The U.S. gun lobby is once again falsely painting the critically important arms trade talks at the United Nations as an effort to undermine gun ownership in the United States ("NRA Takes Aim at Weapons Treaty" 7/9).
Spreading such misinformation may help the National Rifle Association raise money and gain converts to its cause, but it has no basis in fact. Worse still, it gives credence to allegations that the NRA's attempt to make this treaty a Second Amendment issue is merely a front to conceal its true motive—to protect the lucrative weapons industry that bankrolls the organization and benefits immensely from current free-for-all in the global trade in weapons and ammunition.
Here are the facts: If the member states of the United Nations adopt an Arms Trade Treaty, it will have no affect at all on the ability of Americans to own guns—for hunting, shooting or any other purpose. This is confirmed in conference documents and speeches by UN and U.S. officials.
Furthermore, the ATT would save countless lives around the world by keeping weapons out of the hands of those who use them to commit human rights abuses—like those being committed right now in Syria, whose government has killed more than 10,000 of its own citizens. Far from preventing hunting or other leisure activities involving guns, this treaty will instead help prevent warlords, armed militias and dictators from killing, raping and otherwise abusing men, women, and children.
Armed violence kills one person worldwide every minute. The gun lobby should at least acknowledge this chilling fact, even if it is not willing to acknowledge the true motives behind its opposition to a treaty that might actually be able to do something about it.
Managing Director, Government Relations
Amnesty International USA