, previous negotiations broke down in July when the U.S. backed away from the table).
As Guns.com has reported in the past, there have has been a lot of speculation as to what the finished ATT will look like. Some have made dire predictions, that the ATT will spell the end of the 2nd Amendment for U.S. gun owners, while others have said it will only function as a means to regulate arms outside of the U.S. (for more on these forecasts, click here).
One U.S. official who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, said that Washington’s objectives have remained unchanged.
“We seek a treaty that contributes to international security by fighting illicit arms trafficking and proliferation, protects the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade, and meets the concerns that we have been articulating throughout,” the official said.
“We will not accept any treaty that infringes on the constitutional rights of our citizens to bear arms,” he said.
Though, given the maxim, “timing is everything,” gun rights advocates who are suspicious of Obama’s intentions with respect to gun control have brought up a fair point, why now?
“It’s obvious that our warnings over the past several months have been true,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation in a press release. “The election was called about 11 p.m. Tuesday and by 11 a.m. this morning, we got word that the United States was supporting this resolution. We have to be more vigilant in our efforts to stop this proposed treaty.”
“Just days ago as he campaigned for re-election,” Gottlieb added, “Barack Obama told his supporters that voting is the ‘best revenge.’ I guess now we know what he was talking about. The revenge he seeks is against American gun owners and their Second Amendment rights.”
U.N. diplomats have upheld that the timing between the vote to continue talks and the Presidential election is coincidental, noting that the vote had been initially planned for the Tuesday prior to the election but was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy, which shut down U.N. headquarters for three days.
Whatever the reason for the “coincidence” it has certainly put gun owners on guard. Plus, there’s no doubt that there’s a large contingency out there that will fight tooth and nail to see the U.N. implement the toughest regulations possible while leaving the door open for future “adjustments.”
“This treaty won’t be a panacea – unscrupulous governments will try to bend and ignore the new rules, but global civil society and governments supporting the rule of law and human rights will hold them to account and keep working to improve the treaty rules on critical issues, such as sea and air drones and laser weapons,” said Amnesty Arms Control Manager Brian Wood.
“The Treaty should not be a frozen tablet. When it enters into force, a robust Arms Trade Treaty could be the starting shot for a new global process that can be further strengthened to really protect people on the ground,” he added.
Moving forward, gun owners will be watching very closely to see what becomes of these negotiations.